Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) both suggested on Monday that a report about national security adviser John Bolton’s upcoming book should warrant calling witnesses to testify in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
“The reports about John Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues,” Collins said in a statement.
Details of Bolton’s book were leaked to several news outlets on Sunday evening. Trump, meanwhile, said on Monday that alleged details offered in the forthcoming book by Bolton, who was Trump’s national security adviser until he departed late last year, were false—namely, the alleged claim that Trump linked hundreds of millions of dollars to investigations in Ukraine.
Collins added that she has “always said” that she would likely vote to call witnesses in the trial “just as I did in the 1999” impeachment trial of then-President Bill Clinton.
“I’ve said that in fairness to both parties, the decision on whether or not to call witnesses should be made after both the House managers and the president’s attorneys have had the opportunity to present their cases,” she said.
Collins, who is up for reelection in 2020, is considered a potential GOP swing-vote senator in the impeachment trial, although she voted against calling up witnesses at the outset of the trial last week. She also voted to confirm Trump’s picks for the Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” Trump wrote following a report published by The New York Times. None of the upcoming book’s content was quoted.
Romney, considered another possible swing-vote who has been an outspoken critic of Trump within the GOP, told reporters Monday that “it is increasingly apparent that it would be important to hear from John Bolton” before adding that it is “increasingly likely” other Republican senators would join in too.
On Sunday night, House impeachment managers led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) reiterated their call for Bolton’s testimony in the Senate trial after their Democratic allies in the Senate were unable to secure enough votes to compel witnesses last week.
“Senators should insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other relevant documents,” House impeachment managers said in a statement. “The Senate trial must seek the full truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to provide.”
They added, “There is no defensible reason to wait until his book is published, when the information he has to offer is critical to the most important decision Senators must now make—whether to convict the president of impeachable offenses.”
Earlier this month, Bolton said in a statement that if he were handed a subpoena to testify in the trial he would do so.
Democratic leaders in the Senate have said they would need to find four Republicans to join them in voting to call witnesses. Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage in the upper chamber.