Recusal from Senate Impeachment Vote

It occurs to me that SO MANY republican senators have been enablers and ardent supporters of trump, that a large number of them should be recused from voting on the Impeachment, thereby lowering the threshold of 2/3 of the voting members. After all the law is “two-thirds of the Members present”, and it would be a sham if interested Senators voted by their bias.



Yeah, McConnell wouldn’t be allowed to vote. But he’d still ruin the careers of anyone who held off or didn’t vote how he wanted.


I am not American, and my knowledge of the American constitution is limited, but as I understand it:

a) You can no more recuse members of the Senate than you can recuse the President. Recusal is not meant for what are meant to be representatives of the people.
b) Even if you could recuse senators, which body might be empowered to do so? And how would that square with the separation of powers?

From my remove outside the US the best possible thing to do is to vote Trump out. Impeachment is impractical and, anyway, leaves you with President Pence and, further, does not clearly and cleanly remove Trump’s mandate.

But I’m not on the ground there so… shrug.


I would argue that you can, and infact traditionaly DO Recuse the President. The President typically would be dis-invested in anything that might sway his actions, and assets are typically turned over into a blind trust manages by someone who does not consult the president about any manner of their investments. This is not quite the same as recusing from an impeachment vote, but it is identical in concept to the way that positions of power recuse from exertions of power over concerns in which they hold interest.

Recusal is typically a voluntary action - not something imposed upon the recuser. In this case the House should set out the terms and conditions that would warrant recusing oneself, and cite the senators the House expects to recuse themselves as part of the articles of impeachment - because this impeachment is so unique.

That would not make it happen, just as impeaching won’t make the senate remove trump. But it would Focus pressure on the senators who would be most guilty of being trump yes-men and highlight their enabling, and hopefully wreak havoc with their effort to be re-elected.


This would work… in a 90s courtroom drama, where at the last minute the heroes reveal damning irrefutable evidence uncovered via an until-then-secret investigation for each senator being denied a vote, narrowly eeking out a win to save our floundering republic.

Fuck… I may have just plucked the arc for a Hacker reboot out of the collective unconscious.


My thought: So far the GOP hasn’t given a fuck up a cat’s ass about what’s right, decent, and lawful… so good luck expecting self-recusals.


there is no such body, that’s not how it works, it’s not going to happen

individual senators may choose not to vote in the impeachment trial, but if so, it won’t be because of conflicts of interest, it will be calculated to avoid problems with voters in their home states


I don’t expect self-recusals. I expect to have an impeachment article that frames why certain Senators should recuse, and then a framework around which we can criticize them during their next election.


No one’s ever going to force a Senator to recuse themselves.

This is pure idle fantasy, and it wouldn’t be constitutional.

Senators aren’t dropped from the sky, they’re voted in as representatives of groups of citizens. “Recusing” them isn’t removing a single person vote, it would be removing the voice of that block of people.

It doesn’t matter what an individual Senator says, even if it’s loathsome or biased or whatever, they’re still spokespeople in the Senate.

The Senate, as a deliberative body, has collective and procedural powers to decide who in the Senate gets to speak when, but you can’t pluck a Senator’s voice out, from anywhere outside the Senate. (Like the House deciding which Senators get to speak in the Senate)


I agree but representatives can have their voice limited. Steve king’s Northwestern Iowa constituents (I’m talking about the house not senate) are no longer having a say on the agricultural committee because he’s a racist asshole. He still gets to vote of course until he’s voted out…

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The Senate, as a deliberative body, has collective and procedural powers to decide who in the Senate gets to speak when

That’s only within the Senate. I was replying to the idea that it could be “worded into an impeachment article”. Nope and nope.

The Senate is also not going to majority vote to remove any voices from its own Senate members on a vote on impeachment. That part’s also an unworkable fantasy.

They will organize among themselves who takes what role in prosecuting the trial, but that has nothing to do with the House.

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Again, I’m not expecting anybody to be able to force a Senator to recuse. But I expect to gain a world of campaign ammunition against them when there is clear bias in their vote to let trump off the hook.

I agree with what you are saying about removing the voice of a block of people. However an impeachment vote is not legislation - its is a vote that should be weighed on the evidence presented - not the popular sentiment from the Senators state. So in this case I believe that recusal for obvious bias or entanglement in trump’s scandals is wholly appropriate.

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The professional politicians in Washington DC hate Trump’s guts

They support him because their voters like him

Opposition research is all well and good, but this particular approach may not be effective

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And if you were in the Senate, they’d let you explain that.

It will be a full vote. That’s how the Senate works.

(And think about it: Even if there was a mechanism for blocking Senators from voting in the Senate, Republicans would also game it to remove any Democratic votes from Senators deemed “too mean” to Trump.)


I didn’t mean to imply “to you” between “luck” and “expecting”. :slightly_smiling_face:

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So true, but with the Articles of Impeachment as the vehicle, obviously somebody gets to control this narrative.

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Articles of Impeachment are charges. They won’t have any power to set anything about trial procedure in the Senate.

The House will figure out 1. What will pass a vote in the House, and 2. What will be interesting for the Senate to have to deal with.

Unless Trump does something no other President has ever done in history (piss off enough of his own party’s Senators that more than a handful vote against him) then they will probably acquit.

I think it’s a 5% chance that they’ll confirm the charges without removal (they might need as little as 5? or so Senators) and a 0% chance they’ll vote to remove (even if he kills a Senator in the meantime).

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stretch out the investigation to election day and let the voters deal with him. Uncover the lies, the illegalities day by day. Let the state courts keep arresting his cronies. Let Trump hang himself with his own oversized necktie.
Let the house formally vote to impeach him right before the election and let the voters finish the job. Because until we take back the senate, that part is pointless.

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