Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have publicly expressed their desire to have a sham impeachment trial without any witnesses, but that appears to be going up in flames.
According to CBS News, there are now enough GOP senators who will vote to call witnesses for the looming Senate trial.
“Senior White House officials tell CBS News they increasingly believe that at least four Republicans, and likely more, will vote to call witnesses,” the report notes.
More from CBS News:
In addition to Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and possibly Cory Gardner of Colorado, the White House also views Rand Paul of Kentucky as a ‘wild card’ and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee as an ‘institutionalist’ who might vote to call witnesses, as one official put it.
Last week, Collins said she was working with a “fairly small group” of GOP senators to allow new testimony, adding that her colleagues “should be completely open to calling witnesses.” Romney has expressed an interest in hearing from former national security adviser John Bolton, who has said he would testify under subpoena. Murkowski said last week that the Senate should proceed as it did during the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial.
Gardner and Alexander have both said the Senate trial should be fair and impartial. Paul has said the president should be able to call his own witnesses, including the whistleblower whose complaint about Ukraine sparked the impeachment inquiry in the first place.
Shortly after the CBS report was published, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) said he would vote in favor of hearing from John Bolton, a witness that could be damning to Trump’s impeachment argument.
With Romney now on the record indicating that he’ll vote to hear from at least one witness, Democrats now only need three more Republicans in the Senate to reach a majority – a number that, according to CBS News, the White House expects them to reach.
Despite Mitch McConnell’s claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to temporarily hold onto the articles of impeachment didn’t accomplish anything, the strategy actually worked.
Since Trump was formally impeached last month, more evidence of wrongdoing related to the president’s Ukraine plot has surfaced and there has been mounting public pressure on Senate Republicans to hold a fair trial with witnesses.
In other words, Pelosi didn’t hand over the articles of impeachment to the Senate for this very reason – so Republicans couldn’t immediately take them and quickly rush through a sham trial to clear Trump.
Ultimately, if the reporting is true and there are, indeed, enough Republican votes to call witnesses, Nancy Pelosi’s strategy was a success and Mitch McConnell will be forced to endure a trial with witness testimony.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.
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