Although Republicans have so far tried to stay in lockstep with President Donald Trump during the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry, Politico's Tim Alberta reports that there is still a sense of deep unease among GOP lawmakers about the president's actions.
Based on "dozens" of interviews with GOP lawmakers and aides, Alberta has concluded that "there is a sizable number of Republican senators and representatives who believe Trump’s actions are at least theoretically impeachable, who believe a thorough fact-finding mission is necessary, who believe his removal from office is not an altogether radical idea."
All the same, these lawmakers have so far been reluctant to say so publicly for fear of being attacked by one of the president's tweets.
Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) provides an illustrative example. After the Florida Republican publicly came out and said he was open to impeaching the president, Alberta reports that he was bombarded with angry threats from both party officials and constituents.
"The blowback from the people in Southwest Florida was something," he explained to Alberta. "I mean, I had people down here in the local Republican leadership mad at me, yelling at me, telling me nothing should happen to make me waver in my support of Donald Trump. Nothing."
Alberta reports that the president and his followers are now terrified of even a small number of Republicans turning on the president, and are waging a campaign to identify potential "turncoats" who may support eventual articles of impeachment.