• Mitt Romney believes it's "increasingly likely" Republicans will agree to call Bolton to testify
  • Bolton's revelation Trump directly told him to withhold military aid to Ukraine is seen by some as the "smoking gun" that might upend the Senate trial
  • Sen. Kelly Loeffler slams Romney for wanting "to appease the left"

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, on Monday said it's "increasingly likely" Republicans will agree to call former national security adviser John Bolton to testify. He's one of four GOP senators Democrats see as key to getting the 51 Senate votes needed for new witnesses and testimony at the impeachment trial.

Romney's vote and that of three other Republican senators are needed to support the Democrats' call for testimony. A vote on this issue is expected to be taken this week. Romney, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee are the Republicans considered the most likely to vote for witnesses.

"It's relevant and therefore I'd like to hear it," said Romney following the publication by The New York Times Sunday of a bombshell revelation in Bolton's forthcoming book, “The Room Where It Happened; A White House Memoir."

Bolton writes president Donald Trump directly ordered him during a conversation in August 2019 to withhold congressionally-approved military aid for Ukraine until Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to proceed with Ukraine's investigation into former vice president Joe Biden.

Bolton’s book directly ties the release of U.S. military aid amounting to $390 million to Ukraine investigating Biden and his son, Hunter, to help Trump's reelection campaign. Bolton's explosive revelation completely repudiates a central theme of Trump's impeachment defense, that is, there was no quid pro quo between Trump and Zelensky.

"I think, with the story (about Bolton's book) that came out yesterday, it's increasingly apparent that it would be important to hear from John Bolton," said Romney.

On the other hand, Romney said he hasn't fully made up his mind, but said what Bolton has to say is "relevant" and "therefore, I'd like to hear it."

"I think it's increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton," believes Romney. "I've spoken with others who've opined upon this, as well."

Among these others is Collins, another moderate Republican, who tweeted to say "reports about John Bolton's book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues."

Murkowski on Monday said that as "I've said before, I'm curious about what Ambassador Bolton might have to say. I'm still curious." She said that from the outset, she's worked to ensure this trial will be fair and that members will have the opportunity to weigh in after its initial phase to determine if we need more information.

For his part, Alexander said he won't decide until after both sides have answered questions from the Senate.

"After we've heard all the arguments, after we heard the questions and the answers to the questions and we've studied the record, then we'll have that vote," said Alexander. "And at that time, I'll make a decision about whether I think they need additional evidence."

Romney's move towards bipartisanship drew an immediate rebuke from fellow Republican senator, Kelly Loeffler, of Georgia, a newcomer to the Senate but a friend of Romney's. Loeffler tweeted:

"After 2 weeks, it's clear that Democrats have no case for impeachment. Sadly, my colleague @SenatorRomney wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander the @realDonaldTrump during their 15 minutes of fame. The circus is over. It's time to move on!"