Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski will vote against a motion allowing witnesses to testify in the Senate's impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, appearing to doom a bid by Democrats to have testimony in the trial and paving the way for an expected acquittal of Trump.
Murkowski said she carefully considered the need for witnesses and documents to be used in the trial that will determine whether Trump is removed from office, but ultimately decided against it. Democrats, who earlier in the day sounded resigned to defeat in their bid to call witnesses, would need four Republicans to join them to win a vote for witnesses.
"Tonight, all signs point to a rushed acquittal of an impeached president," Patty Murray, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, told reporters.
The Senate resumed the proceedings with the House of Representatives Democrats serving as prosecutors making a final pitch for witnesses. The Senate was due later on Friday to vote on the witness issue.
The timing of a final vote on whether to convict Trump was unclear. Republican senators had said it could take place late on Friday or on Saturday. But some senators said the final vote may be put off until next week, perhaps until Wednesday.
A second Republican senator - Mitt Romney - declared support on Friday for calling witnesses such as John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser.
Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and sometime critic of Trump, joined fellow moderate Susan Collins as the only ones among the 53 Republican senators in the 100-seat chamber to support voting for witnesses.
Barring an unforeseen change of heart by other Republican senators before a final vote on the articles, Trump's allies seemed assured of defeating the request for testimony.
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