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Senate Republicans Vote To Block New Witnesses In Trump Impeachment


Senate Republicans voted Friday evening against hearing new witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

The Senate voted 51 to 49 to block subpoenaing any new witnesses or documents, with the vote largely coming down along party lines.

Just two Republicans, Senators Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, voted in favor of allowing new witnesses.

Other Republicans such as Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who were seen as potentially voting in favor of allowing new witnesses, previously indicated that they would vote against the motion.

Alexander acknowledged that Trump's alleged efforts to coerce Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for aid were inappropriate but argued the president's actions did not rise to the level of being removed from office.

"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," said Alexander, who is retiring at the end of his current term.

"The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did," he added. "I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday."

Meanwhile, Murkowski concluded that there will not be a fair trial in the Senate due to the partisan nature of the impeachment and argued the continuation of the process would not change anything.

"It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed," Murkowski said in a statement ahead of the vote.

The vote against allowing new witnesses comes even though former National Security Adviser John Bolton has indicated he would be willing to testify before Congress.

A new report by the New York Times said an unpublished manuscript by Bolton alleges Trump directed his then-national security adviser to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials.

The impeachment trial is now expected to resume on Monday with closing arguments by both sides, setting up a potential vote for Republicans to acquit Trump next Wednesday.

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

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