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Toomey to vote 'no' on impeachment witnesses

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., on Thursday announced he would not vote for witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey will not support calling witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, a blow to Democrats' chances of securing the four Republican votes needed to call further testimony. 

In a Fox News interview Thursday, Toomey, R-Pa., said the House impeachment managers have been repetitive and made clear the trial is a partisan attempt to discredit a president in an election year. Toomey had previously declined to take a stance and was viewed by some Democrats as a wildcard.

"It has changed, and it’s changed to the point where I am absolutely certain that we don’t need witnesses," Toomey said. "We don’t need to drag this out any longer. We should move as quickly as we can to get this thing over with, get this behind us.”

More:Toomey still undecided on impeachment witnesses

Toomey's commitment to vote with the majority of his party came as senators on Thursday questioned House managers and Trump's attorneys.

In excerpts of an upcoming book by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton that were leaked earlier this week, Bolton claims Trump explicitly directed nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine to be frozen until that country investigated his Democratic opponents, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

"Even if someone believes that everything John Bolton says is going to confirm what's charged in these articles, it's not impeachable," Toomey said. 

Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine have hinted that they might support calling witnesses, a step in the proceeding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has sought to avoid. 

But even those three wouldn't be enough to force Senate Republicans to permit witness testimony beyond what was given in the House. Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Rob Portman of Ohio and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana could also support witness testimony, Politico has reported. 

Some Senate Republicans instead hope to vote to acquit the president of the two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, as early as Friday, Reuters reported.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.