Incoming Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he did not anticipate the “arm-twisting” that would be a part of whipping votes as it pertained to President Donald Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.
Partial transcript as follows:
TAPPER: You are the Senate Democratic whip. Do you think every member of your caucus will vote yes on conviction?
DURBIN: I don’t know the answer to that. We haven’t whipped it.
I would agree with Senator McConnell in this respect. It is an issue of conscience. We will, of course, try to find out how members feel. But, in terms of arm-twisting, when it comes to impeachment, you don’t do that.
TAPPER: Just for our viewers who aren’t familiar, whipping means the majority whip or the minority whip — in this case, you will be the majority whip — telling your members, telling Democrats, in your case, how you want them to vote.
Are you going to whip it?
DURBIN: That’s the point I just wanted to make.
When it comes to an issue of this gravity and constitutional importance, members really have to follow their own conscience. It isn’t a matter of saying, come on, the team has to all vote together. It just doesn’t happen.
This is the third time I will have sit through an impeachment trial. It’s not happened in the previous two times. And I don’t expect it this time as well.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor