- The Senate will vote on Friday evening on whether to call witnesses to testify in Trump’s impeachment trial.
- But it looks like the likelihood of witnesses being called is as good as dead.
- The motion to call witnesses requires a simple majority in the GOP-controlled Senate, requiring at least four Republican senators to vote with the Democrats.
- The motion passing or failing rests on the shoulders of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who has yet to reveal her vote, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts to break a potential tie.
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The Senate will vote on Friday whether to call witnesses to testify in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, but as of Thursday night, the attempt to subpoena documents and witnesses looks all but dead.
The motion to call witnesses requires a simple majority in the GOP-controlled Senate, requiring at least four Republican senators to vote with the Democrats. The four swing Republican senators include Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, and Lamar Alexander.
Collins announced late Thursday she would vote yes to the motion to call witnesses, and while Romney has not officially declared how he would vote, he has been a vocal advocate for calling witnesses.
Meanwhile, Alexander announced he would vote no on the motion, saying in a statement that, “The Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.”
“Let the people decide,” he continued, referring to the 2020 presidential election.
Murkowski said she would announce her vote on Friday.
Even if Murkowski voted yes, the vote would be 50/5o, thus placing the onus upon Chief Justice John Roberts to break the tie. If Roberts abstains from voting on the motion, it will fail.
If the motion fails to call witnesses to the trial, the Senate will move on to vote on each article of impeachment. It requires a two-thirds majority to remove a president.
Trump was impeached by the Democrat-controlled House on two articles of impeachment in December of last year for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. His impeachment trial began on January 21, with the Senate deliberating the rules of the trial.
Both the impeachment managers and the White House counsel had 24 hours to present their argument, and senators had 16 hours to ask questions.
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Witnesses that Democrats want to call, include former national security advisor John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Republicans have said that if witnesses are called they will call former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
The impeachment inquiry centers around whether Trump held up nearly $400 million in congressionally mandated military aid to Ukraine and a visit to the White House on the condition that Ukraine announce politically advantageous investigations.
House Democrats began their investigation, following a whistleblower complaint made public in September, alleging that Trump used his political power for personal gain. The complaint centers on a July 25 phone between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asks Zelensky to do him a favor, and discusses the Bidens and a debunked 2016 election conspiracy theory.
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