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Senate votes down effort to get new witnesses in Trump trial

Published: Friday, January 31, 2020 @ 5:55 PM

Taking a major step on the road to ending President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, the U.S. Senate on Friday voted 51-49 against authorizing any subpoenas for testimony and documents as part of the trial, as top Republicans said it was time to end the trial and acquit the President of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

A final vote on those impeachment charges will come on Wednesday.

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"A majority of the U.S. Senate has determined that the numerous witnesses and 28,000-plus pages of documents already in evidence are sufficient to judge the House Managers’ accusations and end this impeachment trial," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a written statement.

The vote was mainly along party lines, as all 47 Democrats were joined by two Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).

"A trial without witnesses is simply not a trial," said lead House prosecutor Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). "You can call it something else, but it's not a trial."

But Democrats did not have the votes to force action on testimony for officials who had refused to come before House impeachment investigators.

The Senate also defeated a series of efforts by Democrats to subpoena former White House aide John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and several other Trump Administration officials.

While Republicans wanted to move to a final vote as soon as possible to acquit President Trump, leaders of the two parties agreed to set for that 4 pm next Wednesday, to give Senators time for debate, and statements on the Senate floor.

“We do not want this rushed through.  We do not want this in the dark of night,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, as Democrats denounced the refusal of Republicans to hear from other witnesses who did not testify before the House impeachment proceedings.

“In no way can this be understood as a fair trial,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). “John Bolton’s testimony, and that of other members of the administration, can provide further evidence of the fundamental charges.”

"The House investigation was hasty, flawed and clearly undertaken under partisan pretenses," said Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), as Republicans said it's time to end this trial.

“House Democrats failed to make a compelling case for either article of impeachment,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA).  “They based this entire impeachment on their own opinions about President Trump, without material facts.”

"What's a trial without witnesses & documents?" tweeted Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). "A sham."

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