But Bolton still managed to find his way into Friday’s news. Trump denied a new allegation from Bolton’s unpublished manuscript that he coordinated with staffers earlier than previously known to pressure Ukraine to investigate his rivals.
What’s happening Monday?
The Senate is taking a much-needed break over the weekend. The trial will resume on Monday, with closing arguments scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and last four hours.
Senators will then have until Wednesday’s votes to offer speeches on the trial.
Why four key Republicans split — and the witness vote tanked
When Lamar Alexander and Lisa Murkowski met privately in his third-floor Capitol hideaway on Thursday night, Alexander broke the news: He was going to vote against bringing in new witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
The Tennessee Republican explained the rationale to his Alaska colleague: That the House managers had proven their case against the president but that it still wasn’t impeachable conduct and therefore more information was unnecessary, according to a person familiar with the exchange. But Alexander did not lobby Murkowski to join him.
Alexander also forwarded his statement announcing his decision to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who would soon send her own press release in favor of hearing from witnesses, a position shared by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
The four Republican senators have been the crucial swing votes to help shape Trump’s trial, and they’ve been in constant communication for weeks. They banded together to devise holding the vote on witnesses in the first place, a deal that helped seal unanimous GOP support for the rules of the impeachment trial. And they were texting and calling each other with increasing regularity as Trump’s trial began in earnest. Read the full story. — Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine
Romney not welcome at CPAC after impeachment witness vote
Sen. Mitt Romney will not be invited to this year’s CPAC, the conservative conference’s host chair announced Friday in the aftermath of senators voting not to hear additional witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
“BREAKING: The “extreme conservative” and Junior Senator from the great state of Utah, @SenatorRomney is formally NOT invited to #CPAC2020,” tweeted Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the conference.
The former party nominee and Sen. Susan Collins were the only Republicans to side with Democrats in voting to hear witnesses in the impeachment trial. Read the full story. — Matthew Choi
John Roberts won’t break a tie vote
Chief Justice John Roberts asserted Friday night that he would not be the deciding vote and break a tie in a Senate impeachment trial.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked Roberts Friday evening if he was aware that Chief Justice Salmon Chase voted during President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial in 1868. Roberts responded he was aware, but noted that one vote had to do with a motion to adjourn and another to adjourn deliberations.
“I do not consider those episodes 150 years ago to break ties,” Roberts said.
The chief justice added that it would be “inappropriate” for him to weigh in as “an unelected official from a different branch of government to change that result so that the motion would succeed.”
Roberts’ authority to break a tie was the source of much speculation this week, when it seemed as though a vote on witnesses could split the Senate 50-50. Ultimately, the witness vote failed 51-49. — Marianne LeVine
Senate will vote Wednesday on Trump verdict in impeachment trial
The Senate impeachment trial for Donald Trump will drag into next week, with a vote set for Wednesday afternoon on two articles of impeachment against the president, according to a bipartisan resolution negotiated by party leaders.
The 4 p.m. vote will conclude a 20-day proceeding, only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. The Senate is virtually certain to acquit Trump, and even some Democrats may oppose an obstruction of Congress article approved by the House.
Closing arguments in the case will begin Monday at 11 a.m. and will last four hours. Senators will then have until Wednesday’s vote to offer speeches on the trial. Read the full story. — John Bresnahan, Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine
Trump White House split over best timing for impeachment acquittal
President Donald Trump’s victory lap will have to wait.
The Senate impeachment trial potentially continuing into the middle of next week means it could bump up against both the Iowa caucuses and the president’s third State of the Union address. The collision is creating a messaging challenge for Trump, who is eager to milk the expected acquittal for everything he can.
Lawmakers and aides opened Friday expecting the impeachment trial could be wrapped up late Friday night or early Saturday morning once it became clear Democrats did not have enough votes to call witnesses to the trial.
Now, senior administration officials anticipate the trial will wrap up around the same time Trump delivers his State of the Union, creating a split-screen moment of a highly partisan impeachment trial against the president’s annual speech to the nation during which he had originally planned to pivot to his reelection message. Read the full story. — Nancy Cook and Gabby Orr
Republicans defeat Democratic bid to hear witnesses in Trump trial
The Senate on Friday night narrowly rejected a motion to call new witnesses in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, paving the way for a final vote to acquit the president by next week.
