On the eve of the opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a frequent critic, pledged an "open mind" and "many hours in careful deliberation."
"Deciding whether or not a sitting president should be removed from office is perhaps the most solemn matter that can ever come before the United States Senate," Romney wrote in a statement to his constituents posted on his website Monday night. "I enter this task with an open mind and a recognition of my solemn responsibility to fulfill my oath.
"There is inevitable political pressure from all sides," he concluded. "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."
While many congressional Republicans are expecting the Senate trial to go the way of the House articles of impeachment vote – no House Republicans supported impeachment – Romney's pretrial statement might suggest he is no certain vote to dismiss articles of impeachment, or vote against removal of the president.
"These allegations demand that the Senate put political biases aside, and make good faith efforts to listen to arguments from both sides and thoroughly review facts and evidence," Romney's statement read.
Romney stated he will not oppose the debate of permitted witnesses, unless it comes before opening arguments which begin Tuesday.
"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," Romney's statement read. "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."
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