McConnell Plans For Acquittal Vote To Avoid A Possible Tie Or Close Call

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 5: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to his office following the weekly Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on November 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. McConnell (R-KY) said he predicts that  the Senate would acquit President Trump of any articles of impeachment passed by the House. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to his office following the weekly Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on November 5, 2019. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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December 12, 2019 9:12 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is planning to hold an acquittal vote to clear President Donald Trump of all charges rather than a simple-majority dismissal of the impeachment articles to avoid a possible tie or nail-biter conclusion.

According to CNN, the Constitution requires 67 votes to convict Trump and remove him from office. Republicans, with their 53-seat majority, are confident that Democrats would not be able to rustle up enough defections to make that result a real possibility.

And by going for acquittal, McConnell would avoid any possible complications that could arise from a dismissal vote, which only requires 51 votes. Due to the obvious conflict of interest, Vice President Mike Pence would be barred from tie-breaking in that situation. Instead, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts would be called in to preside over the Senate trial, and any tied motions would fail.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) echoed this thinking to CNN, saying that it would make “more sense” to vote for acquittal or conviction than to “decide this on a 51-vote threshold, with the potential tie and all the recriminations that would flow from that.”

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