Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told reporters on Monday that Senate Republicans are “not interested” in the motion to dismiss the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
“I think our members, generally are not interested in the motion to dismiss. They think both sides need to be heard,” Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, told reporters.
“Certainly there aren’t 51 votes for a motion to dismiss,” Blunt added, according to The Hill.
The majority-Democrat House of Representatives formally charged Trump on Dec. 18, approving two articles of impeachment (pdf) for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. No House Republicans voted in favor of the articles, and a handful of Democrats broke with their party to vote against one or both articles.
The Senate’s trial on the charges has not begun because the House has yet to pass the articles to the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not set a time for the House vote to launch the Senate action, although Democrats said the vote could take place Wednesday.
Over the weekend, Trump wrote on Twitter that if the Senate opts for a trial instead of dismissing the articles, he believes that would give credence to the allegations against him, which he calls a “hoax.”
A two-thirds supermajority in the Senate is required to convict a president and remove him from office. A simple majority (51 votes) is required to dismiss the charges against Trump. Republicans control the Senate with a 53-47 majority.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she will oppose a motion to dismiss the articles of impeachment.
Earlier on Jan. 10, Collins told reporters that she has been working with a “fairly small group” of Republican senators and others in the party to try to make sure that House impeachment managers as well as representatives for the president can call on witnesses during the upcoming trial.
“My position is that there should be a vote on whether or not witnesses should be called,” Collins said, AP reported on Monday.
It takes 51 votes during an impeachment trial to approve rules or call witnesses.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also indicated that he would oppose a motion to dismiss.
“I think we ought to have the opportunity to hear from both sides, and senators ought to have the opportunity to have their questions answered, and then we’ll see where we are,” he said, according to Talking Points Memo.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told reporters on Jan. 6 that he wants to hear from former National Security Adviser John Bolton but said he’d leave it up to Senate leaders to decide on the trial process.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Collins have aligned themselves with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying they approve of his plan to vote on initial impeachment trial guidelines while waiting to vote on the issue of witnesses later in the process.
“I’ve been working to make sure that we will have a process that we can take a vote on whether or not we need additional information, and yes, that would include witnesses,” Murkowski told reporters.
Collins told Maine Public Radio on Dec. 31, 2019: “I am open to witnesses. I think it’s premature to decide who should be called until we see the evidence that is presented and get the answers to the questions that we senators can submit through the chief justice to both sides.”
Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.