Republican Senators Who Will Vote to Remove Trump Over Impeachment Can Be Counted on One Hand, Says Chris Murphy

Sen. Chris Murphy believes there are currently very few of his Republican colleagues that would vote to remove President Donald Trump from office.

Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, told MSNBC's Morning Joe program on Friday that he has spoken to GOP senators who are thinking of voting against Trump.

"It's a small list on one hand," Murphy said. "I don't buy this secret ballot thing. If there was a secret ballot, there'd still be only a handful of them that would vote to impeach this guy."

When pressed, Murphy said that as it stands he thinks there are a maximum of five Republican senators willing to turn on the president: "I think that's probably right."

Trump faces impeachment by the House over his alleged misconduct towards Ukraine. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that the inquiry will move forward with adopting articles of impeachment against Trump.

The president is accused of soliciting Ukraine's interference in the 2020 election to benefit his campaign by opening specious corruption investigations that would taint his political rivals.

According to the House intelligence committee, which gathered evidence in the case for impeachment, Trump conditioned a White House meeting for Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and $391 million in military aid on a public announcement of the investigations.

There is a large Democratic majority in the House making the impeachment of Trump highly likely when it eventually votes on the final articles. But the Republicans hold a small majority in the Senate where the impeachment trial will take place.

In order to convict Trump of any charge, and remove him from office, the Senate must vote by a two-thirds majority else he will be acquitted. A number of Republicans will have to turn on the president if the push to impeach Trump is to be successful.

A tracker by Politico, which is evaluating the current position of each of the 100 senators, estimates that there are only 35 firm votes to remove Trump from office. A further 10 are down as probably, five maybe, 31 probably not, and 19 a firm no.

Elizabeth Holtzman, a former Democratic congresswoman from New York who was on the Watergate-era judiciary committee that adopted articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon, said previously that Republicans will need space to think.

Holtzman told Newsweek in November that she sees "deep similarities" between the cases for impeaching Trump and Nixon but cautioned that, as with Watergate, it will be some time before Republicans accept the arguments against the incumbent president.

"It's too soon to expect Republicans to come out and say they're for impeachment," Holtzman told Newsweek, noting that it was "many months after we got started ... before any Republicans said they were in favor of articles of impeachment."

She added: "Everybody wants to predict what's going to happen in the Senate but when we started out proceedings in the House Judiciary Committee we didn't even know what the case was or that there'd be enough votes on the committee for impeachment. And it never got to the Senate."

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President Donald Trump takes part in a luncheon with the UN Security Council permanent representatives in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 5, 2019. Trump is facing impeachment by the House. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images