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The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump continued Friday with debate and the vote on whether additional witnesses should testify.

Click here to watch day 11 of the impeachment trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate rejected the idea of witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial late Friday, all but ensuring his eventual acquittal. But senators considered pushing off final voting on his fate to next week.

The vote on allowing new witnesses was defeated 51-49 on a near party-line vote.

Despite the Democrats singular focus on hearing new testimony, the Republican majority brushed past those demands to make this the first Senate impeachment trial without witnesses. Even new revelations Friday from former national security adviser John Bolton did not sway GOP senators, who said they’d heard enough.

That means the eventual outcome for Trump would be an acquittal “in name only,” said Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a House prosecutor, during final debate. Some called it a cover-up.

The impeachment of the president now lands squarely in an election year before a divided nation. Caucus voting begins Monday in Iowa, and Trump gives his State of the Union address the next night.

Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges the he abused power and obstructed Congress like no other president has done as he tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, and then blocked the congressional probe of his actions.

The Democrats had badly wanted testimony from John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser whose forthcoming book links Trump directly to the charges. But Bolton won’t be summoned, and none of this appeared to affect the trial’s expected outcome.

In an unpublished manuscript, Bolton writes that the president asked him during an Oval Office meeting in early May to bolster his effort to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats, according to a person who read the passage and told The Associated Press. The person, who was not authorized to disclose contents of the book, spoke only on condition of anonymity.

In the meeting, Bolton said the president asked him to call new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and persuade him to meet with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was planning to go to Ukraine to coax the Ukrainians to investigate the president’s political rivals. Bolton writes that he never made the call to Zelenskiy after the meeting, which included acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

The revelation adds more detail to allegations of when and how Trump first sought to influence Ukraine to aid investigations of his rivals that are central to the abuse of power charge in the first article of impeachment.

The story was first reported Friday by The New York Times.

Trump issued a quick denial.

“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 NYC, to meet with President Zelenskiy,” Trump said. “That meeting never happened.”

Key Republican senators said even if Trump committed the offenses as charged by the House, they are not impeachable and the partisan proceedings must end.

“I didn’t need any more evidence because I thought it was proved that the president did what he was charged with doing,” retiring GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, a key hold out, told reporters Friday at the Capitol. “But that didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense.”

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she, too, would oppose more testimony in the charged partisan atmosphere, having “come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate.” She said, “The Congress has failed.”

Eager for a conclusion, Trump’s allies nevertheless suggesting the shift in timing to extend the proceedings into next week and it shows the significance of the moment for senators in casting votes in only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

The situation remained fluid, but senators have indicated they want more time to publicly debate the charges and air their positions on the coming vote, according to a Republican familiar with the proposal but unauthorized to discuss it. The person was granted anonymity.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the offer to Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, the person said. Senators were considering it while the proceedings were underway on the Senate floor. Schumer had not yet agreed to it.

Under the proposal, the Senate would resume Monday for final arguments, with time Monday and Tuesday for senators to speak. The final voting would be Wednesday.

To bring the trial toward a conclusion, Trump’s attorneys argued the House had already heard from 17 witnesses and presented its 28,578-page report to the Senate. They warned against prolonging it even further after House impeached Trump largely along party lines after less than thee months of formal proceedings making it the quickest, most partisan presidential impeachment in U.S. history.

Some senators pointed to the importance of the moment.

“What do you want your place in history to be?” asked one of the House managers, Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., a former Army Ranger.

Trump is almost assured of eventual acquittal with the Senate nowhere near the 67 votes needed for conviction and removal.

To hear more witnesses, it would take four Republicans to break with the 53-seat majority and join with all Democrats in demanding more testimony.

But that effort tell short. Just two Republicans, Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine are expected to join most Democrats in voting to seek more witnesses and documents.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in the rare role presiding over the impeachment trial, could break a tie, but that seems unlikely.

Murkowski noted in announcing her decision that she did not want to drag the chief justice into the partisan fray.

Protesters stood outside the Capitol as senators arrived on Friday, bu few visitors have been watching from the Senate galleries.

Bolton’s forthcoming book contends he personally heard Trump say he wanted military aid withheld from Ukraine until it agreed to investigate the Bidens. Trump denies saying such a thing.

The White House has blocked its officials from testifying in the proceedings and objected that there are “significant amounts of classified information” in Bolton’s manuscript. Bolton resigned last September — Trump says he was fired — and he and his attorney have insisted the book does not contain any classified information.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has voted to reject efforts to call more witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, pushing one step closer to an acquittal vote.

The Senate is considering pushing off final acquittal in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial until next week under a proposal being negotiated Friday by party leaders.

The situation remained fluid, but senators have indicated they want more time to publicly debate the charges and air their positions on the coming vote, according to a Republican familiar with the proposal but unauthorized to discuss it. The person was granted anonymity.

