Mitt Romney didn’t join the other 11 Republican senators who voted with the Democrats to vote to sanction the companies of Russian oligarch and Putin pal Oleg Deripaska. His vote wouldn’t have made a difference but it would have signalled that he might be his own man, not a self-interested typical Senate Republican who is tethered to Mitch McConnell.
Explaining why he voted with the Democrats Marco Rubio of Florida said of the bill “I don’t like the way it’s structured.” The other Republican senators who voted with Democrats in both the procedural vote to advance the measure to the entire Senate and then the vote in the Senate were John Boozman of Arkansas, Susan Collins of Maine, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Steve Daines of Montana, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Josh Hawley of Missouri, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Martha McSally of Arizona, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
Of course the Republicans won the day for Putin and Trump with the measure passing 57 to 42. It is off-putting to know that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York missed the vote apparently because she thought it was more important to go to New York to appear on Stephen Colbert to announced her first step to start a campaign the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination.
Perhaps McConnell called in some chits for giving putting Romney of most of the committees he asked for. Freshman senators usually have to jockey to get on even one or two of the major committees which would give him national exposure.
According to a home state newspaper, The Desert News, Romney had “planned to submit requests for the Foreign Relations, Finance and Commerce. In a November interview, Romney expressed an interest in finance as well as foreign relations, education, health care, agriculture, small business and natural resources. He acknowledged that as a freshman he would not necessarily get his first choice.”
Romney ended up on Foreign Relations, apparently his first choice, and Homeland Security, choice assignments. However profile committee assignments he’s on are Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Governmental Affairs; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
As I wrote about before, Romney could be eyeing either a primary challenge against Trump or if Trump doesn’t run in 2020 he almost certainly would enter the race and could very well be the favorite.
Unless something drastic changes and he gets religion or resets his ethical compass we can expect that Romney will be just another McConnell rubber stamp.
Could Romney redeem himself? It is possible, especially considering the breaking news from Buzzfeed, President Trump Directed His Attorney To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project, which reveals high crimes and misdemeanors which Barbara McQuade (a former US Attorney) said on The 11th Hour on MSNBC could be grounds for impeachment. Romney could do what Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., and U.S. House Minority Leader John Rhodes, R-Ariz., and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, R-Pa., did when they made it clear to Nixon that he faced nearly certain impeachment, conviction and removal from office due to the Watergate scandal.
Romney could help lead a group of rebellious Republicans to vote to convict Trump. Some might join because they are facing tough 2020 reelection battles and others, perhaps just a few, may have some sense of nobility and want to save our democracy and not be a part of its destruction. They would join an impeachment insurrection so that if and when the House impeached Trump, there would be enough Senate votes to remove him from office.
If they went to McConnell together he’d have little choice but to go to Trump with the news the way Goldwater did with Nixon.
UPDATED Jan. 19, 2019
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