Everyone has been waiting for Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) to speak up about the potential Senate impeachment trial, and now he has finally broken his silence.
While speaking with reporters on Monday, Romney broke ranks with his GOP colleagues and stated that he would like the Senate to call witnesses, specifically former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Breitbart reported.
Up until now, virtually every Republican who has spoken to the press in regard to the impeachment trial has stood behind Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
McConnell has thus far stated that he sees no need to call witnesses because Democrats failed to fulfill their responsibility of making their case during the House hearings.
While some Republicans have said they had concerns about McConnell’s pledge to collaborate with the White House regarding a trial, nobody has fully come out against the party line until now.
After former National Security Adviser John Bolton made a statement indicating that he is prepared to testify in the Senate if called, Romney declared, “I would like to be able to hear from John Bolton.”
The wild card
The thing about Bolton is nobody has a clue about exactly where he stands or what he will say. At times, it has sounded as though he has an axe to grind with Trump, then at other instances, he seems to come out of left field to defend Trump.
For example, Bolton had been critical of Trump’s foreign policy and his desire to pull troops out of the Middle East, but he clearly supported the strike against Soleimani.
Senate Republicans would need 51 votes to dismiss the charges against Trump without calling witnesses, and based on Romney’s statement, they would now have only 52 votes.
There are enough moderate Republicans in the Senate that it is a relatively safe assumption at least a couple of them may break from the party and vote to convict.
It now stands to reason that while McConnell would prefer not to call witnesses, he may be forced down that road by members of his own party.
However, it’s unlikely he would allow Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to call all of his desired witnesses, considering how Republican requests for testimony were treated during the House hearings.