The shift in timing ahead of Trump’s all but certain acquittal shows the significance of the moment to senators in voting that would bring to a close the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the offer to Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, the person said. Senators were considering it while the proceedings were underway on the Senate floor. Schumer had not yet agreed to it.

Trump still appeared headed for acquittal as senators prepared on Friday to reject efforts to call more witnesses and moved to start bringing the trial to a close.

Under the proposal, the vote on witnesses would still occur late Friday. But the Senate would resume Monday for final arguments, with time Monday and Tuesday for senators to speak. The final voting would be Wednesday.

The impeachment of the president is playing out in an election year before a divided nation. Democratic caucus voting begins Monday in Iowa, and Trump gives his State of the Union address the next night.

Eager for a conclusion, the president and his allies in the Republican majority are brushing past new revelations from John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, as well as historic norms that could make this the first Senate impeachment trial without witnesses.

In an unpublished manuscript, Bolton writes that the president asked him during an Oval Office meeting in early May to bolster his effort to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats, according to a person who read the passage and told The Associated Press. The person, who was not authorized to disclose contents of the book, spoke only on condition of anonymity.

In the meeting, Bolton said the president asked him to call new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and persuade him to meet with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was planning to go to Ukraine to coax the Ukrainians to investigate the president’s political rivals. Bolton writes that he never made the call to Zelenskiy after the meeting, which included acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. The revelation adds more detail to allegations of when and how Trump first sought to influence Ukraine to aid investigations of his rivals.

The story was first reported Friday by The New York Times.

Trump issued a quick denial.

“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 NYC, to meet with President Zelenskiy,” Trump said. “That meeting never happened.”

At the trial, Democrats contended that without witnesses the final outcome wouldn’t be a true acquittal for Trump but a cover-up.

“Is this a fair trial?” asked Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a House impeachment manager. “These proceedings will be a trial in name only.”

Some senators pointed to the importance of the moment.

“What do you want your place in history to be?” asked one of the House managers, Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., a former Army Ranger.

Republicans warned that the House had already heard from 17 witnesses and presented its 28,578-page report to the Senate. The House impeached Trump largely along party lines after less than thee months of formal proceedings making it the quickest, most partisan presidential impeachment in U.S. history, they said. The trial has gone for two weeks, and they argued against prolonging it.

Trump was impeached by the House last month on two charges, first that he abused his power like no other president, jeopardizing Ukraine and U.S.-Ukraine relations. Democrats say Trump asked the vulnerable ally to investigate Joe Biden and debunked theories of 2016 election interference, withholding American security aid to the country as it battled Russia at its border. The second article of impeachment says Trump then obstructed the House probe in a way that threatened the nation’s three-branch system of checks and balances.

Despite the Democrats’ singular, sometimes-passionate focus on calling witnesses, the numbers are now falling short. It would take four Republicans to break with the 53-seat majority and join with all Democrats to demand more testimony.

GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, said the Democrats had proved their case, that Trump abused power and obstructed Congress, but he did not think Trump’s actions rose to the impeachable level.

“I didn’t need any more evidence because I thought it was proved that the president did what he was charged with doing,” Alexander told reporters. “But that didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense.”

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she, too, would oppose more testimony, having “come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate.” She said, “The Congress has failed.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, in the rare role presiding over the impeachment trial, could break a tie, but that seems unlikely.

Murkowski noted in announcing her decision that she did not want to drag the chief justice into the partisan fray.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said late Thursday she would vote to allow witnesses in the impeachment trial, briefly raising Democrats’ hopes for a breakthrough.

Protesters stood outside the Capitol as senators arrived on Friday, but few visitors have been watching from the Senate galleries.

Bolton’s forthcoming book contends he personally heard Trump say he wanted military aid withheld from Ukraine until it agreed to investigate the Bidens. Trump denies saying such a thing.

The White House has blocked its officials from testifying in the proceedings and objected that there are “significant amounts of classified information” in Bolton’s manuscript. Bolton resigned last September — Trump says he was fired — and he and his attorney have insisted the book does not contain any classified information.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump seems headed for acquittal in his impeachment trial after Sen. Lamar Alexander’s decision to stick with fellow Republicans and oppose Democratic efforts to call more witnesses and keep the Senate trial going for weeks or even months.

A vote on witnesses, expected Friday, could lead to an abrupt end and assured acquittal in only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. Trump has been pressing for action in time for his State of the Union address next Tuesday, and that now seems likely.

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Despite the Democrats’ singular, sometimes-passionate focus on calling witnesses after revelations from John Bolton, the former national security adviser, the numbers are now falling short. It would take four Republicans to break with the 53-seat majority and join with all Democrats to demand more testimony.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in the rare role presiding over the impeachment trial, could break a tie, but that seems unlikely.

