The vote signals a major twist in the trial. Prior to Saturday morning’s proceedings, the Senate had appeared to be on track for a vote on whether to convict or acquit the former President later in the day. But that changed when the House impeachment managers announced Saturday morning that they wanted to seek witnesses.
The trial is now likely to extend beyond Saturday, though senators must still vote to approve any witnesses or subpoenas.
- Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Before the vote was final, Graham said he was changing his vote to yes — presumably to support Trump’s lawyers also calling witnesses in addition to the request to hear from witnesses from the Democratic House impeachment managers.
The South Carolina Republican tweeted Saturday morning, “If you want a delay, it will be a long one with many, many witnesses,” suggesting that the floodgates will open if witnesses are called.
Romney said ahead of the vote Saturday he would be open to witnesses if either side wants to call them. “I will support additional witnesses if the counsel on either side wishes to call witnesses,” he said when asked if he would want to hear from House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy as a witness.
Murkowski said earlier Saturday that she had not heard whether there would be witnesses, but that “a lot of us are curious about the situation with the vice president.” She wouldn’t say whether or not she would support witnesses, but that “I guess I’m going to listen.”