White House expects Republican senators to join Democrats in vote to call impeachment witnesses

White House.
(Image credit: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

The White House thinks the Democrats will have the numbers.

White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told CBS News that the Trump administration is preparing for enough Republicans to defect and join Democrats in an upcoming vote to call witnesses in President Trump's impeachment trial. Only four would need to do so to shift the majority, and the officials identified six lawmakers who might jump ship in this instance.

It's no surprise to see the names like Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — who disclosed last week that she's been working with a small group of Republicans to ensure both sides are able to call witnesses in the trial — and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), or Mitt Romney (R-Utah), all of whom have displayed a willingness to diverge from Trump on occasion. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who have both called for a fair and impartial trial, are also seen as possibilities to vote for witnesses. The White House described Alexander as an "institutionalist." Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), meanwhile, is apparently considered the "wild card."

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Whatever the combination, the officials said the White House's impeachment team and counsel consider a vote to dismiss the articles of impeachment without a trial to be bad optics, and they don't expect a quick dismissal. They do, however, reportedly expect the question of acquittal to come up pretty early in the proceedings. Read more at CBS News.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.