As President Donald Trump and his legal team prepare to begin the Senate impeachment trial, which will reportedly start sometime next week, Sen. Rand Paul has taken a step sideways from the party on the matter of whether or not to allow Democrats to call certain witnesses — a heated point of contention between the parties.
According to The Hill, Paul doubled down on his insistence that Democrats should not be allowed to call the witnesses that they wish to examine in the impeachment trial, saying if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allows it, he has plans to call an immediate vote.
And that vote would involve forcing Hunter Biden to testify.
“My colleagues can’t have it both ways. Calling for some, while blocking others,” Paul tweeted, in reference to a previous warning about not allowing Democrats to call John Bolton to the stand.
“If we are going to give a platform to witnesses the Dems demand, I look forward to forcing votes to call Hunter Biden and many more!” Paul proclaimed on Tuesday.
Paul’s demands fly in the face of Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who has reportedly been meeting with a handful of fellow Republican senators in an effort to make sure that both the GOP and Democrats are able to call desired witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial.
Democrats have longed for the opportunity to examine Bolton, but a majority of Republicans are against the move, including President Trump. However, on Tuesday, Sen. Mitt Romney broke with the party on the matter and said he would prefer to hear from Bolton, though he didn’t specify under what circumstances with regard to the trial.
“I support the Clinton model, which means that we will have opening arguments first. Then we’ll have a vote on witnesses, and at that stage I presume I’ll be voting in favor of hearing from John Bolton, perhaps among others. That could change,” Romney said on Tuesday to reporters.
McConnell has already stated that he doesn’t believe witnesses from either side should be called during the trial, but said that if Democrats insist on calling witnesses, Republicans could be compelled to do the same, including hearing from people such as Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistleblower from the U.S. intelligence community who essentially kick-started the impeachment inquiry against the president.