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Mitt Romney to vote for witnesses in Trump impeachment trial

Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) speaks to the press after a dinner with then-U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Jean Georges Restaurant on Nov. 29, 2016 in New York City. (John Angelillo/Avalon/Zuma Press/TNS)
January 31, 2020

In a measure against party lines, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney will be voting on Friday to permit witness testimony in the Senate’s impeachment trial.

Romney spokeswoman Liz Johnson tweeted Friday morning, saying, “For those asking: As @SenatorRomney had said, he wants to hear from Ambassador Bolton, and he will vote in favor of the motion today to consider witnesses.”

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton has become an anticipated potential witness due to recent claims he revealed in an upcoming book which alleges that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine until it conducted investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Bolton previously spoke in favor of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Democrats allege the quid pro quo took place.

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Trump and his defense team have maintained that the aid was withheld until Ukraine could investigate its rampant corruption, not as a measure for political favor.

Romney has been expected to vote in favor of witnesses, along with fellow Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who confirmed Thursday night that she will also vote to allow witnesses.

Ahead of the Senate’s impeachment trial, Romney had started that a vote to decide on witnesses would be necessary for a fair and unbiased trial.

“I have made clear to my colleagues and the public that the Senate should have the opportunity to decide on witnesses following the opening arguments, as occurred in the Clinton trial,” Romney stated on Jan. 20.

Romney and Collins are the only Republican senators to confirm their position in favor of witnesses as of Friday, just hours before the vote is expected to take place.

Democrats need four Republican votes to secure the majority needed to allow witnesses.

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Thursday night that he would not vote in favor of witnesses. Alexander was considered a swing vote, and now boosts the Republicans’ efforts of blocking witnesses and a longer trial.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is another Republican considered a swing vote, but she has not yet revealed her position.

Democrats have argued that blocking witness testimony will prevent a fair trial.

The impeachment trial will resume at 1 p.m. EST on Friday. The vote to allow witnesses is expected to take place in the late evening.