After a closed-door caucus meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28, Senate Republicans were confident they could avoid a fight with Democrats over calling witnesses to testify at President Trump’s impeachment trial.
“The consensus is that we’ve heard enough and it’s time to go to a final judgment,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told reporters.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), was asked if the trial should go past Friday, he said, “It shouldn’t,” adding, “We’re kind of confident,” reported Fox News.
A vote is anticipated on Friday in the Senate on whether to allow new documents or witnesses to be called. If the vote is against calling for new evidence, the door is open for a vote to acquit the president, ending the impeachment trial.
Last week the Republicans had been confident in ending the trial without calling witnesses, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had made clear.
That confidence became undermined after former National Security Adviser John Bolton alleged the president had made aid to Ukraine conditional to the Ukrainian government help in investigating corruption into Democrats and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
It was enough for Republicans to convene an urgent meeting after their normal closed-door caucus lunch.
Although Barrasso and Thune appeared more confident new witnesses could be avoided, there are still a number of Republican senators, including Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), Mitt Romney (Utah), Lamar Alexander(Tenn.) and Jerry Moran (Kansas), who haven’t indicated how they will vote on witnesses.
McConnell requires 51 votes to disallow new witnesses.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said no deals had been made, and “We’re still talking. Everybody is taking this very seriously. … I know those conversations are continuing,” Cornyn said. “I think we’ll all just have to wait for Friday.”
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said, as he left the meeting, it was “just a broad discussion like we had at all the meetings. No clear conclusions.”
“If we do call witnesses, we’re not just going to call one witness. We’re going to call a bunch of witnesses,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters after the meeting.
Graham was asked if he thought witnesses were going to be called, “I would not say that. I would not take that from what I just said. … We’ll see Friday.”
“I feel good. I feel good that we’re in a good spot in terms of ending trial sooner rather than later,” he added.