Senate Republicans Optimistic About Impeachment Witness Vote

Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell by Gage Skidmore

After a long day of questions from the Senate to prosecution managers and the presidential defense team, Senate Republicans appear to be confident going into Friday’s vote to call witnesses, hoping to wrap up the process on Friday and close the trial. The majority of the questions asked by the Senate were focused on process and motive, such as how the subpoena process was handled, how to handle documents protected by executive privilege, and a disagreement over the facts presented in the case. Democrats have been pushing to call witnesses, in particular John Bolton, a former Trump staffer whose leaked manuscript contained allegations of corruption that are not found on official record.

Most analysts expect that the majority of Senate members have already made up their mind, and that the voting will proceed along party lines. If the witness vote does not pass the Senate on Friday, then Republicans hope to move quickly to a yes-or-no vote on impeachment to wrap things up. If the witness vote does pass, then the trial will proceed into a new process involving the summoning and determination of witnesses to testify before the Senate.

Reaction to the trial has been very polarized, with both Democrats and Republicans flinging insults at each other. Republicans have criticized the impeachment as a partisan witch hunt meant to smear Trump prior to a re-election campaign, and Democrats have been accusing Republicans of a cover up, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggesting Trump’s attorneys be disbarred, and vowing to maintain the president’s guilt even if the Senate acquits Trump in the trial.