Senate

The five GOP senators who voted to call witnesses

Five Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to allow witnesses in former President Trump’s impeachment trial, a curveball that has thrown the timeline for the proceedings into limbo.

In a surprise move, the Senate voted 55-45 on Saturday to allow debates and votes on calling specific witnesses after Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the lead impeachment manager, said that House Democrats wanted to call Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.).

Beutler has called for other people who have information on the Jan. 6 riot at the center of Trump’s trial to come forward, including former Vice President Mike Pence, who was in the Capitol during the mob attack. Members of the mob were recorded calling for Pence’s hanging.

The Washington Republican also said Trump during the attack told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that the rioters were more concerned about the 2020 presidential election vote count than McCarthy was. Trump for weeks made baseless accusations that widespread voter fraud had cost him the election before Jan. 6, when lawmakers were evacuated during an Electoral College vote count. 

In the impeachment trial, the Senate is now trying to work out how to proceed, including if it can reach a deal on which specific witnesses to call. The decision to move forward at all with allowing witnesses is a surprise twist after senators in both parties said they expected the trial to wrap by Saturday afternoon.

Here are the five GOP senators who voted to allow witnesses:

Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)

Collins, a moderate reelected last year, was the first Republican to vote on Saturday to back the request for witnesses.

Collins is a swing vote who has been critical of Trump’s rhetoric on Jan. 6. She also broke with her party during Trump’s first impeachment trial to support an unsuccessful request for witnesses.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) 

Graham initially voted against allowing witnesses.

But after it became apparent the idea had the support of a majority of their chamber, he flipped his vote to yes.

Graham’s decision is likely tied to his threat that Trump’s impeachment team will try to call a laundry list of witnesses if Democrats opened the door to depositions.

“If you want a delay, it will be a long one with many, many witnesses,” he tweeted Saturday.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)

Murkowski, a moderate up for reelection next year, was the first GOP senator to call on Trump to resign.

Murkowski previously voted to acquit Trump during his 2020 trial and opposed additional witnesses, saying at the time: “I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah)

Romney was the only GOP Senator to support one of the articles of impeachment against Trump in 2020, and he has been one of Trump’s most consistent critics within the Senate Republican caucus.

Romney told reporters shortly before Saturday’s vote that he would support requests for witnesses.

“I will support additional witnesses if the counsel on either side wishes to call witnesses,” he said.

Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.)

Sasse was the first GOP senator to say he was open to considering articles of impeachment from the House.

Sasse is considered a 2024 contender but has pushed back strongly against efforts by Trump and GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Mo.), who also have White House ambitions, to overturn the 2020 election.

Sasse was one of six GOP senators who voted to find the trial constitutional.

–Updated on Feb. 14 at 12:22 p.m.

Tags Ben Sasse Capitol breach Donald Trump Impeachment Jaime Herrera Beutler Jamie Raskin Josh Hawley Kevin McCarthy Lindsey Graham Lisa Murkowski Mike Pence Mitt Romney Susan Collins Ted Cruz witnesses

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