The United States Senate rejects witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial, clearing the way for acquittal

WASHINGTON: On Friday he voted against calling witnesses and collecting new evidence in the president Donald Trump The trial trial, paving the way for Trump's almost certain acquittal next week.

By a 51-49 vote, the Republican-controlled Senate halted the impulse of the Democrats to hear testimony from witnesses such as the former national security adviser, who is believed to have first-hand knowledge of Trump's efforts to pressure to Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Those actions led the House of Representatives controlled by Democrats to formally accuse Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in December, making Trump the third president in US history to be accused.

He denies acting badly and has accused the Democrats of an attempted coup.

The Senate approved in a party line vote a schedule for the rest of the trial that requires a final vote on the political trial charges at 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) on Wednesday.

Closing arguments will begin at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) on Monday, with four hours divided between the prosecution and the defense. That will give time to the four Democratic senators who are running to be the presidential candidates of their party to arrive in Iowa for the first nomination contest that night.

Between the final arguments and the final vote, the senators will have the opportunity to give speeches on the floor of the Senate, but the trial will not be formally in session. Trump will deliver his speech on the state of the Union in a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.

It is almost certain that the Senate will acquit Trump from the charges, since a two-thirds majority of the Senate is required to dismiss Trump and none of the 53 Republicans in the chamber has indicated that he will vote to convict.

Trump seeks re-election in the November 3 vote. Biden is one of the main contenders for the Democratic nomination to face him.

In Friday's vote on witnesses, only two Republicans, Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, and Susan Collins, who faces a hard re-election in November in her home state of Maine, broke up with her party and voted with the Democrats .

The United States will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not fulfill its responsibilities, where the Senate turned away from the truth and joined a mock trial, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters.

After the first vote to call witnesses, Schumer offered more amendments to call witnesses and get more evidence, but the Senate rejected them all. Romney and Collins were again the only Republicans who supported calling Bolton as a witness.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham He said the trial should end as soon as possible. The cake is baked and we just have to move as soon as possible to leave it behind, he told reporters.

New details

Friday’s vote on witnesses came hours after the New York Times reported new details of an unpublished manuscript of a book written by Bolton in which the former adviser said Trump directed him in May to assist in a pressure campaign for Ukraine to continue investigations that would benefit Trump politically.

Bolton wrote that Trump told him to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to make sure Zelenskiy would meet with Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a key player in the campaign, the Times reported.

Robert Costello, Giuliani's lawyer, called the Times report categorically false. Bolton's lawyer and spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

The Times previously reported that Bolton, contradicting Trump's version of events, wrote that the president told him he wanted to freeze $ 391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until Kiev pursued the investigations of Democrats, including Biden and his son.

The Democrats had said the news illustrated the need for the Senate to put Bolton under oath.

But Republicans said they had heard enough. Some said they did not believe Trump had done anything wrong, while Senators Lamar Alexander and Rob Portman said their actions were wrong, but that they did not amount to impeccable behavior. Senator Marco Rubio said the impeachment would be too divisive for the country, even if a president participated in a clearly impenetrable activity.

Lisa Murkowski, a moderate Republican that Democrats hoped to vote with them to extend the trial, said the case against Trump was rushed and flawed. She told reporters that she was angry everywhere and that the possibility of a tied vote on witnesses weighed heavily on her decision.

After the Senate postponed on Friday, he said he knew how he would vote the charges, but that he would not reveal it yet.

Will I share it with you tonight? I've had a lot of drama today, I'm just going to relax. How is that? It was fair? Murkowski told reporters.