Report: GOP May Have Votes to Block Witnesses in Impeachment Trial

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Posted: Jan 29, 2020 4:00 PM
Report: GOP May Have Votes to Block Witnesses in Impeachment Trial

Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The witness aspect of the impeachment trial for President Trump has been the controversy on Capitol Hill this week, especially after Former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s book preview insinuated he may have relevant information. Democrats, who have historically demonized Bolton, immediately pounced and demanded Bolton testify. Most Republicans have united against a hypothetical Bolton testimony, on account of national security, and dragging the taxpayer funded impeachment charade on longer than necessary. As multiple GOP senators pointed out, the timing of the leak of Bolton’s memo to the New York Times is suspicious, at best. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has thus far indicated that his majority does not yet have the votes to block witness testimony. Some Republicans have floated the idea of allowing Bolton to testify if the Democrats will concede former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden or Rep. Adam Schiff (R-CA). Democrats insist that the Bidens are completely vindicated, and have no place in this impeachment trial.

It appears that the game may be shifting. Senate Republicans are optimistic that witnesses will be blocked. Republicans in the upper chamber met with Leader McConnell this morning. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) is optimistic about GOP unity, per The Hill:

“If I had to guess, no witnesses...We’ll be in a place where I think everyone is going to have their mind made up and I believe that we’ll be able to move to a verdict, and the witness question will be clear at that point,” Braun said.

Leader McConnell can have up to four Republicans vote for witnesses; in the event of a tie, Chief Justice Roberts will cast his vote. Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have been supportive of additional witness testimony; Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) appears to be a wildcard. 

With witnesses off of the table, this impeachment trial could be over as early as Friday.