President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Friday appeared on track for a speedy conclusion, with his acquittal in sight following the Senate’s rejection of calling for more witnesses and documents.
A motion to call witnesses failed on a 51-49 vote, with Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah joining Democrats. Earlier Friday, GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she would vote against the motion, all but ensuring it would fail.
Republican senators told reporters they expected to return Monday for closing arguments and Tuesday for floor speeches, with a final vote on Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called a recess following the witness vote, and said, “senators will now confer among ourselves, with the House managers, and with the president’s counsel to determine next steps as we prepare to conclude the trial in the coming days.”
Democrats say Trump abused his power by withholding aid to Ukraine in an effort to get that country to investigate Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden. They also charge that he obstructed lawmakers’ efforts to investigate the matter.
Trump denies wrongdoing and calls the impeachment effort a hoax. His lawyers began their defense by charging that Democrats are trying to keep Trump from being re-elected.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, called a trial without witnesses “simply not a trial.” Democrats sought to call among others John Bolton, the former national security adviser, who alleges in a forthcoming book that Trump sought to tie aid to Ukraine to an investigation of the Bidens, which the president denies.
Murkowski made her announcement before the four-hour witness debate began, saying, “I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena.”
have largely ignored the impeachment drama from Washington, but closed sharply lower Friday on increased worries about the coronavirus epidemic.
The impeachment trial appeared to be heading toward its conclusion as Trump is preparing for his State of the Union address on Tuesday. On Monday, Iowa holds the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, where Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading in polls among Democrats.