DemDaily: Senate Silences Witnesses. Trial Days Eight & Nine

February 1, 2020

The last two days saw the end of the question and answer phase and the end of Democrats' hope for calling witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump.

On Friday evening, after day-long deliberations, the Senate voted 51 to 49 to reject witnesses, an unprecedented action in the history of our country's 62 impeachment proceedings involving Presidents, Federal Judges, Supreme Court Justices and Cabinet members.

(MSNBC video/DemList)

Two Republicans, Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Mitt Romney (UT) voted with the Democrats. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) had originally given Democrats hope earlier in the week that they might have the four votes needed to win the motion, but both voted against the resolution, dooming its fate.

Outside the Senate chamber, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, "To not allow a witness, a document, no witnesses, no documents in an impeachment trial is a perfidy. It's a grand tragedy, one of the worst tragedies that the Senate has ever overcome. America will remember this day, unfortunately, when the senate did not live up to its responsibilities, when the Senate turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial."

According to a January 22 - 27, 2020 Quinnipiac University poll, 75% of registered voters believed
 that witnesses should be allowed to testify in the impeachment trial. Support for witness testimony includes 49% of Republicans, 95% of Democrats, and 75% of independents.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also successfully blocked four other proposed amendments regarding witnesses and documents, which the Senate voted to table, or dismiss, largely along party lines. Collins and Romney joined Democrats on the two of the amendments related to calling John Bolton.

Next Up
Monday begins the final phase of thetrial, with closing arguments beginning at 11:00am, for four hours equally divided between the House Managers and the President's defense team. Deliberations will follow through Tuesday when Senators have the opportunity to deliver individual speeches on the floor.

President Trump will deliver the annual State of the Union address Tuesday night at 9:00pm ET, the night before the Senate is scheduled to vote on the Articles of Impeachment.

A buoyant Mitch McConnell leaves the floor after the vote on witnesses (Applewhite/AP)

The vote will take place on Wednesday, February 5th, at 4:00pm when the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to acquit Donald Trump on the charges of Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress.

The only remaining drama is whether certain moderate Democrats in red states will vote with Republicans, including Doug Jones (AL), Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ).

Like endangered Republicans in blue or battleground states, their vote could impact their reelections in November, and, potentially, control of the US Senate.

In addition to Collins, GOP Senators Tom Tillis (NC), Cory Gardner (CO) and Martha McSally (AZ) are top targets for flipping.

DemList will keep you informed.


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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Politico, The Hill, Wikipedia

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