Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) on Wednesday told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn’t have the power to sway how he or other Republican senators will vote concerning President Donald Trump’s second impeachment.
Earlier Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the president on charges of inciting an insurrection against the United States government for his inflammatory rhetoric disputing the results of the 2020 election. On Jan. 6, a mob of the president’s supporters, believing his claims that the election was stolen, stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were in the middle of a debate on certifying the results of the Electoral College.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Majority Leader McConnell was “pleased” by the Democrat-led effort to impeach the president, claiming that McConnell viewed impeachment as an opportunity to “purge” Trump from the Republican Party. Anonymous sources that spoke to CNN claimed that if McConnell supports convicting Trump in an impeachment trial, other Republicans will follow.
“If Mitch is a yes, he’s done,” one Senate GOP source reportedly said.
“Mitch McConnell has a lot of influence, I don’t know that he has a lot of power,” Cramer said during an interview with Shepard Smith. “He has a lot of power over the schedule, obviously, and the process, but I don’t know many wimps in the United States Senate who are going to vote one way or another just because Mitch McConnell does.
“This would a vote of conscience for sure. Hopefully it would be a vote based on facts and evidence that might be presented,” he added.
“Mitch McConnell has a lot of influence, I don’t know that he has a lot of power,” Sen. Kevin Cramer says, adding that he doesn’t know many “wimps” in the Senate who would follow McConnell when it comes to President Trump’s impeachment. https://t.co/Fv423KXeK0 pic.twitter.com/pin04aUYRl
— The News with Shepard Smith (@thenewsoncnbc) January 14, 2021
Responding to speculation in the media, McConnell said Wednesday that he had not yet made a decision on how he would vote during a second Senate impeachment trial for Trump.
“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell said.
In a statement he squashed a Democratic effort to rush through the impeachment trial before Trump leaves office on Jan. 20, indicating that the trial will take place after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office, if at all.
Cramer was doubtful that the Senate has enough votes to convict the president.
“It seems unlikely to me that 67 people would vote to impeach,” he said.
Cramer added that in his opinion, under “a clear reading of the Constitution, it even seems a little bit iffy” as to whether Congress can even impeach a president after he has left office.