The Atlantic

The Senate Impeachment Trial Could Use a Little Secrecy

Closed-door proceedings may be just what the country needs.
Source: Loren Elliott / Reuters

Former Senator Jeff Flake caused a minor stir earlier this fall when he stated that “at least 35” Republican senators would vote to remove President Donald Trump from office—if they could do so in secret. Those 35 votes would almost certainly put the total tally well above the two-thirds mark required for an impeachment conviction.

Despite this math, most observers assume that President Trump’s acquittal is “a foregone conclusion.” Congressional polarization is stronger than it has been in decades. The president remains popular among Republican voters. And prominent members of his party have already signaled that the impeachment will be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

Flake’s statement, however, raises an interesting possibility: that the odds of removal depend on which ground rules the Senate employs. Public proceedings would expose any Republican.

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