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LIVE: With Dems unable to call witnesses, impeachment trial goes into rules debate

Posted at 7:19 AM, Jan 31, 2020

As Senate is expected to acquit President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial in the coming days after two key moderate Republican senators announced that they will vote "no" on calling more witnesses.

Moments before the trial resumed Friday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced in a statement that she will vote against further measures to call witnesses. Her announcement came hours after Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said the same thing.

Even with Sens. Susan Collins and Mitt Romney choosing to vote for calling for further witnesses, it left the measure two votes short of a majority, assuming all other senators vote along party lines.

Democrats have been calling for former National Security Advisor John Bolton to appear before the Senate as a witness. Earlier this week, reports emerged that Bolton has written a book manuscript in which he writes that Trump told him directly he was withholding military aid earmarked for Ukraine until the country released politically damagiing information about Democratic presidential candidates.

Trump is charged with two articles of impeachment — one count of abuse of power, the other for obstruction of Congress. The House claimed Trump abused the power of the presidency by withholding the military aid in exchange for an announcement that Ukraine would announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, about Hunter Biden's time on the board of Ukranian energy company, Burisma. They also allege Trump obstructed Congress by not participating in the House's investigation.

After senators vote on witness testimony Friday, they could move to acquit Trump of the impeachment charges. While speaking with Fox News on Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, indicated that the Senate might wait until Saturday to acquit Trump.

Impeachment trial proceedings continue at 1 p.m. Friday.