It’s the ‘Moderates’ Who Want The Cover-Up Most of All

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado speaks at a town hall as guests hold red "disagree" and green "agree" cards Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado speaks at a town hall as guests hold red "disagree" and green "agree" cards Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Much of the commentary about the witnesses question has assumed that there are a half dozen or so so-called Republican moderates up for reelection in November and that the outcome of the trial will be determined by whether members of that group break ranks and call for witnesses. But new reporting suggests that just the opposite is closer to the case.

Here’s a passage from a Journal article from yesterday. The language appears to have been revised and somewhat softened since original publication. But the gist is still there.

Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who face competitive races in the fall, addressed their colleagues in the meeting, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Gardner said a longer trial would lead to more Democratic attacks, according to a spokesman, and Mr. Tillis called impeachment a sham. Ms. McSally’s office said she doesn’t comment on what happens in private meetings.

An administration official said the White House was optimistic it would get the necessary votes by Friday. “We are still in the game,” the official said.

The implication here is pretty clear. The “moderates” up for reelection are the ones who want the trial over as quickly as possible. The longer the trial, the more damaging attacks from Democrats. To the extent there’s any wobbliness it must come from senators who are either not up for reelection this year or in safe seats.

This is not counterintuitive or surprising at all. This is what we should expect. But it helps us better understand what is happening. And it should be instructive for Democrats running against these senators, and devising messaging against them, this year.

Cory Gardner — and seemingly all of the Big Six — are the ones demanding full support for the President’s cover-up. As a narrowly political, cynical calculation I think they are right to think this way. Because they are 100% committed to acquitting the President no matter what. Hearing more incriminating evidence or having the trial go on for one minute longer than necessary just makes that all the harder.

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