Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) speaks to reporters upon arrival to the U.S. Capitol for the continuation of the Senate impeachment trial on January 29, 2020 in Washington, DC.
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Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said Wednesday that he will vote to convict President Donald Trump for abusing his power, making him the only Republican in the Senate to publicly side with Democrats calling for Trump’s removal from office.
Romney first shared his decision with The New York Times just a few hours before the Senate is set to hold its final 4 p.m. ET vote on whether to convict Trump on the two articles of impeachment that passed the House in December.
NBC News reported that Romney will vote to convict Trump on the first article of impeachment, alleging Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine’s president to announce investigations into his political opponents while he withheld nearly $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid to the country.
Romney reportedly said he will vote against the second article, which alleges Trump obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry, and pressuring potential witnesses not to comply.
On the Senate floor just two hours before the final vote was set to begin, Romney said, “Voters will make the final decision, just as the president’s lawyers have implored. My vote will likely be in the minority in the Senate.”
“But,” he added, “irrespective of these things, with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty.”
Romney, who was the Republican nominee for president against Barack Obama in 2012, has been a fierce critic of Trump’s dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign.
Romney was one of just two GOP senators to vote in favor of allowing additional witnesses and documents in the Trump’s impeachment trial. The other senator, Susan Collins of Maine, announced Tuesday that she would vote to acquit Trump on both articles.
On the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon, Romney said that “the grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and so egregious” that it warrants impeachment.
Romney concluded: “Yes, he did.”
“The president’s purpose was personal and political. Accordingly, the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust,” Romney said.
Romney acknowledged that his vote will not change the outcome of the trial, in which Trump is virtually guaranteed to be acquitted. The GOP holds a 53-47 majority in the Senate; It would take 67 votes convict Trump.
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.
— CNBC’s Yelena Dzhanova contributed to this report.