Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Trump is showing how he could be impeached, survive and still win re-election, something never done before in American history.

Between the lines: Trump officials think two things must unfold for this to happen: Republicans must stay unified, in votes and voice, and the economy must be strong, in jobs and market returns. The trends are strong on both fronts.

  • Every single House Republican voted against a formal impeachment proceeding, a powerful show of unity. In the Senate, there are very few public signs of the Great Red Wall cracking.
  • Importantly, Senate Republicans are discussing how they will defend Trump even if Democrats prove beyond a shadow of a doubt Trump offered Ukraine a quid pro quo to investigate Joe Biden. 
  • Sources close to Republican leadership told us they expect many GOP senators to ultimately settle on a talking point that Trump's actions were "inappropriate but not impeachable."
  • The economy is humming, too. Markets are rising; growth continues, albeit more slowly; and more jobs are materializing. It's hard to argue that the Trump economy is anything but consistently strong one year out from the presidential election. 

The big picture: "The worst-case scenario" — that the Senate convicts Trump — "only presents itself if there's a material change in fact pattern," said a source close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "If we know what we know right now, there is no problem."

Behind the scenes: McConnell has privately told Trump that Senate Republicans aren't as susceptible to his pressure as House Republicans are.

  • The Senate leader encouraged Trump to give all Republican senators some room and not single anyone out that he may see as wobbly, per sources familiar with McConnell's advice to the president. Trump has recently pulled back from attacking Senate Republicans he deems insufficiently loyal.
  • McConnell has advised his colleagues to play offense where they can — for example, his resolution with Lindsey Graham criticizing Democrats' process. And he's advised his more skittish, moderate, colleagues to deflect reporters' questions by saying they'll be "a juror" in Trump's Senate trial and therefore can't comment.

Sources close to GOP Senate leadership said they were encouraged that not a single House Republican broke ranks on the impeachment proceeding vote last week.

  • An important part of the Senate GOP strategy is to present impeachment as an entirely partisan exercise.

Remember this number: Most polls show Trump's favorable rating among Republicans remains between 85% and 90%after all the Ukraine revelations.

  • Ignore the cable and Twitter chatter about elected Republicans turning on Trump until a bunch actually do with their votes and actions. So far, there is scant evidence this is or will happen.

Go deeper: FiveThirtyEight's Perry Bacon Jr. writes that "Republicans are already unified behind Trump — unlike in past impeachment processes."

Go deeper

Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks

Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Several Republican senators defended Anthony Fauci after a string of attacks in recent days from President Trump, who has called the government's top infectious-disease expert "a disaster" and claimed without evidence that he's a Democrat.

Why it matters: As polls indicate warning signs for both Trump and down-ballot Republicans, more GOP leaders are urging the president to stop downplaying the pandemic and listen to advice from public health experts. Fauci is one of the most trusted voices in the country on coronavirus issues.

The top Republicans who aren't voting for Trump in 2020

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said last week that he cannot support President Trump's re-election.

Why it matters: Hogan, a moderate governor in a blue state, joins other prominent Republicans who have publicly said they will either not vote for Trump's re-election this November or will back Biden.

Oct 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Republican super PAC raised $92 million in September

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images

The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC associated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, raised more than twice as much this September as it did two years ago, according to an FEC filing that will go live Tuesday night.

By the numbers: The SLF raised $92 million in September, spent $105 million, and ended the month with $113 million cash on hand, as Republicans work to maintain their majority on Nov. 3.

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