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Politics McConnell says he has enough Republican votes to begin Trump's trial without witnesses

22:01  07 january  2020
22:01  07 january  2020 Source:   nbcnews.com

Senate Republican predicts impeachment trial ends by State of the Union

  Senate Republican predicts impeachment trial ends by State of the Union Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, said on Tuesday that he expects President Trump's impeachment trial will be over by a State of the Union speech scheduled for early February. Blunt, the No. 4 Senate Republican, told KSSZ, a Missouri radio station, that the expected that the Senate trial would be "pretty predictable" and happen "quickly." "My guess is we'll be done with this by the time the president comes," Blunt said. House"My guess is we'll be done with this by the time the president comes," Blunt said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Tuesday that he has enough Republican votes to start the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump without the support of Democrats, who have been demanding witness testimony.

Mitch McConnell wearing a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.© Drew Angerer Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"We have the votes once the impeachment trial has begun to pass a resolution — essentially the same as, very similar to, the 100-to-nothing vote in the Clinton trial," McConnell told reporters.

The announcement by McConnell means that once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf., transmits the two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — the trial would begin in the Senate with rules in place under which the question of whether witnesses are allowed to testify would not be dealt with until later in the trial.

The first phase of the trial would include "arguments from prosecution, arguments from defense" and a "period of written questions" submitted by Republican and Democratic senators, McConnell said.

Only after that phase would "the issue of calling witnesses" be addressed, as it was during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial 20 years ago.

The Senate trial cannot begin until Pelosi transmits the articles to the Senate.

Senate trial expected to start January 21 .
The trial is expected to last three to five weeks.The House is expected to send over the articles on Wednesday or Thursday of this week, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed the transmission. There aren't enough votes for an outright dismissal of the articles of impeachment, as Mr. Trump had hoped.

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