In a 51-49 vote, the Senate defeated a push by Democrats to depose former national security adviser John Bolton and other witnesses on their knowledge of the Ukraine scandal that led to Trump’s impeachment.
Two Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah — joined all 47 Senate Democrats in voting for the motion. Two potential GOP swing votes, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, stuck with their party, ensuring Democrats were defeated.
The vote represented a major victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Trump, both of whom have been calling for Republicans to reject the motion and move toward ending the trial. Read the full story. — Kyle Cheney, John Bresnahan, and Andrew Desiderio
Schumer: No agreement with McConnell to end trial
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he hasn’t reached an agreement with his Republican counterpart to end the impeachment trial, quickly shooting down reports that the two leaders negotiated a deal to set the terms to conclude the trial.
“There is no agreement between Leader McConnell and myself,” he said on Friday.
He spoke after news broke that President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial could extend into next week.
“We have stood for one thing — we do not want this rushed through, we do not want it in the dark of night,” Schumer continues. “Members have an obligation to tell the American people and to tell the people of their states why they are voting.”
The unknowns surrounding the trial timeline created a sense of uncertainty in Washington, where many believed the Senate would vote late Friday night on Trump’s acquittal. — Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris
Schiff warns GOP senators: ‘The facts will come out’
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff delivered a warning to Republican senators on Friday: “The facts will come out.”
In his final plea to the Senate to vote for witnesses, Schiff cautioned that more damning information about President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign against Ukraine could surface after the chamber ends its trial. And he urged Republicans not to wait “until it is too late.”
“No matter what you decide to do here, whether you decide to hear witnesses and relevant testimony, the facts will come out in the end.” the California Democrat said in a passionate speech on the floor.
“Even over the course of this trial we have seen so many additional facts come to light,” Schiff said. “The facts will come out.”
Schiff’s comments are a clear reference to the forthcoming book by former national security adviser John Bolton, in which he describes himself as a first-person witness to Trump’s conversations about conditioning foreign aid into investigations into his political rival, Joe Biden.
Just two Republican senators, however, have said they would agree to join Democrats in subpoenaing Bolton — meaning the Senate’s vote for more witnesses later on Friday is almost certain to fail.
That calculation among GOP senators has not appeared to change, even after the New York Times published another excerpt from Bolton’s manuscript on Friday afternoon – a revelation that Democrats seized on as proof that more would come out.
“What happened today won’t be the only, or even the most significant leak to come out,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “That’s just how it is.”
Schiff also cautioned there are more documents related to Trump’s withholding of aid to Ukraine that are currently held up in court or by the Freedom of Information Act. He also pointed out that “witnesses will tell their stories in future congressional hearings.”
House Democrats have not said whether they will attempt to subpoena Bolton on their own, if the Senate chooses not to summon him. — Sarah Ferris
Trump denies telling Bolton to aid Ukraine scheme
President Donald Trump is denying a new allegation that he coordinated with his top aides earlier than previously known on an effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.
The New York Times reported earlier Friday that former national security adviser John Bolton claims in his forthcoming book that Trump directed him to ensure that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would meet with Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney. Bolton reportedly indicated that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House counsel Pat Cipollone also attended the early-May 2019 meeting in the Oval Office. Read the full story. — Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney
Murkowski to vote against calling witnesses in impeachment trial
Sen. Lisa Murkowski will not support hearing from new witnesses, essentially ensuring the vote fails on the Senate floor this afternoon.
The decision by a key swing vote will likely absolve Chief Justice John Roberts from having to decide whether to break a tie. Read the full story. – Kyle Cheney, John Bresnahan, Andrew Desiderio
Nadler to miss ‘conclusion’ of Trump’s trial to be with wife
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), a House impeachment manager, announced Friday that he would not attend the “conclusion” of President Donald Trump’s Senate trial, tweeting that his wife’s ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer demanded his presence back home in New York.
“I am sorry to not be able to stay in Washington for the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial but I need to be home with my wife at this time,” Nadler wrote online. “We have many decisions to make as a family. I have every faith in my colleagues and hope the Senate will do what is right.”
Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, previously missed part of Trump’s trial on Monday, when he was in New York to meet with his wife’s doctors, “determine a path forward, and begin her treatment,” he said in a statement.
