Jan 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Lisa Murkowski won't vote for witnesses in Trump impeachment trial

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced Friday that she will vote against having additional witnesses testify during President Trump's impeachment trial, saying she doesn't "believe the continuation of the process will change anything."

Where it stands: Murkowski's vote likely closes the door on any additional witnesses during the trial. If four Republicans don't side with the Democrats on witnesses, the proceedings could end as soon as tonight.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) confirmed earlier Friday he is voting in support of additional witnesses.
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) confirmed on Thursday night he will be voting against calling additional witnesses. He and Murkowski met privately prior to Alexander's decision, Axios' Alayna Treene reports. The two had asked a joint question Thursday night in the trial, just before the Q&A session ended, that seemed to capture their ultimate play.

What she's saying:

"Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don't believe the continuation of the process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit, as an institution, Congress has failed. ...
"We are sadly at a low point of division in this country."

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Senate votes not to call witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial

Trump at the White House on Jan. 31. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The Senate voted largely along party lines on Friday to move forward with President Trump's impeachment trial without calling for additional witnesses.

The bottom line: The 49-51 vote was largely expected, after two out of four key Republicans backed away from allowing more witnesses in the trial — Sens. Lamar Alexander and Lisa Murkowski.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Key senator commits to sinking witness vote

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.

Trump impeachment trial recap, day 10: Vote to call witnesses fails

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gives the thumbs up as he leaves the Senate chamber after adjourning for the night during the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 31, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer / Staff/Getty Images

The Senate voted Friday to move forward with Trump's impeachment trial without calling for additional witnesses or evidence, an expected result after two key Republicans decided to vote against it.

The state of play: The Senate voted to reconvene Monday at 11 a.m. ET with a final vote Wednesday at 4 p.m., after the Senate goes on recess for the weekend. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's last-ditch effort to get witnesses — forcing amendments to subpoena John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney and other officials — were shot down.