In the impeachment process against US President Donald Trump, Republicans – who have a majority in the Senate – closed the ranks today and blocked the hearing of new witnesses. However, the final vote on Trump’s guilt will not take place until Wednesday next week. He is expected to be acquitted.
The Democrats hoped to hear new witnesses during the trial, including former security advisor John Bolton. After a vote, however, they received a zero on the petition. The Democrats were able to convince two Republicans – Mitt Romney and Susan Collins – to vote with them and obtained 49 votes in favor, but needed a total of four extra votes to get their question through. This seems to seal the fate of the impeachment process, and the Republicans will soon be able to force a vote on Trump’s deposition so they can acquit the president.
Wednesday final day
It’s likely to happen next Wednesday. That’s what the prominent Republican senators Roy Blunt and John Barrasso say. Tonight only several amendments will be considered, after which the trial will continue on Monday. Wednesday will then be the final vote on Trump’s guilt question. Around four o’clock in the afternoon, two votes will be held that day, one for each indictment. If a majority of the senators acquits Trump at each of the two votes – which is expected to happen – Trump is finally acquitted and he remains president.
Some of the Democrats in the race for the Democratic nomination for the presidency have expressed their dissatisfaction via Twitter that no witnesses will be called at the trial. “The Republicans in the Senate have just abandoned the American people and broken their oath to the Constitution,” can be understood on Elizabeth Warren tweets. According to Bernie Sanders, “Never heard of a trial without witnesses: this is a sad day in the history of the United States.” Amy Klobuchar agrees. “If you don’t have any witnesses, you don’t have a fair trial. The truth will come out.”
The Democratic minority leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, talks about “betrayal” and a “cover-up”. He is explaining that “for Senate Republicans to not allow witnesses or documents in an impeachment trial, it is a cover-up. They didn’t live up to their responsibilities to the country. If Pres. Trump is acquitted with no documents and no witnesses. It will be meaningless — the result of a sham trial.”
Hillary Clinton has also lashed out hard at Republican senators who do not want to hear witnesses in the deposition trial against President Donald Trump. In doing so, they “put the interests of a president above the national interest,” Clinton said. “The only remedy for us Democrats is to vote Trump and the Republicans out in November,” said Clinton, who lost the presidential election to Trump in 2016.
The New York Times newspaper reported today that Bolton writes in the manuscript for his new book that Trump asked him at a meeting in May to organize a meeting between Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Volodimir Zelenski, the president of Ukraine so that they could discuss Trump’s desired investigation into the Democrats. So his testimony is precious to the Democrats. Moreover, Bolton reports in his book that Giuliani himself, but also Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Trump’s lawyer Pat Cippolone – who is now defending him in the impeachment trial – were present at that meeting.
Trump has been charged with abusing power for his political gain and obstruction of Congress. Because of the Republican majority, it is quite likely that Trump will be acquitted, leaving him as president.
Several Republicans, such as Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, and Lamar Alexander, say they believe Trump’s actions were inappropriate, but do not see them as sufficient reason to depose him. “The fact that acts meet a standard of deposition does not mean that it is in a country’s interest to depose a president,” Rubio said in a statement. “Does anyone doubt that at least half of the country would consider his deposition to be illegitimate – nothing less than a coup d’état? It’s hard to imagine a list that Putin could undertake to undermine confidence in our democracy more than his deposition.”