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Toomey still undecided on impeachment witnesses

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2018, file photo, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., speaks during a television news interview on Capitol Hill in Washington. For years the federal government for years has kept under wraps the names of hundreds of nursing homes around the country found to have serious health, safety or sanitary problems. Lawmakers say the silence calls into question the government’s commitment to families going through the difficult process of finding a nursing home for a loved one. The secrecy began to crack June 3, 2019, when two U.S. senators from Pennsylvania released the government’s list.. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey has not said whether he will support calling new witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but pressure has been mounting following allegations from former national security adviser John Bolton.

In leaked excerpts of Bolton's upcoming book, the former ambassador alleged the president was withholding security aid to Ukraine in exchange for political favors, according to a report by The New York Times.

The Senate is expected to vote Friday on whether to call new witnesses in the trial. Toomey spokesman Steve Kelly said Tuesday the senator would not discuss his position until he's heard more information.

"He will make a determination regarding the need for additional witnesses – including Ambassador John Bolton – after the President’s lawyers make their presentation and senators have had a chance to pose questions," Kelly wrote in a statement Tuesday.

Trump's legal team was set Tuesday to wrap up its final day in the Senate detailing the president's defense against the two impeachment articles passed by the House. 

If all Democratic senators vote in favor of calling witnesses, Democratic leadership will need to convince four GOP senators to vote with them.

Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine are likely to vote in favor of more witnesses, Politico reported Monday

Other Republican senators that could potentially vote with Democrats on the witness question include Toomey, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Rob Portman of Ohio and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, according to Politico.

Kelly declined to comment on a Washington Post story that claimed Toomey was considering a "one-for-one" witness swap proposal. In that scenario, Democrats could call Bolton as a witness and, in exchange, Republicans could call the likes of Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden or his son, Hunter Biden, who is at the center of Trump's corruption allegations. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

Friday's vote could be more complicated if even one Democrat votes against calling new witnesses.

Democratic senators will need to convince five GOP senators to vote with them if Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., flips and votes with the majority of the GOP.

Manchin is a Democrat in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016.

He notably dissented from the Democratic caucus in 2018 by voting in favor of Justice Brett Kavanaugh's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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