Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., privately said early Tuesday that he wasn't sure there were enough Republican votes to block more witnesses, given that some moderates in the GOP's 53-47 Senate majority were wavering. Any witness resolution would likely require four Republican defections in the Senate, because in the event of a 50-50 tie, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts is highly likely to abstain rather than assert his debatable power to cast a tiebreaking vote.
One plan is to amend any resolution calling for a particular witness to also include a package of witnesses that assuredly wouldn't win enough support in the Senate. For example, if the Democrats seek to call former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Republicans might subpoena Hunter Biden over his lucrative board position in Ukraine, and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., over his inconsistent statements concerning his panel's contacts with the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment probe.
Given what happened in House, where GOP didn't get to call witnesses unless they were also on Dem list, shouldn't senators demand four GOP witnesses per Dem witness? Or what would be the proper ratio? https://t.co/weilkVtaRA— Mollie (@MZHemingway) January 29, 2020
It remains unclear how many Senators will vote for witnesses but the Democrats need four GOP Senators to vote with them if all Democrats choose to have witnesses.
Another option, the congressional leadership source told Fox News, is for the White House to assert executive privilege to block witnesses, including Bolton. The administration could head to court to obtain an emergency injunction against his testimony, citing national security concerns. Trump has said he is concerned about his former top advisor potentially spilling national security secrets, and the legal principle of executive privilege has long shielded executive branch deliberations from disclosure.
Meanwhile, Politico reported on Tuesday that Democrats were apparently divided over whether to remove Trump from office on the charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power -- neither of which is a defined federal crime. Moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin, Doug Jones, and Kyrsten Sinema were all weighing votes to acquit Trump on at least one of the two articles of impeachment, the outlet reported.