Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been adamant that he wants to dismiss the impeachment case against President Donald Trump as soon as possible, preferably without calling witnesses.
But his effort to quickly end the impeachment circus is being undermined by Sen. Susan Collins (R-MA), who just stunned Trump and McConnell by admitting that she’s rallying her colleagues to push for witnesses in the Senate trial.
The silent movement
Collins told the Washington Examiner that she is working behind the scenes to get more Republican senators to call for the witnesses once the trial hits its second phase.
She revealed to the outlet that she is trying to “reach an agreement on how to proceed with the trial that will allow the opportunity for witnesses for both the House managers and the president’s counsel if they choose to do so.”
We knew the vote to dismiss would be close already, but it now seems as though McConnell will fall short of the 51 votes he needs.
Currently, Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate, which means they have two votes to spare in the effort to dismiss impeachment.
It is given that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) will do just about anything to make Trump’s life a bit more miserable. That being the case, we know he will want to hear witnesses, and he has already expressed a desire to call former National Security Adviser John Bolton to the stand.
With Collins now also looking to call witnesses, that puts the Republicans right up to the 51 votes needed to successfully dismiss — if no one else comes out of the woodwork to call for a trial.
However, if Collins’ plan is getting the interest it appears she is, she will have at least one or two other senators willing to go against the party line on this matter.
A wild card
Trump originally said that he is not worried about anything Bolton would have to say, but he recently dialed back on that rhetoric and said that if Bolton was called to testify, the White House would invoke executive privilege to block his testimony, the Daily Caller reported.
Bolton, on the other hand, has insisted that he has information nobody has been able to present yet. Much of this could be hearsay, though, which may not even be admissible during a Senate trial.
Regardless, expect the fireworks to start to fly once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) finally transmits the articles to the Senate — which could happen as soon as this week.