Senate Republicans are 'sweating' over impeachment trial, Ohio's Sherrod Brown says

Michael Isikoff
Chief Investigative Correspondent

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, says that his Republican colleagues are increasingly nervous about President Trump’s conduct and privately describe him as “pretty crooked” and a liar — even if they are not yet ready to publicly break with him. 

“As more things come out … I see them sweating,” Brown said in an interview on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.” “I hear Republican members of the Senate say things like, ‘We know he’s pretty crooked, he lies a lot, he’s a pretty bad guy.’ Some of them will say, ‘We know he’s a racist.’ But they are not saying it publicly.” 

Brown discussed how a trial is likely to play out in the GOP-controlled Senate if the House — as is now widely expected — approves articles of impeachment against Trump, perhaps as early as next month.

Asked if he thinks it’s likely that any Republican senators will actually vote to convict the president on his Ukraine dealings, Brown said that a month ago he would have answered “No, zero.” Now he sees at least one GOP senator who might vote to convict — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. But several more with endangered seats in next year’s elections could vote against the president as public opinion increasingly shifts against him, he added.  

“We’ll see how this plays out,” Brown said, citing Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and Maine Sen. Susan Collins as among the Republicans who have tough reelection battles next year and could turn against the president. 

“They’re all going to lose in the next election, if things work the way I think they’re going to work out,” said Brown. 

But like most of his colleagues, Brown — who represents a state that Trump carried by 8 points in 2016 — didn’t commit to voting one way or the other on convicting the president, saying that as one of 100 jurors in a Senate trial, he wants to wait to hear the evidence.

“I think he has done enough to be impeached. I don’t know if it’s enough to be at the level [of] high crimes and misdemeanors for removal,” said Brown. “I also owe it to my constituents ... to listen to what the president’s defense is.”


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