In a stunning development (although not one that will change the eventual outcome of the Senate's impeachment vote), Mitt Romney — serving as a Republican Senator for Utah — announced that he will be voting to convict the President on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power. Watch his statement on the Senate floor:
Romney spoke to The Atlantic's McKay Coppins ahead of his announcement, explaining why he decided to vote as he did:
According to Romney's interpretation of Alexander Hamilton's treatise on impeachment in "Federalist No. 65"—which he says he's read "multiple, multiple times"—Trump's attempts to enlist the Ukrainian president in interfering with the 2020 election clearly rose to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors." (He told me he would not vote to convict on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress.)
Romney's vote will do little to reorient the political landscape. The president's acquittal has been all but certain for weeks, as Republicans have circled the wagons to protect Trump. But the Utahan's sharp indictment ensures that at least one dissenting voice from within the president's party will be on the record—and Romney seems to believe history will vindicate his decision.