Romney Vote Uncertain on Bolton Testimony: Impeachment Update

Daniel Flatley

(Bloomberg) -- The Senate returns to Washington this week with no agreement between Republican and Democratic leaders on how to proceed with President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

The Democratic-controlled House has yet to send the two impeachment articles to the Senate.

Here are the latest developments:

Romney Vote Uncertain on Bolton Testimony (4:54 p.m.)

Republican Senator Mitt Romney says that “of course” he’d like to hear from former National Security Advisor John Bolton, but didn’t say whether he’ll vote with Democrats to call him as a witness in the impeachment trial.

“He has first-hand information,” said Romney of Utah in an interview. “I’d like to hear what he has to say.”

Romney said “time will tell” if he’ll vote with Democrats to bring Bolton in. The senator said he doesn’t know what the trial process will be like.

GOP Senators Seek Rule Shift to Drop Charges (2:32 p.m.)

A group of Republican senators proposed changing the chamber’s rules to let the Senate vote to dismiss the impeachment articles if the House doesn’t transmit them within 25 calendar days after the House impeaches a U.S. president.

The effort is highly unlikely to succeed. Changing the Senate rules would take 67 votes, and Republicans control the chamber 53-47.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has held up delivering to the Senate the two articles of impeachment adopted by the Democratic-majority House, saying she wants to see a “fair” process for the trial.

The lead sponsor of the proposed rule change, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, said in a statement, “If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case, the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute.”

The House impeached Trump on Dec. 18, meaning that adoption of Hawley’s proposed rule change this week would let the Senate vote to dismiss the impeachment charges as early as next week.

Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment investigation, wrote in December that the Senate is constitutionally unable to act on impeachment until articles have been sent over by the House. -- Josh Wingrove

Bolton Would Testify Under Senate Subpoena (12:23 a.m.)

John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, said he would testify in the Senate’s impeachment trial if he is subpoenaed, adding a new twist in the standoff between Republicans and Democrats over calling witnesses.

“Since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could,” Bolton said Monday in a statement. “I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.”

Bolton, previously declined to participate in the House’s investigation, citing instructions from the Trump administration directing him not to comply with Congress’s request for his testimony. He told House investigators that he would testify if compelled by federal courts, but the committees didn’t issue a subpoena for his testimony.

Bolton, who left the White House over disagreements with Trump on policy, is one of several current or former administration officials whose testimony during the trial is being sought by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has dismissed the effort as a “fishing expedition.”

A subpoena for Bolton would require at least four Senate Republicans to join Democrats in support, and as of yet no Senate Republicans have indicated they would do so. -- Anna Edgerton, Steven T. Dennis

Catch Up on Impeachment Coverage

Key Events

The House impeachment resolution is H.Res. 755. The Intelligence Committee Democrats’ impeachment report is here.Gordon Sondland’s transcript is here and here; Kurt Volker’s transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of State, is here. The transcript of David Holmes, a Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, is here.The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent’s testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Fiona Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper’s transcript is here; Christopher Anderson’s is here and Catherine Croft’s is here. Jennifer Williams’ transcript is here and Timothy Morrison’s is here. The Philip Reeker transcript is here. Mark Sandy’s is here.

--With assistance from Laura Litvan, Steven T. Dennis and Josh Wingrove.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Flatley in Washington at dflatley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie Asséo

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