Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, said she is “likely” to support a proposal to call witnesses in the impeachment trial after each side presents its case and answers questions from senators.
“While I need to hear the case argued and the questions answered, I tend to believe having additional information would be helpful,“ she said in a statement.
Collins said she won’t support any effort to call witnesses or seek documents before the cases are presented and senators can ask questions.
“I have not made a decision on any particular witnesses,” Collins said. “When we reach the appropriate point in the trial, I would like to hear from both sides about which witnesses, if any, they would like to call.”
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier Thursday he will try to force a vote on whether to call witnesses shortly after the trial gets underway next week. Democrats would need at least four Republicans to agree to call witnesses.
Read Collins’s full statement, which was issued Thursday night:
"There has been a lot of mischaracterization and misunderstanding about my position on the process the Senate should follow for the impeachment trial. Rather than have my position relayed through the interpretation of others, I wanted to state it directly:
1. From the outset, I have said that we should follow the model that we used with the Clinton impeachment trial.
2. That process provided for the opportunity for both sides to state their case and for Senators to ask questions through the Chief Justice.
3. At the conclusion of that phase of the 1999 trial, the Senate voted on a motion to subpoena witnesses and admit additional materials after the case had been heard and the questions had been posed. I voted in favor of that motion subpoenaing witnesses.
4. For this trial, as was done in 1999, both sides should have the opportunity to state their case and the Senators should have the opportunity to pose questions. Then, the Senate should have an up-or-down-vote on whether to subpoena witnesses and documents.
5. While I need to hear the case argued and the questions answered, I tend to believe having additional information would be helpful. It is likely that I would support a motion to call witnesses at that point in the trial just as I did in 1999.
6. Prior to hearing the statement of the case and the Senators asking questions, I will not support any attempts by either side to subpoena documents or witnesses. Instead, that issue should be addressed at the same point that it was in the 1999 trial.
7. I have not made a decision on any particular witnesses. When we reach the appropriate point in the trial, I would like to hear from both sides about which witnesses, if any, they would like to call."