Two crucial swing-vote senators declined on Wednesday to say if they think Hunter Biden should testify during the soon-to-begin impeachment trial.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) both told reporters that it’s too soon to make a decision on Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, arguing the witness fight should wait until after opening arguments and questions from senators.
“There will be this time in the process where we will have an opportunity to make a determination as to what further information we need. Whether it is for Hunter Biden or Ambassador Bolton,” Murkowski said. “Until that point in time I’m not thinking about each individual witness and who I’m putting in a bucket.”
Asked separately if she thought Hunter Biden had relevant information for the impeachment trial, Collins replied: “How can I tell? You’re asking me to pre-judge the evidence.”
“It’s clearly not the right time for us to judge which specific witnesses should be called,” she said.
Republicans are barreling toward a messy floor fight over witnesses that GOP leadership had hoped to avoid.
A “fairly small” group of senators including Collins are working to include language in the rules resolution that would establish a vote after opening arguments and questions on whether or not witnesses should be called.
“It seems to me what we need to do is a fact-based determination of where we are lacking evidence,” Collins told reporters.
Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and conservative Republican senators want to force a vote on calling Hunter Biden if Democrats are able to peel off the four Republican senators needed to call Bolton. Hunter Biden is a key target for Trump and his allies because of his previous work for Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company.
“My colleagues can’t have it both ways. Calling for some, while blocking others,” Paul tweeted.
He added on Tuesday that if his GOP colleagues backed a subpoena for Bolton or other Democratic-supported witnesses and “vote against the president bringing in witnesses, it’s not going to really be very helpful for them with the Republican base.”
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