Alexander said in a statement late Thursday there was “no need for more evidence,” giving the Trump team the likelihood of a Senate vote in its direction. Not that he accepted Trump’s repeated claim of “perfect” dealings with Ukraine.

“II concluded, after nine long days and hearing 200 video clips of witnesses … I didn’t need any more evidence because I thought it was proved that the president did what he was charged with doing,” Alexander told reporters Friday. “But that didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense, so I didn’t I didn’t need any more evidence to make my decision.”

Asked whether Trump deserved reelection in the wake of such wrongdoing, Alexander said, “Everyone will have to make that decision for themselves.”

Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges that he abused his power like no other president, jeopardizing Ukraine and U.S.-Ukraine relations. Democrats say Trump asked the vulnerable ally to investigate Joe Biden and debunked theories of 2016 election interference, withholding American security aid to the country as it battled Russia at its border. The second article of impeachment says Trump then obstructed the House probe in a way that threatened the nation’s three-branch system of checks and balances.

Before Alexander’s statement, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said late Thursday she would vote to allow witnesses in the impeachment trial, briefly raising Democrats’ hopes for a breakthrough.

But Alexander weighed in minutes later.

Collins, Alexander and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska played an outsize role in the final hours of debate with pointed questions. Another Republican senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, has made clear he will vote for witnesses.

Murkowski was expected to announce her decision on Friday, ahead of voting.

Democrats built pressure on senators for testimony, but Trump’s lawyers argued it would take too long as they sped forward, even after Bolton’s potential eyewitness account to Trump’s actions detailed in a forthcoming book brought uncertainty.

Bolton’s forthcoming book contends he personally heard Trump say he wanted military aid withheld from Ukraine until it agreed to investigate the Bidens. Trump denies saying such a thing.

Thursday’s testimony included soaring pleas to the senators-as-jurors who will decide Trump’s fate, to either stop a president who Democrats say has tried to cheat in the upcoming election and will again, or to shut down impeachment proceedings that Republicans insist were never more than a partisan attack.

“Let’s give the country a trial they can be proud of,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead prosecutor for House Democrats. He offered to take just one week for depositions of new witnesses, sparking new discussions.

Trump attorney Eric Herschmann declared the Democrats are only prosecuting the president because they can’t beat him in 2020.

“We trust the American people to decide who should be our president,” Herschmann said. “Enough is Enough. Stop all of this.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was toiling to keep Friday’s vote on schedule even as the trial was unearthing fresh evidence from Bolton’s new book and raising alarms among Democrats and some Republicans about a Trump attorney’s controversial defense.

In a day-after tweet, Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz, complained about the portrayal of his Wednesday night testimony when he said a president is essentially immune from impeachment if he believes his actions to be in the “national interest.”

That idea frustrated some inside the White House, who felt Dershowitz’s claim was unnecessary and inflammatory — irking senators with a controversial claim of vast executive powers. But those officials left it to Dershowitz to back away, wary that any public White House retreat would be viewed poorly by the president.

“I said nothing like that,” the retired professor tweeted Thursday.

His words Wednesday night: “Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected is in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

Asked about it in the trial Thursday, Democrat Schiff, said, “Have we learned nothing in the last half century?”

Schiff drew on the lessons of the Nixon era to warn of a “normalization of lawlessness” in the Trump presidency.

The focus was more narrow as debate closed Thursday night: What would Collins, Alexander and Murkowski do?

Murkowski drew a reaction when she asked simply: “Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?”

Alexander, whose career was influenced by the late Howard Baker — who broke with his party over Richard Nixon — also captured attention when he questioned partisanship in the proceedings thus far.

In response to Alexander and others, Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, a congressional staffer during Watergate and now a House prosecutor, told the senators that the Nixon impeachment also started as a partisan inquiry before a bipartisan consensus emerged. She told them while the House acted on party lines against Trump, the Senate — “the greatest deliberative body on the planet” — has a new opportunity.

Senators dispatched more than 100 queries over two days. The questions came from the parties’ leaders, the senators running for the Democratic nomination against Trump and even bipartisan coalitions from both sides of the aisle.

Trump’s lawyers focused some of their time Thursday refloating allegations against Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine while his father was vice president. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., one of the managers, said the Bidens have little to tell the Senate about Trump’s efforts to “shake down” Ukraine for his campaign.

The White House has blocked its officials from testifying in the proceedings and objected that there is “significant amounts of classified information” in the manuscript. Bolton resigned last September — Trump says he was fired — and he and his attorney have insisted the book does not contain any classified information.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee declared late Thursday night he will oppose calling more witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, all but dashing Democratic efforts for more testimony and pushing the Senate toward an imminent vote to acquit the president.

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A vote on witnesses, expected Friday, could lead to an abrupt end and assured acquittal in only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. Trump was pressing for action in time for his State of the Union address, and that now seems likely. As the Senate adjourned late Thursday, it set the date for Tuesday night’s speech.

