The Senate rejected the idea of witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial late Friday, all but ensuring his eventual acquittal. But senators considered pushing off final voting on his fate to next week.
The vote on allowing new witnesses was defeated 51-49 on a near party-line vote.
Despite the Democrats singular focus on hearing new testimony, the Republican majority brushed past those demands to make this the first Senate impeachment trial without witnesses. Even new revelations Friday from former national security adviser John Bolton did not sway GOP senators, who said they’d heard enough.
That means the eventual outcome for Trump would be an acquittal “in name only,” said Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a House prosecutor, during final debate. Some called it a cover-up.
The impeachment of the president now lands squarely in an election year before a divided nation. Caucus voting begins Monday in Iowa, and Trump gives his State of the Union address the next night.
Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges the he abused power and obstructed Congress like no other president has done as he tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, and then blocked the congressional probe of his actions.
The Democrats had badly wanted testimony from John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser whose forthcoming book links Trump directly to the charges. But Bolton won’t be summoned, and none of this appeared to affect the trial’s expected outcome.
Check back for more on this developing story.