The Senate will not call witnesses to the impeachment trial. Senators rejected the measure 51-49 on Friday, with the GOP's Mitt Romney and Susan Collins the only Republicans to vote with Democrats. The outcome had effectively been sealed earlier Friday when GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she would vote against calling witnesses, reports NBC News. Coupled with Lamar Alexander's same announcement Thursday night, that gave Mitch McConnell the votes he needed to block additional witnesses such as John Bolton. But will the trial be wrapped up in the wee hours of Friday as some have speculated? Maybe not. Coverage:
- Next week? Politico reports that GOP senators and aides are warning that the trial might extend into next week after all. The proceedings could go on until Wednesday, meaning they would not be over before Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday and the Iowa caucuses on Monday. This would allow for lengthy closing arguments from both sides, as well as speeches from senators from the chamber's floor.
- More from Bolton: The New York Times has more details from the former national security adviser's upcoming memoir that relates to the impeachment trial. Bolton writes that Trump asked him for help pressuring Ukraine to investigate politico foes two months before the president's famous phone call with Ukraine's president. This would mark the earliest known such effort by Trump. Bolton asserts that Trump asked him to make sure Ukraine's president met with Rudy Giuliani.
- And more: Bolton also wrote that top White House aides including chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Giuliani, and White House counsel Pat Cipollone (who is defending Trump in the trial) were in the room at the time. Giuliani called the claim "categorically untrue."
- Trump denies: "I never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani, one of the greatest corruption fighters in America and by far the greatest mayor in the history of N.Y.C., to meet with President Zelensky," Trump said in a statement. "That meeting never happened."
- Murkowski elaborates: "The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed," said the Alaska senator in a statement. "I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena," Murkowski said in a statement.
- Alexander elaborates: On Friday, Alexander explained his thinking on Trump's behavior, saying it was inappropriate but not impeachable. "It seemed to me that the president did it, he did what he was accused of," Alexander said, per the Washington Post. "There's a difference between inappropriate conduct, which that clearly is, and treason, bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors. ... I think there's a big gap between this conduct and impeachable conduct."
- Dershowitz: Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz has become a "lightning rod" for criticism, per the Hill, but Dershowitz tells the outlet his role on the defense team has been limited. "I did not participate in strategic decisions or tactical decisions about witnesses or anything like that," he said. "I just delivered my constitutional argument and made myself available to answer questions." His argument: That Trump should not be impeached because he did not commit a crime.
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