Republican leaders say they do not currently have enough votes to block witnesses in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The Journal reports that at a meeting of all Republican senators held late Tuesday on the third and final day of presentations by the Trump legal team, GOP leaders “told their conference that they don’t currently have the votes to prevent witnesses from being called, people familiar with the matter said.”
“Republicans had hoped to wrap up the trial with an acquittal of the president by this week, but Democrats have said he should appear under oath to offer a firsthand account of the president’s motivations for freezing aid to Ukraine—a matter at the heart of the impeachment case,” the report noted.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said the vote total “wasn’t where it needed to be on blocking witnesses or documents, these people said. He had a card with ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ and ‘maybes’ marked on it, apparently a whip count, but he didn’t show it to senators.”
Democrats, who control 47 seats, need four Republicans to join them to approve motions for new testimony or documents.
A large majority of voters say the Senate should allow witnesses to testify during President Trump’s impeachment trial, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
Of those surveyed, 75 percent said they think that witnesses should be allowed to testify in the trial. Along party lines, 49 percent of respondents who identified as Republicans said that they thought there should be witness testimony while 95 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents said the same.
The growing call for witnesses from Democrats has hit a fever pitch following a New York Times report on former national security adviser John Bolton’s book manuscript in which he says President Trump told him not to release military aid to Ukraine unless Kyiv investigated the Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
“There may be heated debate among lawmakers about whether witnesses should testify at the impeachment trial of President Trump, but it’s a different story outside the Beltway,” Quinnipiac University Poll analyst Mary Snow said. “Three-quarters of American voters say witnesses should be allowed to testify, and that includes nearly half of Republican voters.”