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Democrats Now Face a 'Mathematical Impossibility'

Closing impeachment arguments are over, and Politico already counts enough acquittal votes
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2020 10:15 AM CST
Updated Feb 3, 2020 3:32 PM CST

(Newser) – Closing arguments in President Trump's impeachment trial have wrapped up. Now senators will have two days to make individual speeches ahead of the final vote on Wednesday. Meanwhile, some Democrats were at least hoping for a censure of President Trump after the trial is over, though the prospect looks unlikely. Coverage:

  • For the defense: "You understand the arguments that we've been making, and at the end of the day, the key conclusion, we believe the only conclusion based on the evidence and based on the articles of impeachment themselves and the Constitution, is that you must vote to acquit the President," said White House counsel Pat Cipollone, per CNN. He reiterated a common accusation from the defense team, that Democrats are trying to overturn the 2016 election results.
  • Schiff's plea: In his own closing argument, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff said senators had a duty to act. "I do not ask you to convict him because truth or right or decency matters nothing to him, but because we have proven our case, and it matters to you,” he said. “Truth matters to you. Right matters to you. You are decent. He is not who you are."

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  • Done deal? By the count of Politico, 34 senators have indicated they will vote for acquittal, meaning Democrats face a "mathematical impossibility" in convicting Trump.
  • Censure? With acquittal all but certain, Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen suggested Monday that Trump should at least be censured for his dealings with Ukraine, reports the Washington Post. "If they were serious about punishing misconduct and they don't want to vote to impeach and remove, at the very least, at the very least, they should have enough respect for the system to introduce a resolution of censure after Wednesday," he said of Republicans. Fellow Democrat Michael Bennet voiced a similar sentiment. Some GOP senators, including Lamar Alexander, have said Trump's actions were inappropriate but not impeachable.
  • Maybe not: The chances of censure? "Zero," said GOP Sen. Mike Braun. Even some Democrats weren't thrilled. “What he did was an impeachable offense," said Sen. Jon Tester. "A slap on the wrist doesn’t do any good."
  • Those speeches: Senators aren't allowed to speak during impeachment trials, so this week's speeches required a parliamentary workaround. The Hill explains: After closing arguments, the Senate formally adjourned as a court. When the speeches are over, the Senate will reconvene as a court at 4pm ET Wednesday, and the vote will then take place.
(Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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