- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Senate Republicans may not have the votes to prevent witnesses from testifying in the Senate impeachment trial, according to multiple reports.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his members in a closed-door meeting Tuesday afternoon that the votes weren’t firmly committed to defeat the Democrats’ push to include new witnesses and documents.

President Trump and his allies were hoping for a speedy conclusion to the trial, while Democrats were aiming to chip off at least four Republicans to support their motion.

Senators will vote on whether or not to have witnesses on Friday, and then will need to vote on each individual witness proposed.

The New York Times reported Sunday that former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton claims in a forthcoming book that the president, in an August 2019 discussion, railed about Ukraine’s efforts against him in the 2016 election and said he did not want $391 million in military aid released to Kiev until it cooperated in investigations into his political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, and son Hunter.

The revelations added fuel to the ongoing debate among lawmakers and ramped up the pressure on a handful of Republicans that were on the fence about hearing from witnesses, in particular Mr. Bolton.

Republican senators emerged from their closed-door meeting without a clear stance on where the party stands on the issue of witnesses.

“I don’t think we’ve settled on anything. We’ve just had good candid discussion among ourselves,” one Republican senator said while leaving the meeting.

However, many have said that if the motion for witnesses passes, Mr. Bolton won’t be the only one to testify.

Republicans will have likely have the votes to call witnesses they believe will address questions about whether the president’s intentions for the investigations were justified.

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