Meadows: Republicans who break with Trump could face political repercussions
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said he believes Senate Republicans who break with President Trump on impeachment will likely face political backlash during an interview with CBS Evening News slated to be aired Monday evening.
His comments come as centrist GOP lawmakers in the upper chamber face mounting pressure to vote to bring in additional witnesses for the trial in the wake of a bombshell New York Times report. The Times reported Sunday night that former national security adviser John Bolton wrote in his upcoming memoir that President Trump told him him aid to Ukraine was conditional upon the country launching investigation into the Bidens.
Meadows, one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress who was selected to serve on the president’s impeachment defense team, said yes when asked by Norah O’Donnell if Republican senators “face political repercussions” if they deviate from Trump.
“I mean listen, I don’t want to speak for my Senate colleagues. But there are always political repercussions for every vote you take,” Meadows said. “There is no vote that is higher profile than this.”
The White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have pushed back against Democrats’ calls to bring in additional witnesses, and Republicans have largely voted against amendments for key administration officials to testify at the start of the proceedings in the upper chamber. But the Times report has led moderates, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), to state they are interested in hearing what Bolton has to say.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who is also on Trump’s defense team, argued calling additional witnesses may not work out the way Democrats believe it will.
“I think this witness question is a very important one. Oftentimes, we’re asked over 50 percent of the American people want the us to call witness,” Stefanik told CBS. “That doesn’t just mean John Bolton. That means the whistleblower. That means Hunter Biden. And it really opens up challenges for the Democrats.”
And Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and a member of the president’s impeachment defense team, said Democrats in swing states also face challenges.
“The question needs to be flipped. Where is a courageous Democrat who will actually look at the facts and vote in favor of not impeaching this president? I think the question is, and I understand we’re Republicans here, and I understand your question, but the question is always asked from the side of: ‘Will a Republican take this bold and courageous step to stand up to this president?’ ” he told O’Donnell. “My question is where is a Democrat who will actually look at the facts and not simply follow behind Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff and Chuck Schumer, or their presidential candidates who are sitting in the jury pool, and follow them?”
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