“I have two priorities, one is get the president re-elected and keep the majority in the Senate,” added Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).
Meanwhile Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who are both up for re-election in purple states, released statements Wednesday saying it’s time to move on. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) also reiterated this week that he has no problem, whatsoever, with voting no on witnesses.
The Senate is expected to hold a contentious vote on witnesses Friday.
The senators’ comments illustrate theyre not caving to pressure from Democrats who argue that public opinion polling supports their calls for witnesses. Their resistance to bringing in additional witnesses and documents highlight they’d rather spend their time talking about issues other than the present’s impeachment trial. A vote for witnesses is also viewed as a break with Trump and could alienate his base.
Senate Democrats have made a concerted effort to push for witnesses during the impeachment trial, including Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. The New York Times reported Sunday that Bolton revealed in his upcoming book that Trump told him directly that he withheld almost $400 million in aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to help investigate his political rivals. But so far only three Republicans Collins, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have suggested that theyre open to hearing from Bolton. Only Collins is up for re-election this year.
Romney said Wednesday that hes made his views clear and that his colleagues can make their own decisions.
Most Republicans argue, however, that they should not have to consider evidence that the House did not have when it impeached Trump in December.
They’re all in a no-win position, said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Vote against the president on witnesses, they are going to lose a whole bunch of support amongst the base. That’s real. So I think some of them are probably choosing the lesser of two evils. They get hurt politically no matter what they choose.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) declined to surmise at a recent press conference whether a vote against witnesses would hurt Republicans facing reelection in 2020, saying only: were looking at the truth and were gonna let the chips fall where they may.
Of the Republicans up in 2020, only Collins has indicated since the start of the impeachment trial that shed likely want to hear from witnesses, as she did during the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial.
I’ve said from the beginning that I felt that it was likely that we would need to call a couple of witnesses, treating each side fairly in order to clarify some ambiguities, answer some questions, she said Wednesday. And that remains my position.