By Fox News. Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander announced late Thursday night that he would not support additional witnesses in President Trump’s “shallow, hurried and wholly partisan” impeachment trial, seemingly ending Democrats’ hopes of hearing testimony from former National Security Advisor John Bolton and paving the way for the president’s imminent acquittal as soon as Friday night.
Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the chamber, and can afford up to three defections when the Senate considers whether to call additional witnesses on Friday. In the event of a 50-50 tie, by rule, the vote on witnesses would fail in the Senate. Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts is likely to abstain rather than assert his debatable power to cast a tie-breaking vote.
GOP Sen. Susan Collin has announced she wants to hear from a “limited” number of additional witnesses; Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney has strongly signaled he wants to hear from Bolton; and Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski told Fox News late Thursday she was still weighing the issue and would decide in the morning. (“I’m gonna go back to my office and put some eyedrops in so I can keep readig. That’s gonna be my job,” Murkowski told Fox News, adding that she anticipates a “long night.”)
BUT Alexander, in his dramatic late-night statement that came at the close of the Senate’s session Thursday, torpedoed Democrats’ hopes that he would be the fourth Republican defector they need. Alexander began by flat-out dismissing Democrats’ “obstruction of Congress” article of impeachment as “frivolous” given the president’s long-established principle of executive privilege. (Read more from “Key Swing-Vote Comes out Against Witnesses, Paving Way for Imminent Trump Acquittal” HERE)
Roberts Visibly Reacts to Warren’s Impeachment Question About His ‘Legitimacy’ Without Trial Witnesses
By Fox News. Chief Justice John Roberts seemed visibly irritated when Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., formally asked a question during President Trump’s impeachment trial Thursday that referenced him and questioned the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and Constitution in relation to the proceedings.
In accordance with Senate rules, the chief justice of the United States must read aloud the questions posed by senators to the impeachment managers and the president’s counsel. Roberts formally recognized Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate, who then submitted her written question to a clerk.
Roberts read her question from the card — which referenced him.
“At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?” Roberts read from the card handed to him by the clerk.
When he finished reading the question — explicitly posed to the House Impeachment managers — Roberts pursed his lips and shot a chagrined look.
(Read more from “Roberts Visibly Reacts to Warren’s Impeachment Question About His ‘Legitimacy’ Without Trial Witnesses” HERE)
Trump Impeachment Trial: Question Period Ends as GOP Swing Votes Emerge
By ABC News. Senators have returned Thursday for a second day of questions to House managers and President Donald Trump’s legal team in his impeachment trial as attempts by Democrats to rally votes for new witnesses appear to have stalled. . .
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a GOP senator who could vote in favor of calling witnesses, has just explicitly asked the president’s legal counsel why the senate should not call Bolton as a witness in this trial.
“You explain that Ambassador [Gordon] Sondland and Sen. [Ron] Johnson both said the president explicitly denied that he was looking for a quid pro quo with Ukraine,” Murkowski’s question read. “The reporting on Ambassador [John] Bolton’s book suggests the president told Bolton both directly and indirectly that the aid would not be released until Ukraine announced the investigations the president desired. This dispute about material facts weighs in favor of calling additional witnesses with direct knowledge. Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?”
White House counsel Pat Philbin’s response focused largely on the role that he argued the Senate ought to play in in an impeachment.
“I think the primary consideration here is understand that the House could have pursued Ambassador Bolton,” Philbin said, arguing that the House chose not to subpoena Bolton. (Read more from “Trump Impeachment Trial: Question Period Ends as GOP Swing Votes Emerge” HERE)