Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said shes working with a “small group” of GOP Senators on allowing witnesses during the upcoming Senate impeachment trial.
House Democrats impeached Republican President Donald Trump on Dec. 18, 2019, but still have not transmitted the impeachment articles to the Senate, preventing the trial from starting. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday the articles could be sent over next week.
Also on Friday, Collins told reporters that in Maine that she worked all week with a “fairly small group” of Republican senators and others in the party to try to make sure both House impeachment managers and representatives of Trump can call witnesses during the upcoming trial.
“We should be completely open to calling witnesses,” she told reporters, according to the Bangor Daily News. “I am hopeful that we can reach an agreement on how to proceed with the trial that will allow the opportunity for both the House and the presidents counsel if they choose to do so.”
Collins declined to state the size of the group shes working with.
Republicans in the Senate have largely dismissed the impeachment efforts and convicting Trump on the charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of office would require a supermajority vote, which is widely considered unlikely in the body, where the GOP holds a 53-47 majority. More likely to pass is a vote to allow witnesses, though the timing of that vote has divided the majority and minority parties.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly said he wants to follow what the Senate did during the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton. An initial vote set guidelines for the prosecution and defense and a vote on witnesses didnt take place until after each side presented their case.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-Calif.) has pushed for the witness issue to be included in the initial.
McConnell told reporters on Jan. 7 that hes gathered at least 51 votes for the Clinton-era rules. He emphasized that he wasnt necessarily ruling out witnesses, but leaving the matter until later in the trial. The announcement came after CollinRead More – Source