Murkowski to Vote No on Witnesses, Giving Republicans Leverage for Swift Acquittal

Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Zuma

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced Friday that she would vote no on a motion to hear witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, likely giving Republicans enough votes to block testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton and move toward a swift acquittal of the president.

The 47-person Democratic caucus would need four Republican votes to approve the motion to hear witness. Murkowski was one of the few Republican senators—along with Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Susan Collins (R-Maine)—who expressed a willingness this week to defy Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and consider voting with Democrats. Last night, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), another holdout, announced that he would vote against hearing witnesses, leaving Democrats little hope of garnering enough support to compel witness testimony.

Democrats’ calls for witnesses have intensified as Bolton has made a series of claims in the draft of his new book suggesting that Trump involved him in a pressure campaign that directly tied military aid to Ukraine to that country’s investigations of the Bidens. Without witnesses, the vote to acquit Trump could take place as early as Friday night.

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