The Salt Lake Tribune reports on a monumental development moments ago in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump: Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah will vote to convict and remove Trump from office.
“I swore an oath before God to apply impartial justice. And, as you know, I’m a very religious person. I take that very seriously,” Romney, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told The Salt Lake Tribune ahead of his vote. “And so I looked at the evidence in a very unbiased manner and concluded that that the president had done as was alleged — that he did ask a foreign government to interfere in the election, that he did pressure that government by withholding aid.
“That’s as egregious an assault on the Constitution of our country,” he added, “as I can imagine that a president might make.”
Romney said he will vote to acquit the president on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, because he doesn’t believe the House took all the steps it needed to test the president’s assertion of executive privilege covering witness testimony and documents sought in the inquiry.
Sen. Romney’s vote to convict Trump on the first and most substantial of the impeachment articles assures that the vote to convict will be bipartisan–and we do believe the first presidential impeachment trial conviction vote to attract bipartisan support in American history. While it’s still almost certain that the 67 votes needed to remove Trump from office will not emerge today, Romney’s powerful condemnation of Trump’s conduct throws the defenses of Trump by fellow Republicans ranging from total denial to equivocal admission of a problem into harsh relief.
Sen. Cory Gardner, allegedly due to speak at some point before the final vote, now has a lot less cover to help Trump cover this thing up. Stay tuned for updates — the drama isn’t over yet.