Former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake says 'at least 35' Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump if it was a secret vote
The former lawmaker's statement comes days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump.
Former Arizona senatorJeff Flake, on Thursday, claimed that "at least 35" Republican senators would vote to impeach President Donald Trump if the ballot was private. The statement from the former lawmaker came days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump over the Ukraine call scandal.
Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came under public scrutiny earlier this month after an intelligence community whistleblower lodged a formal complaint involving Ukraine and a phone call Trump had with a foreign leader where the president made a "promise." The White House released a transcript of their conversation on Wednesday, which showed that Trump asked a "favor" of the Ukrainian leader and prodded him to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Flake, who has been outspoken in his criticism of Trump in the past, made the statement while speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin. "I heard someone say if there were a private vote there would be 30 Republican votes. That's not true. There would be at least 35," Flake said, according to Fox News.
The former Republican senator reportedly appeared to respond to a similar claim made by political consultant Mike Murphy on Wednesday on MSNBC. Murphy, a day after the Trump impeachment inquiry announcement, suggested that Republicans in the Senate would likely support impeachment in a "secret vote."
"I'm telling you, these Senate Republicans, should the Democrats vote impeachment, are going to be pinned down to a yes-no answer," Murphy said. "And if they provide cover for 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."
"I can tell you this: one Republican senator told me if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump," the political consultant added.
Flake, in 2017, announced that he would not seek re-election in the senate and formally resigned from his position two years later. The former GOP senator, while announcing his retirement, said that he felt it was a "matter of duty and conscience" to criticize Trump for his actions.