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Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) speaks with reporters as he leaves the Capitol. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Senate is on track to swiftly acquit President Trump after Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Thursday night that he will vote against calling for additional witnesses.

Why it matters: Alexander's vote is crucial to whether the impeachment trial extends beyond this weekend, and his decision to stick with his party all but guarantees that Friday's witness vote will fail.

Background: Alexander has been a true wildcard during the Senate trial. He's a Tennessee Republican who has gone against Trump in the past, and is retiring at the end of his term, freeing him to make this decision without worrying about the political ramifications of such a vote.

  • However, he's extremely close with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been working diligently behind the scenes to persuade his caucus to sink the witness vote.
  • Alexander also has his legacy to worry about, which will now be shaped in part by this decision.

What he's saying:

"I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but 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."

The big picture: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced Thursday night that she will vote in favor of witnesses in the impeachment trial, making her the first GOP senator to definitively say that she will do so.

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski remains undecided: “I am going to go reflect on what I have heard, re-read my notes and decide whether I need to hear more,” she told reporters.
  • Sen. Mitt Romney is expected to vote to call witnesses.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse under scrutiny for elite club affiliations

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in February. Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Image

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement Wednesday that he is a member of an exclusive Rhode Island sailing club that lacks diversity.

Why it matters: Whitehouse has repeatedly spoken out against systemic racism and come under scrutiny this week for his family's affiliation with elite clubs. This is the second such club accused of lacking diversity that the senator has been linked to in recent days

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Border Democrats want migrants vaccinated

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.

Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.

3 hours ago - World

State Dept. fears Chinese threats to labor auditors

A space for media is designated by Chinese authorities near a mosque in the Xinjiang region of China. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department is concerned organizations performing supply-chain audits in China are coming under pressure from Chinese authorities.

Why it matters: U.S. law prohibits importing products made through forced labor, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to verify whether products from China are tainted.