Honored Social Butterfly

McConnell Doesn't Have Votes To Block Witnesses in Trump Trial

McConnell acknowledges GOP doesn't yet have votes to block witnesses in Trump trial
Senators are expected to vote in the coming days about whether to call witnesses in the impeachment trial.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Jan. 28, 2020.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Jan. 28, 2020.J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Jan. 28, 2020, 11:51 AM CST / Updated Jan. 28, 2020, 4:31 PM CST
By Frank Thorp V, Kasie Hunt, Geoff Bennett and Adam Edelman


WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., acknowledged to Republican senators during a private meeting earlier Tuesday that he did not currently have the votes to avoid calling witnesses in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, a GOP aide familiar with his comments told NBC News.

Though the votes are not yet secured, Republicans appeared confident Tuesday evening that they would ultimately be successful in blocking witnesses. Senate Republican leadership exerted strong pressure on the party's members to vote against calling witnesses, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Reports: McConnell doesn’t have votes to block witnesses in impeachment trialJAN. 28, 202002:07

Several Republican senators wouldn’t divulge to NBC News the substance of what they discussed, telling reporters to "check with the whip" about any directives from leadership.

Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told NBC News that he was "whipped against voting to call witnesses" but that there was not an official whip count.

Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and John Boozman, R-Ark., told NBC News, however, that they did not feel pressured. Boozman said everyone at the hour-long meeting was being “respectful.”

The meeting of the Senate Republican Conference was held for the purpose of "starting to check the conference on witnesses," a GOP leadership said. At a Senate Republican lunch ahead of the meeting, executive privilege was also expected to be discussed.

Conversations about where the Senate Republicans are on the witness question have been ongoing.

A debate and vote on whether to call witnesses could come later this week.

Bolton book revelations spur new demands for witnesses at impeachment trialJAN. 28, 202003:09

However, calls for Bolton, in particular, to testify have intensified in recent days after The New York Times reported — according to a manuscript of Bolton's book, which it obtained and has not seen by NBC News — that Trump told Bolton in August that nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine would not be released until it provided all of the information it had in connection with the investigations of Democrats the president sought.

A pair of moderate Republican senators — Mitt Romney, of Utah, and Susan Collins, of Maine — said Monday that the report of major revelations in Bolton’s soon-to-be-released book strengthens the case for calling witnesses.


Romney, Collins, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee are considered to be the most likely Republicans to vote for witnesses.

Murkowski said Monday: "I've said before I'm curious about what Ambassador Bolton might have to say. I'm still curious." Alexander said he won't decide until after both sides have answered questions from the Senate.

Sen. Lindsey Graham. R-S.C., a top Trump ally who's resisted calls for additional witnesses and documents, acknowledged Monday that Bolton may be "a relevant witness" and said he'd consider subpoenaing a manuscript of his book.

Man learns from history that man learns nothing from history.
Honored Social Butterfly

I predict the faint hope Republicans will grow spines in the next 24 hours will end eactly as every other instance when they were called on to put their County ahead of their party - to wit: Total capitualtion to the GOPerLords who demand perfect fidelity to whatever the Lords tell their serfs, hence no witnesses will darken the doorstep of the Senate, and the assembled facist kangaroos will jump to tRump's tune again.

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Honored Social Butterfly

Trump Party now saying having witnesses would be a total waste of time! Really? Not mine nor 75% of Americans according to polls. What are they afraid of??? Besides the truth!

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