Setting stage for Trump acquittal, Senate defeats move to call new witnesses in impeachment trial

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 1 (PTI) The Republican Party-controlled US Senate on Friday narrowly rejected the opposition Democrats' motion to call new witnesses and documents for the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump.

As a result, the Senate is expected to acquit Trump of the charges early next week. He is scheduled to deliver his third State of the Union Address on February 4. The move to invite new witnesses was defeated by 51 to 49 votes.

In the 100-member Senate, the Republican Party has 53 seats and the Democrats 47. Two of the Republican Senators, Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, sided with the Democrats in this vote to call former White House national security advisor John Bolton and other Trump aides to testify.

The Democrats need 67 votes to convict and remove Trump from the White House.

'The vote represented a major victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump, both of whom have been calling for Republicans to reject the motion and move toward ending the trial,” Politico said.

The House, wherein the Democrats enjoy a majority had impeached Trump on two counts of misuse of power and obstruction to the Congress.

The Senate started the impeachment trial last week.

“The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats keep chanting “fairness”, when they put on the most unfair Witch Hunt in the history of the U.S. Congress. They had 17 Witnesses, we were allowed ZERO, and no lawyers. They didn’t do their job, had no case. The Dems are scamming America!” Trump said in a tweet moments before the voting on move to call new witnesses.

“Democrats = 17 Witnesses. Republicans = 0 Witnesses,” Trump tweeted after the vote justifying the Senate vote against the move to call new witnesses.

“The vote Friday represented a major victory for Republican leadership,” The Wall Street Journal said. According to the Journal, the vote on whether to convict or acquit Trump may not take place until next week, likely on Wednesday.

There was 'no need' for the Senate to re-open the investigation which the House Democratic majority chose to conclude and which the managers themselves continue to describe as overwhelming and beyond any doubt, Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell said.

“Never in Senate history has this body paused an impeachment trial to pursue additional witnesses with unresolved questions of executive privilege that would require protracted litigation,” he said.

“We have no interest in establishing such a new precedent, particularly for individuals whom the House expressly chose not to pursue,' McConnell told reporters.

“We knew this was an uphill fight,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters.

“We’re not in the majority; we have a president who strikes fear in the hearts of Republicans,” he added.

“To not allow a witness, a document--no witnesses, no documents--in an impeachment trial is a perfidy. It's a grand tragedy, one of the worst tragedies that the Senate has ever overcome. America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, where the Senate turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial,” Schumer said.

“If the president is acquitted with no witnesses, no documents, the acquittal will have no value because Americans will know that this trial was not a real trial. It had no witnesses, no documents, is a tragedy on a very large scale,” the Senate Minority Leader alleged. PTI LKJ SMN SMN