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Expand chart
Data: Net approval via Morning Consult, election margins via Dave Leip's Election Atlas; Graphic: Axios Visuals

Every time President Trump seems to tempt fate — like inviting China on camera yesterday to investigate the Bidens — just remember that he's counting on his red wall in the Senate to save him even if he’s impeached.

The big picture: Here’s a visual look at just how strong that wall is: 51 Republican senators from states Trump won in 2016. He only needs 34 to save him from being convicted and removed from office if the House impeaches him.

  • So if Mitt Romney or Ben Sasse feel like voting to convict, they can and it wouldn’t make a difference.
  • The red wall doesn’t include Susan Collins or Cory Gardner, the two Republican senators from states that voted for Hillary Clinton (Maine and Colorado). Both are up for re-election next year.
  • They could vote to convict too, and it still wouldn’t matter.

Remember that impeachment, which only takes a majority vote in the House, doesn’t end Trump’s presidency. That only happens if two thirds of the Senate votes to convict and remove him — 67 senators if they all show up.

The catch: The wall gets weaker if you factor in Trump’s approval ratings. They’re negative in some of the states he won in 2016.

  • But even if all of those senators jumped ship — which is a stretch — he'd still have more than enough votes to block conviction. That would only change if he started to lose senators from states where he's still popular, too.

By the numbers:

  • 36 Republican senators represent Trump states where he’s still popular. 15 of them are up for re-election.
  • 15 Republican senators represent Trump states where his approval ratings are underwater, but only 5 of them are up for re-election.
  • Trump could lose 17 senators from his red wall — or 19 Republicans if Collins and Gardner were in the mix — and still stay in office.

The bottom line: Trump believes the combination of right-wing media backing + GOP senators' fear of crossing Trump voters will save him.

  • Right now, there are few noticeable cracks in this wall.

Editor’s note: This post has been corrected to show that Martha McSally is up for election to hold on to her seat in 2020.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.