- "There is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven," Sen. Alexander said.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could call for an immediate vote to convict or acquit Trump as soon as Friday.
- President Trump is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
In the final stretch of the Senate trial of US President Donald Trump, it is less and less likely that the Democratic opposition will be able to approve the summons of witnesses to testify against the Republican. After the conclusion of the questioning stage of the senators for the prosecution and defense, one of the Republican senators who had been courted by the Democrats, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), announced on Thursday that he will vote against the call of witnesses.
“I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses,” Alexander said in a statement shortly after the trial recessed. “But there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense,” Alexander on social media.
The opposition has 47 of the 100 Senate seats, and needs the votes of at least four Republicans to get former National Security Advisor John Bolton (or any others) to the floor to testify. The former Trump advisor did not testify in the investigation phase. However, Bolton is now about to launch a book in which he says he heard from the President that almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine was conditional on the opening of an investigation against Joe Biden, his possible opponent in this year’s presidential elections.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said she would vote to call witnesses, while former presidential candidate, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) was also inclined to support the initiative. There were still two votes to go. The proposal is due to be considered Friday, and if rejected, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could call for an immediate vote to convict or acquit Trump. For the president to be convicted and removed from office, two-thirds of the senators are required to support the idea.
Senator Lamar Alexander’s decision is no-doubt an enormous blow to the Democrats, since he had previously indicated that he could be the key fourth GOP senator to insist on a vote to determine whether to call new witnesses in the Senate trial. The senator was, until his impromptu about-turn, a crucial vote that the Democrats desperately needed in their attempt to send Trump packing via an impeachment.
President Trump is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. According to the complaint, Trump blocked military aid to Ukraine to force the country to investigate Joe Biden, whose son, Hunter Biden, worked for a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. In 2016, Biden, then Vice President of the United States, lobbied and got Kyiv to dismiss Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma, and was considered corrupt by the White House and the European Union.
For Trump, this was an attempt to interfere in the 2016 elections, although Biden wasn’t a candidate then. The accusation of obstruction, on the other hand, is due to the fact that the President advised White House officials not to cooperate in the inquiry that was being conducted by the House of Representatives.