Mcconnell Doesn’t Have Votes To Block Witnesses


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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators privately Tuesday he does not yet have the votes to block new witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

McConnell convened a closed-door meeting of GOP senators shortly after Trump’s legal team made its closing arguments in the trial, the third and final day of defense proceedings punctuated by revelations from John Bolton, the former national security adviser. A Republican familiar with the meeting was not authorized to describe it by name and requested anonymity.

The GOP leader faced a handful of potential defections, but several days remained before any potential witness vote would be taken.

A decision to call more witnesses would need 51 votes to pass. With a 53-seat majority, Republicans can only afford to lose three Republicans to prevent more debate over witnesses.

McConnell has been trying to prevent a prolonged trial. Republicans were warned that subpoenaing testimony from Bolton or other witnesses could run quickly into legal challenges that could drag out for weeks.

But Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, has said he wants to hear what Bolton has to say. Two other Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, also want to hear from more witness.

The White House has blocked its aides from appearing in the impeachment proceedings and would almost certainly claim some sort of executive privilege or national security objections over Bolton testifying.

One closely watched Republican, retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, told reporters as he exited the private meeting he would wait for the next few days of the trial and make his decision.

Some senators have discussed trying to reach a deal with Democrats in which each side would call a witness — for example, Bolton and Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden whose work in Ukraine has been referenced by Trump’s team in the impeachment proceedings. Such a deal, so far, has had few takers as most Republicans don’t want to hear from Bolton and few Democrats want to draw the Bidens into the impeachment proceedings.



  1. Yaapchik – I don’t think that this is a silly waste of taxpayer dollars. New witnesses can tell us in excruciating detail about the president’s perfect call, finally clearing his name. It’s important for everyday citizens like us to be told by people who were there that the president, OF COURSE, behaved in an appropriate, ethical and dignified manner (as he ALWAYS does), and absolutely did not illegally withhold foreign aid to leverage Ukraine into help bring down his opponent. Of course he would never have done that, and having eye-witnesses testify might be the only way to reassure Americans that our president is an honest man.

  2. How come, assuming new witnesses will be allowed, it mentions nothing about bringing in, as example, Hunter Biden as a witness? Or are new witnesses interesting only when they are (expected) to reveal a very specific slant on events.