According to NBC News, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has indicated that he’s finally flipped and is ready to join Democrats in calling for testimony from additional witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial.
The move was expected by many, as Romney has shown he’s more than ready to join Democrats in their crusade against Trump. But Republicans are in a precarious position if they lose any more moderates to the left.
Showdown over witnesses
Romney told reporters on Saturday that he thinks “it’s very likely I’ll be in favor of witnesses but I haven’t made a decision finally yet.” He went on to say that he won’t make an official decision until all the arguments on both sides have been presented.
But Romney’s announcement that he will “likely” vote for new witnesses sets up the Senate for a major showdown.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now in an undesirable position. A change of just a handful moderate Republican senators could flip the majority and allow Democrats to call witnesses.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Romney said: “It’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton. I’ve spoken with others who’ve opined upon this as well.”
Indeed, Democrats need four Republicans to flip, and they may have them. Romney is joined by Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Lamar Alexander (TN) in his support of more testimony.
John Bolton comes back to bite Trump
Meanwhile, former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s recently leaked book manuscript has been a godsend for a Democrat impeachment team facing down defeat — and hoping for more witnesses.
The Dems have long wanted to call Bolton to testify, and now, new allegations from the ex-Trump adviser may be enough to rally Republicans onto their side.
When President Trump first brought John Bolton into his cabinet, many said it would be a bad move for the president. Bolton was known for his hawkish foreign policy views that conflicted with the president’s. After all, Trump was elected to scale down foreign intervention, not escalate it.
While Trump was successful in keeping his promises, Bolton’s presence in the White House made zero sense. Bolton fits better in a standard Republican administration, not the Trump administration.
Now, Bolton’s allegations about Trump have given Democrats new life. Trump would be smart to continue keeping his former adviser at arm’s length.