Report: Collins To Block Democratic Demands For Witnesses At Senate Trial

Darren.Woon

Key moderate GOP Senator Susan Collins backs Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to block Charles Schumer's demands.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has the votes necessary to put an end to Senate Democractic Leader Charles Schumer’s (N.Y.) demands to require additional witnesses to testify at the start of President Trump’s impeachment trial, according to The Hill

Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been pressing GOP moderates over the past several weeks insisting on opening a resolution that would set the table for subpoenaing key witnesses and documents. 

Schumer needed the support of at least four Republicans, yet key moderate senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) backed McConnell’s position that the Senate should follow the precedent set by the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial.

Collins told reporters on Monday that the Senate should consider the question of subpoenaing additional witnesses and documents only after House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team present their opening arguments. 

“The process moved to a period during which the Senate debated and voted that three witnesses should be deposed. I believe that this process -- the Clinton approach -- worked well,” she said. 

Murkowski told reporters, “I think we need to do what they did the last time they did this unfortunate process and that was to go through a first phase and then they reassessed after that.”

Without Collins and Murkowksi, the Dmoecratic leaders have no chance of passing a resolution that would require key witnesses to testify before a final up-or-down vote on the articles of impeachment.

Schumer has insisted on hearing from national security adviser John Bolton, who said on Monday that he would testify before the Senate if subpoenaed; acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; Robert Blair, a senior adviser to Mulvaney; and Michael Duffey, associate director for national security at the Office of Management and Budget. 

“A simple majority is all it takes to ensure that the Senate issues a subpoena for these witnesses. If only four Republicans decide that Mr. Bolton and the three other witnesses ought to be heard, they will be heard, because every Democrat will vote to hear,” Schumer said. 

Schumer also added that Bolton’s lawyers have said he has “new and relevant information” to share and said any GOP senators who vote against compelling his testimony “would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover up.”

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