Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado isn’t saying whether he is part of a small group of Republican senators considering allowing witnesses as impeachment charges against President Donald Trump prepare to move to Congress’ upper chamber.
Gardner’s office declined again Tuesday to answer questions from The Denver Post about whether he would support a motion to dismiss the two charges against Trump or vote to allow witnesses in a Senate trial that’s expected to begin next week. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah have said they want to keep open the option of hearing from witnesses after opening arguments.
CBS reported Monday that the White House expects at least four Republicans will vote to call witnesses in the Senate trial. That “possibly” includes Gardner, according to the report, though he has said nothing to indicate that he will. There are 53 Senate Republicans, and a simple majority of 51 votes will be needed to pass trial rules.
Silence has become the norm for Gardner on the topic of impeachment. His office previously declined to say whether witnesses should be called and whether he agrees with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “total coordination” with the White House.
“Is Nancy going to send the articles over? She doesn’t seem to care,” Gardner told reporters on Capitol Hill when asked Jan. 6 whether former national security adviser John Bolton should testify. “You guys want to have a trial by Twitter but until she has the articles sent over, there is no trial.”
The House will vote Wednesday to send both articles of impeachment — for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — to the Senate. Because Monday is a federal holiday, the trial is slated to start with opening statements Tuesday, after nearly a month’s delay by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“I guess she decided she could no longer delay the inevitable — the Senate will put these articles where they belong, on the ash heap of history,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican.
Trump has urged Senate Republicans to dismiss the articles of impeachment outright. A trial would give credence to Democrats’ “no-evidence, no-crime, read-the-transcripts, ‘no pressure’ impeachment hoax,” the president said Sunday. But several Senate Republicans oppose a motion to dismiss, meaning it likely lacks the votes needed for passage.
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Gardner’s political opponents on both the right side of the spectrum and the left side have not waited to find out where, exactly, he stands. They have scheduled protests outside his Denver office, called his Washington office and crafted aggressive video ads bashing him for impeachment votes they expect him to take.