Jan 16, 2020

Susan Collins says she would "likely" vote to call impeachment witnesses

Susan Collins. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wrote in a statement Thursday that there has been "a lot of mischaracterization" of her position on the Senate impeachment trial's procedures, and that it is "likely" she would vote to call additional witnesses after each side makes their opening case.

Why it matters: Collins, a moderate Republican facing a competitive re-election race, is viewed as a swing vote on key impeachment issues, including whether to call new witnesses. She voted to call witnesses in the middle of President Clinton's impeachment trial and has said she continues to support the procedures the Senate used then.

Yes, but: Collins said she has not made a decision on "any particular witnesses" and would like to hear from "both sides" about which, if any, they would like to call.

  • On former national security adviser John Bolton's offer to testify if subpoenaed, Collins said that it's "difficult to decide in isolation before we have heard the opening statements" and that "there are a number of witnesses that may well be appropriate for Stage 3, of which he would certainly be one."

What they're saying: "While I need to hear the case argued and the questions answered, I tend to believe having additional information would be helpful. It is likely that I would support a motion to call witnesses at that point in the trial just as I did in 1999," Collins wrote.

  • "Prior to hearing the statement of the case and the Senators asking questions, I will not support any attempts by either side to subpoena documents or witnesses.  Instead, that issue should be addressed at the same point that it was in the 1999 trial."

Go deeper: Collins says it's "inappropriate" for McConnell, Warren to "prejudge" impeachment trial

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Democrats struggle to count to four

McConnell, Alexander and Collins in a hallway at the Capitol last month. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Democrats may fall short of securing the minimum number of Republican senators needed to bring new witnesses into President Trump's impeachment trial, 10 senior staffers to key Senate Republicans tell Axios.

The big picture: As of Thursday night, the prevailing view emerging among Republican Senate aides was that Democrats — who need four GOP senators' votes and not to lose any from their own party — will struggle to get more than three.

Go deeperArrowJan 24, 2020

Romney: It's "increasingly likely" Senate Republicans will vote for Bolton testimony

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Monday that it is "increasingly likely" that he and at least three other Senate Republicans will vote to call former national security adviser John Bolton as a witness in President Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: His comments come after the New York Times reported that Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that Trump told him he needed aid withheld from Ukraine until it helped with investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020

The GOP senators signaling support for witnesses following Bolton report

From left: Sen. Susan Collins, former national security adviser John Bolton, Sen. Mitt Romney. Photos: Getty Images

At least three Republican senators are signaling support for calling John Bolton as a witness in President Trump's Senate impeachment trial, following reports that the former national security adviser's forthcoming book includes allegations that Trump said he conditioned aid to Ukraine on the nation investigating his political rivals.

The state of play: The revelations from Bolton's book could be enough to sway the four Republican senators needed to vote for witness testimony in the trial, GOP sources told Axios on Monday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 30, 2020