SALT LAKE CITY — Senator Mike Lee is in line with Republican leadership when it comes to impeachment, but the way he talks about it suggests he might support hearing testimony from witnesses when an impeachment trial is underway in the U.S. Senate.
"The Senate could make such a rule [to reject witness testimony] at the outset. I think it should not do so here," Lee said in an interview Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not agree in advance to allowing witness subpoenas to be issued in a trial of President Donald Trump.
Lee's comments conform to McConnell's position, but other GOP Senators including Lindsey Graham of North Carolina, Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Marco Rubio of Florida have gone further, saying they do not think the Senate should allow witness testimony.
Lee's language signaling openness to witness testimony has not softened his stance on the Democrats impeachment inquiry.
Lee says the President's actions with Ukraine were about a legitimate interest in investigating corruption at the Ukrainian oil firm, Burisma.
"President Trump succeeded where President Obama tried and failed," Lee said.
Democrats and national security officials who testified before the House Intelligence Committee say the President's request for an investigation into his potential opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, was not related to a U.S. policy objective.
In campaign material, Lee has called the inquiry a "witch hunt" and said Democrats disregard the truth.
"There is no question that there has been disregard for truth and the facts throughout this process," Lee said.