Despite the Democrats’ singular, sometimes-passionate focus on witnesses after revelations from John Bolton, the former national security adviser, the numbers are now falling short. It would take four Republicans to break with the 53-seat majority and join with all Democrats to demand more testimony.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in the rare role presiding over the impeachment trial, could break a tie, but that seems unlikely.

Alexander said in a statement there was “no need for more evidence,” giving the Trump team the likelihood of a Senate vote in its direction.

Democrats built pressure on senators for testimony, but Trump’s lawyers argued it would take too long as they sped forward, even after Bolton’s potential eyewitness account to Trump’s actions detailed in a forthcoming book brought uncertainty.

Before Alexander’s statement, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said late Thursday she would vote to allow witnesses in the impeachment trial, briefly raising Democrats’ hopes for a breakthrough.

But Alexander minutes later said that “there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the U.S. Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense.”

Collins, Alexander and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were playing an outsized role in the final hours of debate with pointed questions. Another Republican senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, has made clear he will vote for witnesses.

Murkowksi is expected to announce her decision on Friday, ahead of voting.

Trump was impeached by House last month on charges that he abused his power like no other president, jeopardizing Ukraine and U.S.-Ukraine relations. Democrats say Trump asked he vulnerable ally to investigate Joe Biden and debunked theories of 2016 election interference, temporarily halting American security aid to the country as it battled Russia at its border. The second article of impeachment says Trump then obstructed the House probe in a way that threatened the nation’s three-branch system of checks and balances.

Bolton’s forthcoming book contends he personally heard Trump say he wanted military aid withheld from Ukraine until it agreed to investigate the Bidens. Trump denies saying such a thing.

Thursday’s testimony included soaring pleas to the senators-as-jurors who will decide Trump’s fate, to either stop a president who Democrats say has tried to cheat in the upcoming election and will again, or to shut down impeachment proceedings that Republicans insist were never more than a partisan attack.

“Let’s give the country a trial they can be proud of,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead prosecutor for House Democrats. He offered to take just one week for depositions of new witnesses, sparking new discussions.

Trump attorney Eric Herschmann declared the Democrats are only prosecuting the president because they can’t beat him in 2020.

“We trust the American people to decide who should be our president,” Herschmann said. “Enough is Enough. Stop all of this.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was toiling to keep Friday’s vote on schedule even as the trial was unearthing fresh evidence from Bolton’s new book and raising alarms among Democrats and some Republicans about a Trump attorney’s controversial defense.

In a day-after tweet, Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz, complained about the portrayal of his Wednesday night testimony when he said a president is essentially immune from impeachment if he believes his actions to be in the “national interest.”

That idea frustrated some inside the White House, who felt Dershowitz’s claim was unnecessary and inflammatory — irking senators with a controversial claim of vast executive powers. But those officials left it to Dershowitz to back away, wary that any public White House retreat would be viewed poorly by the president.

“I said nothing like that,” the retired professor tweeted Thursday.

His words Wednesday night: “Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected is in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

The president has argued repeatedly that his dealings with Ukraine have been “perfect.”

Asked about it as one of the first questions Thursday, Democrat Schiff, said, “Have we learned nothing in the last half century?”

Schiff drew on the lessons of the Nixon era to warn of a “normalization of lawlessness” in the Trump presidency.

Republicans Collins, Romney and Murkowski all have expressed interest in hearing from Bolton and the others in the trial and captivated attention during the final hours of questions.

Murkowski drew a reaction when she asked simply: “Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?”

Alexander, who was influenced by the late Howard Baker — who broke with his party over Richard Nixon — also captured attention when he questioned partisanship in the proceedings thus far.

In response to Alexander and others, Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, a congressional staffer during Watergate and now a House prosecutor, told the senators that the Nixon impeachment also started as a partisan inquiry before a bipartisan consensus emerged. She told them while the House acted on party lines against Trump, the Senate — “the greatest deliberative body on the planet″ — has a new opportunity.

Alexander is also close allies with McConnell, and after his question Thursday night he consulted with a key staff aide to the leader. As the senators broke for dinner, Alexander and Murkowski met privately.

Senators dispatched more than 100 queries over two days. The questions came from the parties’ leaders, the senators running for the Democratic nomination against Trump and even bipartisan coalitions from both sides of the aisle.

Trump’s lawyers focused some of their time Thursday refloating allegations against Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine while his father was vice president. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., one of the managers, said the Bidens have little to tell the Senate about Trump’s efforts to “shake down” Ukraine for his campaign.

The White House has blocked its officials from testifying in the proceedings and objected that there is “significant amounts of classified information” in the manuscript. Bolton resigned last September — Trump says he was fired — and he and his attorney have insisted the book does not contain any classified information.





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