Politics Romney, Collins say Bolton claims strengthen case for witnesses in impeachment trial
Mitt Romney Reiterates That He's 'Interested' In John Bolton, Others Testifying As Trump Impeachment Trial Gets Underway
"But I'm not going to be making that vote today. I'm going to make that vote after the opening [arguments]," the GOP senator told CNN.Romney, who represents Utah, made the comment to CNN on Tuesday while also criticizing Democrats for expressing "outrage" at the changes the Senate's GOP majority leader, Mitch McConnell, had made to the rules governing the trial. Democrats had strongly criticized some of the changes, which were notably different from those used in President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.
Sen., R-Utah, said Monday it is more likely other will vote to hear witness testimony from former National Security Adviser John Bolton as part of impeachment proceedings following reports on new allegations in his forthcoming book -- as Sen. , R-Maine, added that the reports strengthened "the case for witnesses."
During a press gaggle in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building, Romney said he thought Bolton's relevance to the impeachment trial was "apparent" in the wake of a New York Times report that his book claims President Trump connected frozen aid to Ukraine to investigations into the family of 2020 rival Joe Biden.
Romney says 'increasingly likely' GOP senators will support witnesses at Trump trial after Bolton revelations
At least four Republicans would need to support Democrats' call for witnesses in a vote expected last this week.At least four Republicans would need to vote alongside all Democratic senators in order to secure new testimony.
"I think it's increasingly likely that other Republicans will ... join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton and whether there are other witnesses and documents," he said. "I think it’s important to hear from John Bolton for us to make an impartial judgment."
Trump, meanwhile, denied the Bolton claims and told reporters Monday that they are “false.”
But Collins followed Romney's comments with a statement posted to Twitter just minutes later which indicated there may be other Republicans considering casting votes for Bolton as a witness.
"From the beginning, I've said that in fairness to both parties the decision on whether or not to call witnesses should be made after both the house managers and the President's attorneys have had the opportunity to present their cases," she said. "The reports about John Bolton's book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues."
George Conway suggests Trump's impeachment lawyers knew exactly what was in Bolton's book
President Trump's impeachment defenders may have known the John Bolton bombshell was coming. After Sunday's report indicating Bolton's forthcoming book would allege Trump blatantly suggested withholding aid from Ukraine, Democrats have only strengthened their calls for a Bolton impeachment testimony, and some Republicans have drifted to their side. A Bolton testimony would be "devastating to Trump" — and his lawyers' opening arguments show they expected it all along, George Conway argues in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday.
Collins also reiterated that she will probably vote to call witnesses as she did during the Clinton impeachment trial.
Collins and Romney are the two GOP senators who have expressed the most interest in voting to hear witness testimony, particularly from Bolton.
However, it remains unclear whether Democrats could convince another two Republicans to join them on such a vote, ensuring a majority to call witnesses.
"There is nothing new here to what House managers have been saying. ... Take a breath. Let's listen to the president's lawyers today," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told reporters, referring to ongoing impeachment arguments in the Senate trial.
Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., are among the other Republicans considered in play on a witness vote. It's unclear whether the Bolton revelations will sway them.
The moderate Murkowski has remained noncommittal on how she would vote. Gardner, who has a reputation for not being afraid to buck Trump and is running for reelection in a purple state, has remained largely mum on his thoughts about the impeachment trial. Alexander, a generally reliable GOP vote – but a Senate institutionalist – has said he would make up his mind after the conclusion of opening statements and questions.
Democrats, meanwhile, used the Bolton reports to apply immense pressure to GOP senators and the White House.
"We're all staring a White House cover-up in the face. It is so clear what's going on here," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.
Bolton Will Likely Be Subpoenaed by House to Testify, Jerry Nadler Says .
"When you have a lawless president, you have to bring that to the fore and you have to spotlight that," the House Judiciary Committee chairman said."I think it's likely, yes," Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told reporters. "When you have a lawless president, you have to bring that to the fore and you have to spotlight that. You have to protect the Constitution, whatever the political consequences.
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