Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is reportedly considering a witness swap in the impeachment trial, where Democrats and Republicans would each be allowed to call one witness forward.
Toomey, who garners significant respect in the Senate, has reportedly been discussing the idea with several colleagues. He believes the “one-for-one” deal may be necessary at some point, according to The Washington Post, especially after the revelations about former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book manuscript.
In a scenario where Democrats and Republicans each got to call a witness forward, the prevailing belief is that Democrats would call Bolton forward and Republicans would call Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Toomey’s office hasn’t commented on the report, but two Republican Party aides told The Washington Post that he had been in contact with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) about the proposal. Romney apparently made a “strong pitch” to other Republican senators for witnesses during a Republican lunch on Monday, Politico reported. He’s also called Bolton’s testimony “relevant.”
Democrats have so far rejected the idea of a witness swap.
Sen. Chris Murphy told reporters right now he is “less interested than ever” in a witness swap.— Addy Baird (@addysbaird) January 28, 2020
“It is 100% clear to me that we would be complicit in the same crime that we are prosecuting President Trump for if we voted to put more Biden evidence” on the floor, he said.
“I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton,” Romney told reporters. “It’s important to be able to hear from John Bolton for us to be able to make an impartial judgment.”
Democrats would need four Republican senators to break ranks and vote for witnesses in order to overcome the Republican majority in the Senate. All eyes are now on Romney, and Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ark.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine.), who are the most likely Republicans to vote for new witnesses and change the course of the impeachment trial.
If Republicans hold their ground, the president could be acquitted by the end of the week. If new witnesses and evidence are admitted to the trial, it could last for weeks or months longer.