The six other House Democrats prosecuting the case against the president, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), are still slated to appear for the remainder of the Senate’s proceedings. — Quint Forgey
Klobuchar on trial going into next week: ‘Bring it on’
Presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar knows President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial may extend into next week during Monday’s Iowa caucuses. And her response?
“Bring it on.”
“My view is the people of Iowa and beyond will understand. I’m in the arena, I have a job to do,” Klobuchar (D-Minn.) says of the possibility that she’ll be in Washington during next week’s Iowa caucus.
“There’s even rumors that the proposed schedule means that we will be here on Monday, the day of the Iowa caucuses. And I just say bring it on because I just have faith in the people of the country, they actually want someone with the experience of standing up.” — Heather Caygle
Schumer: Lamar Alexander acknowledged Trump acted inappropriately
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) highlighted Friday that GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander, who announced Thursday night he wouldn’t support a call for witnesses, acknowledged that President Donald Trump acted inappropriately by asking Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.
Schumer said at a press conference that while the Tennessee Republican came to the “wrong conclusion” about hearing more evidence, the Alexander’s statement acknowledged that the House impeachments managers’ allegations were correct.
Alexander “said out loud what I think most Senate Republicans believe in private — that yes, the president did withhold military assistance to try to get Ukraine to help him in his election, and yes the president did interfere with congressional investigations of that misconduct,” Schumer said. “Alexander rejected 90 percent of the argument of the president’s counsel that the president did nothing wrong.”
In a statement, Alexander said there was no need to hear additional evidence for “to prove something that has already been proven.” But he also argued that Trump’s actions did not amount to an impeachable offense and that it should be up to the voters to decide whether to keep him in office in November. — Marianne LeVine
Trump’s impeachment trial could extend into next week
The Senate impeachment trial for President Donald Trump could drag into next week, even as GOP leaders appear to have the votes needed to prevent additional witnesses and testimony from being offered, according to Republican senators and aides.
Republican sources suggest the trial could extend into Wednesday of next week. The House Democratic managers and the White House want more time for closing arguments, and there are scheduling concerns due to the Iowa caucuses on Monday and Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Read the full story. Read the full story. — John Bresnahan, Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine
Durbin, Cramer respect Alexander’s decision
While both Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) disagree with aspects of Sen. Lamar Alexander’s announcement that he won’t vote for witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial — Durbin saying he “vehemently disagrees,” and Cramer calling Alexander’s view “harsh” — both lawmakers reached the same conclusion about the Tennessee Republican.
They respect him, and his decision.
Cramer called Trump’s actions “unartful,” but said the president didn’t do anything wrong. He said Alexander’s decision represents the “diversity of opinion” among senators that can produce the same conclusion.
“I think that’s an honest answer from (Alexander),” Cramer said. “I think he drew a conclusion, same conclusion I’m going to draw, but I probably don’t share that harsh a view.” Alexander said in his statement that it was “inappropriate” for Trump to pressure a foreign country to investigate his rival, Joe Biden.
Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, “vehemently” disagreed with Alexander’s decision to not call on witnesses, but said he can still work alongside and respect him.
“I have worked with Lamar over the years,” Durbin said. “I really have a high regard for him as a person. So, even though I’m sorry about this decision, I am going to continue in the closing months of his tenure to do my best to work with him.” — Myah Ward
Pompeo, in Ukraine, denies charges central to Trump’s impeachment trial
KYIV, Ukraine — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed Friday that the Trump administration would not waver in its support for Ukraine and denied charges at the heart of the President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
Pompeo met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday and denied allegations that vital military aid and a White House visit were or continue to be conditioned on a probe into former Vice President Joe Biden’s family.
“It’s just simply not the case. We will find the right time, we will find the appropriate opportunity (for the visit),” Pompeo said at a press conference after meeting with Zelensky. Read the full story. — AP
Trump team plans a non-impeachment State of the Union
On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump will relaunch his 2020 campaign.
Likely clear of imminent threats to his presidency, the president plans to use his annual State of the Union speech as a fresh start for his re-election bid, according to seven senior administration officials and White House allies who spoke to POLITICO about the president’s upcoming address.
Despite facing a captive audience that includes Democrats who have spent the last few months trying to remove Trump from office, the president is resolved to not even mention impeachment, two of those officials said. Read the full story. — Gabby Orr