Senators Sound Increasingly Sure We Are Bound For A Witness-Less Trial

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), C, walks to his office at the U.S. Capitol as the Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump continues on January 30,... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), C, walks to his office at the U.S. Capitol as the Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump continues on January 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. On Thursday, Senators continue asking questions for the House impeachment managers and the president's defense team. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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January 30, 2020 11:22 a.m.

A day before Friday’s vote, senators on both sides are sounding fairly confident that this will be the first witness-less impeachment trial in U.S. history.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said Thursday on CNN that he does not expect witnesses to be part of the proceedings.

“What I see is a party that is bound and determined to get this behind them,” he said, adding that he’s heard Trump wants his acquittal before the Super Bowl.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the minority whip, is already looking ahead to the end of the trial.

“It’s within the power of Mitch McConnell to move this very quickly and dismiss it without a single witness,” Durbin said Thursday on MSNBC. “If he is able to just hold this to three or fewer Republicans voting he may be inclined to say ‘fine, let’s put an end to the whole thing. We’re tired of answering questions why this isn’t a real trial, why there’s no evidence, why there are no witnesses, and we’ve had enough pain. We’ve got to get this over for the Super Bowl.'”

Republicans seem equally sure, though less dejected.

Per the Hill, after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had a meeting Wednesday morning, there was no talk of witnesses at the GOP lunch.

“We’re going to get it done by Friday, hopefully,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said. He added that talk during the lunch meeting was about “moving forward.”

“If I had to guess, no witnesses,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said. “We’ll be in a place where I think everyone is going to have their mind made up and I believe that we’ll be able to move to a verdict, and the witness question will be clear at that point.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) did tell reporters though that there are “53 votes to call Hunter Biden” if senators do opt to call witnesses.

It seems possible that Republicans will lose a couple members on the witness vote — Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME), most likely — but hold the line enough to still block the motion.

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