Bill Weld: Trump faces higher risk of removal if senators go to secret ballot thumbnail

Bill Weld: Trump faces higher risk of removal if senators go to secret ballot

Donald Trump faces a higher risk of being removed from office than is widely assumed if senators vote on his fate by secret ballot, according to a Republican challenging him for the US presidency.
Bill Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, is mounting a long-shot challenge to Trump in the Republican primary and he is now suggesting the president might not even be on the ballot in November 2020.
Conventional wisdom holds that, in the wake of the damning testimony of the acting ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, of a quid pro quo, House Democrats’ inquiry will inevitably result in Trump’s impeachment before the end of this year but the Republican-controlled Senate will then acquit him.
“I do think the House will send it over to the Senate for a trial,” Weld said before a recent campaign stop in New Hampshire. “I don’t really have a prediction on the Senate. I have no idea what the chances are.
“A straw in the wind was provided by former senator [Jeff] Flake of Arizona recently when he said if there was a secret ballot, there would be 30 to 35 votes to convict. Well, all you need is 20. I think from Senator Flake that was a trial balloon to plant the idea in Leader [Mitch] McConnell’s head that maybe a secret ballot would inform his judgment. If they go to a secret ballot, I think you could see some real movement.”
A secret ballot could shield some Republicans from the wrath of Trump’s fervent base ahead of primary elections. Few have been willing to speak out against Trump over the past two and a half years, although his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, and his abortive attempt to host the next G7 summit at one of
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