Sen. Rand Paul, from Kentucky, warned on Monday night that if his Republicans colleagues in the senate support Democrats’ impeachment witness requests, then he will force votes during the trial on calling witnesses Trump supporters want to hear from.
“My colleagues can’t have it both ways. Calling for some, while blocking others,” Paul tweeted, referencing a Politico report on a similar private warning he gave his GOP colleagues against supporting Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) request that former national security adviser John Bolton testify.
“If we are going to give a platform to witnesses the Dems demand, I look forward to forcing votes to call Hunter Biden and many more!” Paul continued.
Paul’s public warning comes as Senate Republicans are privately cooking up the impeachment trial rules resolution in a way that benefits President Trump.
But trouble emerged on Monday after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she was working with a small group of Republican senators to ensure the resolution allows for both Trump’s team and House impeachment managers to call witnesses.
Collins has not said if she would support calling witnesses, agreeing, along with the rest of the Senate GOP conference, to delay that decision until after opening arguments and questions from senators.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has said that he wants to hear from Bolton during the trial but has not specified how he thinks his testimony should be given. Bolton was one of four witnesses requested by Democrats and said he would testify if subpoenaed.
“I support the Clinton model, which means that we will have opening arguments first. Then we’ll have a vote on witnesses, and at that stage I presume I’ll be voting in favor of hearing from John Bolton, perhaps among others. That could change,” Romney told reporters on Monday.
Democrats would need to peel off four Republican senators to successfully call a witness or compel the administration to hand over Ukraine-related documents.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he does not believe either side should call witnesses and warned Democrats last month that if they successfully call a witness, Republicans could try to call individuals Democrats would oppose, such as Hunter Biden.
McConnell told Fox News Radio that opening the door to witnesses would pave the way for a “kind of mutual assured destruction,” adding that Republicans would “want the whistleblower. We’re going to want Hunter Biden.”
“You can see here that this would be a kind of mutual assured destruction episode that would go on for a long time,” McConnell said.
My colleagues can’t have it both ways. Calling for some, while blocking others. If we are going to give a platform to witnesses the Dems demand, I look forward to forcing votes to call Hunter Biden and many more! https://t.co/hrOzVyiG9x
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 14, 2020
One thing is apparently clear: Republicans are terrified of calling witnesses.