As America watched and waited to see what a small number of Republican senators would do with regard to a call for witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney announced that he has decided to join Democrats in the call for witnesses.
The announced, according to Daily Caller, came from Romney’s communications director, Liz Johnson, in a Friday morning tweet. After days of intense speculation, she confirmed that the former presidential candidate seeks to extend the trial by calling witnesses such as former national security adviser John Bolton.
“For those asking: As @SenatorRomney has said, he wants to hear from Ambassador Bolton, and he will vote in favor of the motion today to consider witnesses,” Johnson tweeted.
For those asking: As @SenatorRomney has said, he wants to hear from Ambassador Bolton, and he will vote in favor of the motion today to consider witnesses.
— Liz Johnson (@LJ0hnson) January 31, 2020
Romney joins Maine Sen. Susan Collins in siding with Democrats on the impeachment witnesses matter. Sen. Lamar Alexander was also considered a “swing” vote on the matter, but announced on Thursday evening that he would not break with the GOP on the matter.
Because Alexander remained with the vast majority of Republicans on the witness decision, Democrats are essentially unable to muster the extra four Republican votes they would need to successfully pass the vote to call witnesses and additional documents for the trial.
That also means a potentially speedy end to the impeachment trial, as Republican leadership has long signaled that if witnesses aren’t called, they would quickly move to vote on the president’s acquittal.
Romney has faced intense backlash from Republican voters for his fence-sitting on the matter of witnesses and can presumably expect more given his final decision.
The Senate is expected to take an up-and-down vote sometime on Friday to vote whether or not witnesses will be called.