Game Over: Senate Votes Against Witnesses and Documents

(AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)

On Friday afternoon, the Senate voted against compelling more witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. The final vote was 49-51.


The vote went as expected, with every Democrat voting for more witnesses and documents and every Republican voting against extending the trial, with the exceptions of Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

“The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. 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,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) tweeted in a statement explaining why she would vote against extending the trial.

Without more witnesses and documents, the Senate impeachment trial will conclude next week. Axios reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has planned to delay the vote to convict Trump until Wednesday, after the Iowa caucuses on Monday and Trump’s state of the union address on Tuesday.


Even if the vote does not take place until Wednesday, the trial is effectively over. The Senate will almost certainly vote to acquit Trump, leaving him in office and allowing him to run for re-election.

Immediately after the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) claimed the acquittal “will have no value.” He said the fact that the Senate trial will not include new witnesses or documents is a “perfidy” and a “tragedy.” These remarks echoed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s insistence that Trump cannot be acquitted without any further witnesses and documents.

“A majority of the U.S. Senate has determined that the numerous witnesses and 28,000-plus pages of documents already in evidence are sufficient to judge the House Managers’ accusations and end this impeachment trial,” McConnell said in a statement after the vote. “There is no need for the Senate to re-open the investigation which the House Democratic majority chose to conclude and which the Managers themselves continue to describe as ‘overwhelming’ and ‘beyond any doubt.'”


“Never in Senate history has this body paused an impeachment trial to pursue additional witnesses with unresolved questions of executive privilege that would require protracted litigation,” the Senate majority leader continued. “We have no interest in establishing such a new precedent, particularly for individuals whom the House expressly chose not to pursue.”

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.


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