It’s all over but the shouting, as the saying goes.
The Senate has enough votes to block new witnesses in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump. A literal 11th hour announcement Thursday night from retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) ensured that there were 50 votes against new witnesses in the Senate in addition to the witnesses already heard in the House, and then Friday’s announcement from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that she would also oppose witnesses put the Senate at 51, meaning that there would be no tie that Democrats would push Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts—who is presiding over Trump’s trial—to break.
That means from there, the Senate has to figure out how to get to an eventual acquittal vote—which is not in doubt as an acquittal requires only 34 votes and well more than a majority in the Senate is expected to acquit the president—through a series of procedural landmines that lay before GOP senators.
Senate leaders are working on closing down a deal to bring the trial in for an ending that might not be so smooth should Democrats decide to prolong it with more pointless and destined-to-fail amendments and votes and debates on those amendments on procedural matters. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), senate GOP sources tell Breitbart News, is working to craft and pass another resolution that would include the process for ending the trial.
Sources say that the Senate could move forward with a final acquittal of the president as early as late Friday night, or Saturday sometime, but that the process may take until next week sometime.
After the vote on more witnesses fails, as it will do Friday evening, the Senate then can consider motions on other matters related to this—a place where Democrats are expected to try to force several meaningless amendment votes. GOP senators, the sources tell Breitbart News, are concerned that even though Democrats now know they are going to lose, they may offer a series of amendments destined to fail to run the clock down.
But it is during this process that McConnell could put forward the final resolution, which sources say could allow senators to each make speeches as well as closing arguments from the House’s impeachment managers and the president’s lawyers.
Democrats, on this resolution, could offer unlimited amendments to waste the Senate’s time. The final resolution from McConnell, Senate GOP sources say, would also potentially set the timing for the final vote on acquittal or conviction in the Senate, which could happen as early as very late Friday night, this weekend, or next week.
Knowing exactly when this vote may be depends a lot on Democrats, who again know they are destined to fail and will lose this fight but may decide to wreak havoc just to continue to hold up the Senate’s business and drag out the process.
But with the Iowa caucuses coming up on Monday, and several Senate Democrats including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) vying for the Democrat nomination there, GOP leaders think they might be able to force Democrats’ hands to agree to end this Friday night or Saturday morning.
That being said, GOP senators believe—according to a Senate GOP aide—that Democrats have dug in a position on trying to force the eventual coming acquittal past Trump’s scheduled State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.
But if Democrats accept the reality that they are going to lose anyway, and that the only question is when, where, and how, then this could end sooner rather than later.
That all being said, there is also growing concern among many GOP senators—the vast majority of them, actually—that McConnell may drag this out too long. Many senators, several GOP senate aides tell Breitbart News, are furious with this process and ready for it to end. There is growing concern, too, that so-called moderates like Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), and others are having an outsized influence on the process—and that many of them want this to end on Friday night.