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Trump impeachment: Sen. Doug Jones says he will vote to convict

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By Dareh Gregorian  with NBC News Politics
Image: President Donald Trump leaves the Oval Office on Jan. 28, 2020.
President Donald Trump leaves the Oval Office on Jan. 28, 2020.   -   Copyright  Jabin Botsford The Washington Post via Getty Images file

The Senate will vote on whether to remove President Donald Trump for abusing his power and obstructing Congress on Thursday afternoon — an effort that is expected to fail — and one of few senators whose position had been unknown, Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., announced he will support conviction.

Sixty-seven votes are required to convict on each of the two articles of impeachment, and while several Republicans have said they believe Trump acted inappropriately in his dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, as of Thursday morning, none have said they believe his conduct was impeachable.

The vote is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET.

So far, no Democratic senators have said they would acquit, although some from states where Trump is popular have yet to announce how they'll vote.

Doug, who faces a difficult re-election battle this year, announced Thursday he'd vote to convict.

"The president's actions demonstrate a belief that he is above the law, that Congress has no power whatsoever in questioning or examining his actions, and that all who do so, do so at their peril. That belief, unprecedented in the history of this country, simply must not be permitted to stand," Jones said.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., who called for the president to becensuredinstead of removed on Monday, indicated he was leaning toward acquittal Wednesday morning. He told reporters he's "agonized" over how to vote.

"It's been very difficult for me. It really has. I know my state and I know my people well. But I know this country well and I feel very strong about the decision I'll make," he said, adding that he was dispirited by the division shown by Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

"I thought all of it, all of it was very bad. From the president not shaking the hand (of the speaker) tothe response. Not good. Not good," he said, referring to Pelosi tearing up a copy of Trump's speech. "We need to unite the country. The country needs to be united."

In his closing argument on Monday, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., pleadedfor at least one Republican to stand up to the president and be among "the Davids who took on Goliath."

"Every single vote, even a single vote by a single member can change the course of history. It is said that a single man or woman of courage makes a majority. Is there one among you who will say 'enough!'?" Schiff asked.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the GOP's presidential nominee in 2012 who's been critical of Trump, is viewed as the Democrats best hope of being that one person. Romney is expected to announce how he'll vote at 2 p.m. ET.

House Democrats who passed the articles of impeachment in December acknowledged the president would likely be acquitted.

Rep. Katherine Clark, vice chair of the Democratic Caucus, said the president and his allies "will do a victory lap today" but added that "history and the truth are right behind them and will overtake them."

Trump is the third president to be impeached in United States history. None have been removed from office.