Sen. Mitt Romney said Monday he would have an "open mind" ahead of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, which begins on Tuesday. He also said any decision on whether to call witnesses should wait until after opening arguments.
In a statement issued Monday, Romney said the charges against President Trump are "extremely serious" and he would oppose any effort to vote on whether to allow witnesses before the trial begins.
"The allegations outlined in the articles of impeachment passed by the House are extremely serious - did the President abuse his office for personal political gain, and did he obstruct Congress’ investigation by blocking subpoenas?" said Romney in the email to constituents.
"I have made clear to my colleagues and the public that the Senate should have the opportunity to decide on witnesses following the opening arguments, as occurred in the Clinton trial. The organizing resolution released tonight includes this step, and overall, it aligns closely with the rules package approved 100-0 during the Clinton trial. If attempts are made to vote on witnesses prior to opening arguments, I would oppose those efforts," added Romney.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed rules for the trial that gives House managers and Trump's legal team 24 hours each to present their initial case. Senators would have 16 hours to ask questions in writing. The proposed rules also contain a guaranteed vote mid-trial whether to subpoena witnesses.
Romney added the impeachment trial will be "difficult" and could "further inflame partisan entrenchment."
"There is inevitable political pressure from all sides. I have spent – and will continue to spend – many hours in careful deliberation about what this process and its potential outcomes could mean for our country. The best we in the Senate can do is strive to meet the obligations outlined by our founding fathers – to honor our constitutional duty and fulfill our oath to do impartial justice. That is the commitment I make solemnly and in good faith to the people of Utah and our nation," said Romney.