Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) leaked advance news of his vote to convict President Donald Trump on one of two articles of impeachment to McKay Coppins, the same reporter who mocked Romney during his run for president in 2012.
As Romney stood to speak in the Senate, Coppins, who writes for The Atlantic, published his scoop, “How Mitt Romney Decided Trump Is Guilty.”
Coppins revealed that Romney reached out to him personally and directly, inviting him to his office in the Senate on Tuesday — the day before the vote — to reveal his decision, embargoed until his speech.
The irony is rich. In 2012, Coppins, then working for Buzzfeed, was caught on a hot mic telling another reporter before Romney took the stage at a campaign event just days before the election was to be held.
As Politico reported at the time:
BuzzFeed reporter McKay Coppins was picked up on a hot mic at today’s Mitt Romney event in Kettering, Ohio, saying there was “at least a 40 percent chance” that the candidate would “say something stupid.”
The remark, picked up on a pool feed, drew some attention among other reporters on Twitter, but Coppins was quick to run damage control: “Looks like my snide comment, caught on livestream, was wrong,” he tweeted. “Romney got the tone just right at this event in Dayton.”
It is unclear why Romney personally summoned Coppins to break news of his vote to convict.
In September 2019, the week Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, this reporter predicted that Romney would vote to convict the president.
Romney delivered a blistering attack on Trump in the middle of the 2016 Republican primary — but failed to endorse an alternative, leading observers to speculate that he was merely raising his own profile.
The former Republican nominee later sought a position in Trump’s cabinet as Secretary of State, and did not receive it. He later courted Trump’s endorsement for his U.S. Senate run in 2018, and received it.
Last year, Romney was discovered to have created a fake Twitter account, “Pierre Delecto,” to promote himself.
The Senate is not expected to vote to convict and remove Trump from office in the final vote Wednesday.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.