A former advisor to Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney claimed Wednesday that support among GOP senators to impeach President Donald Trump is high — with 30 allegedly willing to vote with Democrats in “a secret vote.”
“One Republican senator told me if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump,” Mike Murphy told “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”
Murphy, also a Republican strategist who worked closely with the late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain, said the transcript of a July telephone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart “was a much clearer incident than the Mueller report information.” He argues it shows Trump linking antitank missiles with an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
So far, the only Republican senator who has indicated concern about the transcript has been Murphy’s former boss, Romney, who said Wednesday that he is “deeply” troubled by the exchange between the two presidents.
“I did read the transcript. It remains troubling in the extreme. It’s deeply troubling,” Romney told a media scrum Wednesday. “Clearly what we’ve seen from the transcript itself is deeply troubling.” (RELATED: Mitt Romney Weighs In On Trump, Ukraine)
Romney was also upset after the release of the Mueller report when he decried the “pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection” from the president.
But Murphy believes other GOP senators, like the “courageous” Romney, are troubled by the transcript, and he thinks impeachment hearings will help the Democrats. (RELATED: Lou Dobbs Calls Out Mitt Romney For Refusal To Endorse Trump’s Reelection: ‘What Is Wrong With This Man?’
“The old theory on impeachment was it would help the Republicans,” said Murphy. “I think that’s out the window now. This is a much clearer incident than the Mueller report information. And so when the president released this transcript, you really have to parse your way through it and eliminate a subtext to say no quid pro quo.”
He continued, “The president of the Ukraine asked for antitank missiles because he has a problem, Russian mercenary tanks. The president says, ‘well, let me talk to you a minute about some other things, I’m a great friend of the Ukraine except we haven’t really been paid back, let’s get into this Biden matter.’ It’s a classic shakedown.”
Murphy insisted that many Republican senators are going to lose their seats if they don’t support impeachment.
“If they provide cover to Donald Trump for this, a clear violation of his role as president, we’re going to lose Colorado with Cory Gardner, we’re going to lose Maine with Susan Collins, we’re going to lose Arizona with [Martha] McSally and the Democrats will put the Senate very much in play.”
Trump and his supporters counter that impeachment is entirely motivated by political opportunism, with the president saying the move is “the only way” the Democrats can defeat him.