Collins was considered one of a small group of swing votes on the matter, which has largely broken along party lines as the Senate considers whether to remove Trump from office. The House impeached Trump in December on charges of pressuring the president of Ukraine to open an investigation that would benefit him in the 2020 election and of obstructing Congress’s efforts to investigate.
Collins posted a statement Thursday on Twitter saying she will vote to hear from witnesses and subpoena documents.
But it’s unlikely there will be enough votes to proceed to witnesses. At least three Republican senators would need to join Democrats for a vote to allow witnesses. That possibility diminished dramatically just moments after Collins released her statement.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said he would vote against calling new witnesses even though he acknowledged it was “inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent.”
“The Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate,” Alexander continued.
With Alexander firmly on the GOP’s side of the political calculus, it’s unlikely Democrats would get enough votes even if the two other likely swing votes, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), are in favor of more witnesses. If the chamber deadlocks 50-50 on the matter, Chief Justice John Roberts could step in to break the tie, although many legal experts agree that’s an unlikely scenario.
The chamber is scheduled to hold the vote on witnesses Friday.