GOP group lobbies for Trump conviction

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., departs after the Republican policy luncheon on Nov. 18, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS

WASHINGTON — A Republican group plans to run ads in the home states of nearly two dozen GOP senators during this week’s impeachment trial, pressuring them to vote to convict former President Donald Trump and bar him from holding office again.

The Republican Accountability Project is spending a half-million dollars on television advertisements that will begin airing on Fox News starting Monday and are aimed at 22 senators the group views as potential votes for conviction. The group has pledged to spend $50 million defending GOP lawmakers who cross Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has signaled he is open to convicting Trump but recently voted along with 44 of his GOP colleagues to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional, is among the lawmakers featured in the ads.

“Sen. McConnell, Donald Trump incited an attack on our Capitol. It’s up to you to convict and disqualify him,” the narrator of the ad that will run in Kentucky says.

Individualized versions of the ads that use footage of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and Trump’s remarks to supporters on alleged election fraud and corruption earlier that day will air throughout the first week of the impeachment trial, as will a generic national ad calling on Republicans in the Senate to vote for conviction.

“We’re going to the Capitol to make your voices heard, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness,” Trump says in the commercials. “We will stop the steal. If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.

The ad set to air in North Carolina targets both of the state’s senators, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr. A Kansas ad calls out Sen. Jerry Moran. And in Texas, the ad is aimed at Sen. John Cornyn.

Statewide commercials also put pressure on Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, John Thune of South Dakota, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of Wyoming, among others.

The Republican Accountability Project also plans to drive a mobile billboard around the Capitol complex, which is still under heavy security, on Tuesday and Wednesday to encourage Trump’s conviction.

“This is Mitch McConnell and Republican senators’ last chance to put a stake through Donald Trump’s political future,” Sarah Longwell, the executive director of the project’s umbrella group, Defending Democracy Together, told McClatchy.

“If you convict him and you bar him from holding office in the future, not only does it mean he can’t run again as a Republican nominee, but he can’t create his own party and run as the Patriot Party nominee,” she added.

After only five Republican senators voted to proceed with Trump’s trial last month, opponents of the former president have an uphill climb to secure at least 17 GOP votes that will likely be needed to secure a conviction.

While Longwell acknowledged that many of the senators her group is targeting are “longshots,” she said they believe it is possible that as evidence is presented during the trial, McConnell could argue to his caucus that Trump must be kept from ever holding office again.

“It is both the right thing to do morally, it is also the right thing for them to do politically,” Longwell said. “If they do not take this shot at convicting Trump and barring him from holding public office, he is going to continue to run their party for the foreseeable future.”

The House moved swiftly in January to vote to impeach Trump while he was still in office following the Capitol riot. Ten House Republicans, including Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Tom Rice of South Carolina, voted for impeachment.

The Senate is slated to begin its trial on Tuesday. A conviction would require support from two-thirds of the senators in a 100-member body that is split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

Trump’s legal team has argued that conviction and attempts to keep the former president from serving in the White House again are unconstitutional because the impeachment trial is taking place after his term ended.

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(17) comments

JohnMcElroy

This is unprecedented thus headed for the high court. Limbaugh is pushing a recording of Donald Trumps last words to the group that went to the capital buildings and he says Trump instructs the group to be peaceable and will gain Trump a not guilty of inciting insurrection verdict. May have seen excerpts of this recording but not all of it. I wouldn't expect this trial to end anytime soon.

hermit thrush

the claim that the gop is the "party of personal responsibility" has to rank as one of the bigger lies in politics.

Holmes

Kinda like the all inclusive party of ‘unity’ democrats..

hermit thrush

we are an inclusive party, but we don't tolerate intolerance. for republicans and bigots, this is a dealbreaker.

Holmes

Biggest lie in politics, Russia‘Dossier’ Lies!

KRobbins

Lots of people were convicted and Mueller found 10 cases of obstruction by Dear Leader.

KRobbins

People escaping justice on technicalities is good enough for conservatives now.

hermit thrush

like, it is true that there was a lot of junk in the russia dossier. the thing is, though, the dossier is a side story. the case against trump never had much to do with it. what trump really, actually did is really bad! (and of course those patriotic, flag-waving republicans still couldn't care less.)

Eagle24

I find it unconceivable that once a president is a lame duck he/she cannot be impeached....regardless of his actions... somehow he's protected against treason...etc. Zero chance he'll be impeached..but claiming no POTUS who's left office can't be for actions during his/her presidency makes no sense....

KRobbins

Also, he was impeached by the House before he left.

KRobbins

This is from Charles Cooper, a conservative lawyer, writing in the WSJ.

He writes that the argument would be “compelling” if removal from office were the only punishment, adding that the Constitution allows the Senate to disqualify those convicted of impeachable offenses from holding office again.

“Given that the Constitution permits the Senate to impose the penalty of permanent disqualification only on former officeholders, it defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders,” Cooper writes.

Holmes

It takes 67 votes to convict Trump. Therefore, the effort to disqualify Trump from holding future office is dead in the water before its really begun. Even Chief Robert’s wouldn’t touch this lunacy of the democrats..

Holmes

I’m not too confident in your command of the U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section 4:

“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment...” The question is then, how do you remove someone from office that they have left? Come on man.

KRobbins

the Constitution permits the Senate to impose the penalty of permanent disqualification only on former officeholders, it defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders,” Cooper writes.

You can’t disqualify a former officeholder from holding office again if they never held office. Well, maybe in QMAGA world you can.

Airball55

Well said. This isn't about law though. I propose this. I am not a Trump guy. Never was. If he is to "impeached" or censored I will go along with it only if:

1. Schumer is also impeached and censored for his threats to Gorsuch and Kavanaugh

2. Maxine Waters is censored for her multitudes of statements inciting violence that she is embarrassingly trying to walk back.

Harris is a tougher one for me. We can go back and forth about the meanings of here words but I will give here a pass. She is an awful speaker and generally confused about issues from time to time.

If this happens, I can go along with the Trump thing whatever it is being called. Personally I think the democrats love this. They want as much deflection from Biden and his job killing first month. This is the perfect diversion. Tactics...good ones. CNN and friends will eat it up

KRobbins

You might not be a Trump guy, but you sure don’t mind false equivalency to excuse him.

rdsouth

Loyalty is a conservative value. Stick with your guy.

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