U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal discusses impeachment inquiry Friday in Hartford.

Washington – Sen. Richard Blumenthal is optimistic Republican senators, who this week have either supported President Donald Trump or dodged reporter’s questions about a newly launched House impeachment inquiry, will eventually see the need to impeach the president.

“The votes [for impeachment] in the Senate are unknown at this point,” Blumenthal said at a Friday press conference in Hartford.  “Yes, the Republicans have a majority…but as the truth comes to the American people, I think my colleagues in the Republican Senate are going to respond in the same way as Republicans did during Watergate.”

Former President Richard Nixon resigned before the U.S. House took up impeachment after Republican Senate leaders told him he did not have support in the Senate, which was controlled by Democrats.

But Senate Republicans, who would have to consider articles of impeachment if they are approved by the House, this week showed support for Trump, or dodged reporter’s questions about their position on the Ukraine controversy. That scandal was  touched off by a CIA whistleblower’s complaint that Trump inappropriately asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

At least 15 Republican senators would have to join all Senate Democrats in voting Trump out of office, which right now looks to be an upward climb for those who want to impeach the president — especially since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has firmly opposed considering charges against Trump.

Still polls are showing a shift in public sentiment since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the initiation of an impeachment inquiry on Tuesday.

A Marist/NPR/PBS NewsHour survey,  taken on Wednesday, found that nearly half of Americans support an impeachment inquiry and other recent polls also show a trend, especially among independent voters, in favor of impeachment.

But Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., are the only GOP senators who have publicly criticized the president’s actions.

Former Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake,  however, a frequent Trump critic, has said “at least 35” GOP senators would vote to remove Trump from office if the vote were held privately. But it would not be.

Still, Blumenthal is optimistic regarding GOP support.

“We’re seeing some cracks, privately more than publicly at this point,” Blumenthal said. “Privately, my Republican colleagues are deeply troubled.”

Blumenthal said that “eventually” his Republican colleagues “will need to act out of conscience and not just politics.”

“The two may in fact coincide,” Blumenthal said. “Because they will sense that they will not only be judged harshly by history but by voters in at the ballot box if they are complicit in the president’s lawbreaking.”

Correction: Oct. 1, 2019
An earlier version of this story misstated which political party controlled the U.S. Senate when President Richard Nixon faced impeachment proceedings in 1974. The Democratic Party controlled the senate at that time, not the Republican Party.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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  1. There is no impeachment until there is a vote in the House. Apparently Nancy doesn’t feel confident she could get a yes vote on articles of impeachment. Until that happens this is all fluff and crying about the last election. Frankly I don’t think it’s a good idea to impeach 63 million voters.
    It’s the typical Democrat plan to toss out some outrageous lies to get them in the news over and over, knowing viewers will never see or hear the correction weeks later. Getting the lie out there is all that’s important. (See: Harry Reid- Mitt Romney not paying taxes.)

    1. Can you please tell me what were the lies in the transcript? It was released by the WH so how on earth could the DEMs have inserted lies into this document? Instead, let’s look at some of the lies that your leader is throwing out there…I believe the count is well over 12k in less than 3 years!

  2. If the House supports impeachment and the Senate votes to remove the president from office it will be the biggest power grab in the history of the country. The Congress will have removed a duly elected president, a president that was elected by 60% of the states. If the bar for “high crimes and misdemeanors” is lowered so that a phone call to a foreign leader and a request for a favor meets that standard then just about any president can be removed for anything at the whim of congress. we will have become an oligarchy run by 535 officials and the executive branch will have little power.

    Democrats should remember that they will not always have the House and will not always have RINOs in the Senate. By these standards, I can’t think of any president in my lifetime who has not done something that could be an impeachable offense. This is not an impeachment, it is a coup.

    1. The crime is that almost $400 million in Congressionally approved military funding was illegally withheld by this administration looking for a “favor”. Any president, GOP or DEM, would be held to the same standard. It’s called checks and balances…you know, co-equal branches of government so our Republic wouldn’t turn into a dictatorship.

      1. Trump never told Pres Z. that he was considering withholding funds, and Z. wasn’t aware of it. Seems that if you’re pressuring someone to do something in exchange for money it makes sense to tell them that you are not going to give them the money unless they do it – You know, kinda like what Joe Biden did.

        GOP and DEM are definitely not held to the same standard, if that we’re true then Biden, Obama, HRC, Rice, Power, Brazille, Wasserman-Schultz, Podesta, Ohr, Strook, Page, McCabe, Lerner, Brennan, Holder, Comey, and Clapper would all be in trouble.

  3. There won’t be a single Republican Senator who votes for impeachment, not one. What’s more, Dem Joe Manchin will vote no. Blumenthal is delusional. I’ve read the transcript, there’s nothing in it that warrants impeachment. Just another witch hunt like the Russia collusion hoax.

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