Senate rejects more witnesses for Trump impeachment trial

Associated Press

Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s vote was critical in defeating the motion on Friday.

President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Friday appeared on track for a speedy conclusion, following the Senate’s rejection of calling for more witnesses and documents.

A motion to call witnesses failed on a 51-49 vote, with Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah joining Democrats. Earlier Friday, GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she would vote against the motion, all but ensuring it would fail.

It remained unclear when separate votes would come on the two articles of impeachment against Trump, but the trial could wrap up as early as Friday evening or Saturday morning. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called a recess following the witness vote. Republican officials were reportedly discussing postponing the final verdict until next week.

Now read: Schumer warns of reckoning for Republican senators who vote against witnesses in impeachment trial.

Democrats say Trump abused his power by withholding aid to Ukraine in an effort to get that country to investigate Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden. They also charge that he obstructed lawmakers’ efforts to investigate the matter.

Trump denies wrongdoing and calls the impeachment effort a hoax. His lawyers began their defense on Saturday by charging that Democrats are trying to keep Trump from being re-elected.

Murkowski made her announcement before the four-hour debate began, saying, “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.”

U.S. stocks

DJIA, -2.09%

  have largely ignored the impeachment drama from Washington, but closed sharply lower Friday on increased worries about the coronavirus epidemic.

See: Dow, Nasdaq drop triple digits as coronavirus epidemic worries grow.

The impeachment trial appeared to be heading toward its conclusion as Trump is preparing for his State of the Union address on Tuesday. On Monday, Iowa holds the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, where Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading in polls among Democrats.

Also read: How the stock market has reacted to State of the Union speeches.

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