RNA - Speaking at a political event in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, Flake a frequent critic of Trump, predicted that close to three dozen Republican senators would back the Republican president’s impeachment.
He was responding to comments made by a day earlier by Republican political consultant Mike Murphy on MSNBC who said that if there was a "secret vote," at least 30 GOP Senators would back impeachment.
"I heard someone say if there were a private vote there would be 30 Republican votes. That's not true," Flake said. "There would be at least 35."
Flake served in the Senate from 2013 until 2019, representing the state of Arizona. He was also a member of the US House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress, from 2001 until 2013.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday launched an official impeachment investigation of Trump after he encouraged a foreign leader to conduct a probe that could damage a political rival.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, announced the investigation at a news conference, declaring “no one is above the law.”
There has been growing support among Democratic Party lawmakers for the move after Trump acknowledged that he asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the son of presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Under the US Constitution, the president can be removed from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Many legal experts have said that pressuring a foreign leader to interfere in a US election is considered an impeachable offense.
If a majority of the House’s 435 members approves bringing charges, known as “articles of impeachment,” the process moves to the Senate, the upper chamber, which holds a trial to determine the president’s guilt.
In such a trial, House members act as the prosecutors, the senators as jurors; the chief justice of the US Supreme Court presides. A two-thirds majority vote is required in the 100-member Senate to convict and remove a president.
The House has 235 Democrats, 199 Republicans, and one independent. As a result, the Democrats could impeach Trump with no Republican support.
However, The Republican majority in the Senate could vote to immediately dismiss the charges against Trump without considering evidence.