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TURNAROUND: New Reports Say McConnell Has Now Secured The Votes To Block Witnesses


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Talk about a rollercoaster!

After multiple reports broke yesterday that Mitch McConnell did not have enough votes in the Senate to block witnesses, new reports are just emerging that says that may have changed.

The new reports say the votes have now been secured and may be resolved as soon as Friday!

Look:

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The Hill reports:

It was clear to Senate Republicans on Wednesday after a morning meeting between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that the question of having additional witnesses is settled, and the Senate will vote Friday to wrap up the impeachment trial of President Trump.

There was no discussion of witnesses at a Senate GOP lunch meeting Wednesday, which was held a couple hours after McConnell and Murkowski met for about 20 to 30 minutes.

That was seen as a sign by several senators that Democrats will fail to convince four Republicans to join them in calling for witnesses. Without a vote to hear from witnesses, the trial could end as soon as Friday. 

“We’re going to get it done by Friday, hopefully,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said following the meeting.

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), emerging from the lunch, said, “I think I can say the mood is good.”

Braun expressed confidence that McConnell will be able to keep his conference unified enough to defeat a motion to consider subpoenas for additional witnesses and documents.

“If I had to guess, no witnesses,” he 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,” Braun added.

Murkowski did not attend the lunch.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who has been the most outspoken advocate for calling additional witnesses, declined to comment as he left the lunch.

Romney and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) are both expected to back witnesses. Murkowski has been seen as a third possible vote, though she had not announced any decision.

Instead of discussing the possibility of having former national security adviser John Bolton appear as a witness in the trial at Wednesday's meeting, lawmakers talked about voting Friday to move quickly to an up-or-down vote on two articles of impeachment.

“There was no discussion about that today,” Rounds said. 

Instead, Rounds said the discussion was about how “we’re moving forward.

A report by The New York Times that said Bolton in his forthcoming book writes that Trump had linked the withholding of aid to Ukraine to that country conducting investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden had given new energy to the witness debate.

And more from The Hill:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) met with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Wednesday as he tries to lock down the votes to block new witnesses in President Trump's impeachment trial.

Murkowski largely declined to discuss her current thinking on calling witnesses but confirmed to reporters that she had met with the GOP leader.

“I am not going to be discussing the witness situation right now,” she said.

She added that she was focused on the upcoming two-day question-and-answer period and had been in talks with GOP leadership staff about how to get her questions answered. 

“I’ve got some more questions that I want to get into the mix,” she said. “I’ve been talking to the folks in the cloakroom to see what the universe is, and how we can supplement that.”

Murkowski told reporters that she has 14 questions, including on issues like subpoenas and documents.

“They’re all over the board,” she said.

Democrats want to subpoena four witnesses and compel the administration to hand over Ukraine-related documents. They would need four Republicans to vote to allow witnesses and four votes for every subsequent vote on calling specific individuals or documents.

The McConnell-Murkowski meeting comes as the GOP leader is working to lock down 51 votes by Friday against calling witnesses.

The Senate GOP conference met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the looming fight over impeachment witnesses.

Former national security adviser John Bolton’s claim in his forthcoming memoir, reported by The New York Times, that Trump told him in August that he wanted to continue to suspend security assistance to Ukraine until the country announced investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden has put new pressure on Republicans to call Bolton.



 

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