Aug 25, 2018

Trump's life or death number: 34

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The writing is on the wall, top Republicans tell us: Democrats will likely win the House and undoubtedly move to impeach President Trump.

The big picture: Assuming Democrats win the House, it is inconceivable charges that Trump illegally paid off two women to protect his political campaign, corroborated by two longtime loyalists under oath, alone would not provoke impeachment proceedings. It’s equally inconceivable Robert Mueller won’t provide much more impeachment fodder when he reports his findings.

This is where the insane run of politics could hit peak insanity: Trump knows all he will need is 34 Republican votes in Senate to save his presidency, if he were impeached by the House and tried by the Senate. It takes 67 of 100 senators to remove a president from office.

  • Trump’s political superpower is his willingness to say, do and endure things most humans would never tolerate.
  • So those who know Trump best fully expect he would never surrender and bet his base is so strong, and Republican senators so fearful, his red wall will hold, regardless of evidence.

This wall would include:

  • True Trump loyalists.
  • Newly elected senators who credit Trump for helping them win.
  • Republicans running for reelection in states Trump won by 20 or more points.
  • Republicans in Trump states not up for 2020 reelection.

Why it matters: Yes, this is premature. But also yes, the thinking around Trump is turning to survival in impeachment proceedings.

Be smart ... An experienced Senate vote-counter, on why no one is likely to be #34 to save Trump: "If you lose 10 Rs on something like impeachment, you’re going to lose them all. I think it’s [preserve the] majority [in November] or bust."

Go deeper ... From Axios PM, "Trump's hell week: fear and fury," by Jonathan Swan:

  • "For the first time, I’m hearing real fear and concern in the voices of Trump allies."

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