Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks back to his office after speaking on the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
With the last day of questions in the Senate’s impeachment trial well underway, speculation is at a fever pitch as to just which way the vote will go Friday on the issue of whether or not to allow more so-called witnesses and alleged “new evidence” to be introduced.
Reports are swirling which suggest Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is where he needs to be in the vote count to defeat any witness/”new evidence” demands from Democrats. And with Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) signaling defeat on the issue, it’s entirely possible this whole thing may be wrapped up by the weekend:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to move quickly to acquit President Donald Trump if a closely watched vote planned for Friday to compel witnesses and documents for Trump’s impeachment trial is defeated, according to Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, who is the number two Senate Republican.
The discussions come as Republican leaders believe they are closing in on the votes necessary to block any witnesses, a move that would bring a swift end to the trial.
“In the end it’s going to be up to the leader, but my view would be at that point you would want to start bringing this thing to a conclusion,” Thune said Wednesday. “I’m not sure there would be any value or any point in keeping it going.”
CNN is also reporting that high-ranking Republican aides say that though nothing is set in stone just yet, they believe “this proceeding will be coming to an end soon”:
GOP leaders started to lay the groundwork internally to bring a rapid end to the trial if the witness vote is defeated on Friday, feeling out just how amenable the conference is to teeing up a vote to essentially close down the proceedings and move to a final vote on the articles of impeachment immediately after the witness vote, two GOP senators tell me. That means two things: they have grown confident in their count on the witness vote and this process could be over quite soon.
That said, Thune also noted that even if McConnell wins on the issue of witnesses, the organizing resolution for the Senate trial would still give Democrats the opportunity to slow down its conclusion by way of introducing procedural motions that could extend proceedings for hours – or even days.
I think it’s unlikely this would happen, however, for two reasons: 1) the writing at that point will be on the wall and 2) the Iowa Democratic caucuses are Monday and the Democratic Senators running for president will want to be there.
(Hat tip: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air)