Senate Republicans Expect to Lose Collins, Romney on Impeachment Witness Vote

‘There are a lot of people trying to divine tea leaves…’

(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Senate Republicans expect to lose a few Republicans during the vote on impeachment trial witnesses.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, signaled on Monday that she would join the Democrats during the vote, citing former national security John Bolton’s willingness to testify.

“From the beginning, I’ve said that tin fairness to both parties the decision on whether or not to call witnesses should be made after both the House managers and the President’s attorneys have had the opportunity to present their cases,” she said in a statement.

“I’ve always said that I was likely to vote to call witnesses, just as I did in the 1999 Clinton trial,” she continued. “The reports about John Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.”

Collins was citing a New York Times report that alleges Bolton’s new, unreleased memoir includes an allegation that Trump directly tied the Ukrainian military assistance freeze to a pending investigation into 2016 election meddling and Ukrainian oil company Burisma.

Bolton has not confirmed whether this report is true, but Democrats immediately ran with it.

“Senators should insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other relevant documents,” the House managers said in a statement. “The Senate trial must seek the full truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to provide.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, will likely join the Democrats during the vote, too. Romney said on Saturday it’s “very likely” he will vote for additional witnesses.

Even if Collins and Romney abandon Republicans, the Democrats still need two more votes to subpoena Bolton. They’ve looked to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, but Murkowski has held her cards close.

“There are a lot of people trying to divine tea leaves,” she said Saturday, before noting that she is keeping an open mind.

“I’ve taken a lot of notes—it takes me back to law school,” Murkowski continued. “What I haven’t done is I haven’t gone through any of those, but along the way I made little asterisks and notations about what I want to see, what questions I still have. So I have lot of work to do on my own.”