GOP senators predict witness vote on Friday

GOP senators predict witness vote on Friday
© Greg Nash

Republican senators on Monday said that they expect a crucial vote on whether to allow witnesses in the impeachment trial to take place on Friday.

“We’re going to get to the specific question of witnesses on Friday,” Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunSchumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama Cruz, Braun slam Library of Congress for forgoing term 'illegal aliens' to suit 'progressive preference' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Emergent Biosolutions — Pfizer, US strike COVID-19 pill deal MORE (R-Ind.) told reporters.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneParnell exit threatens to hurt Trump's political clout Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama McConnell, Schumer hunt for debt ceiling off-ramp MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, also said that the vote would “presumably” take place on Friday.

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“It probably happens Friday or Saturday at the latest,” Thune added.

The upcoming witness vote comes as The New York Times reported on Sunday night that former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonWhen will Biden declare America's 'One China, One Taiwan' policy? India's S-400 missile system problem Overnight Defense & National Security — GOP unhappy with Afghan vetting MORE’s forthcoming memoir will say that Trump tied aid to Ukraine to the country helping with investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The report has injected uncertainty into whether the Senate will call witnesses.

Democrats have requested four witnesses in the impeachment trial, including Bolton. GOP leadership had appeared confident as of last week that the effort would fall short, paving the way for Trump’s quick acquittal.

But Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead China draws scrutiny over case of tennis star Peng Shuai MORE (R-Utah) said it was “increasingly likely” more Republican senators would support calling Bolton. He clarified later that his comments were not based on conversations with colleagues.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (R-Maine) added that she thought Bolton’s allegations “strengthen the case” for witnesses, but she is waiting to make a decision until after opening arguments and questions from senators.

Every GOP senator, including Romney and Collins, voted against an effort to subpoena Bolton as part of the rules resolution that passed last week.