US Senate rejects witnesses in Trump impeachment trial
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 01 February 2020 1:06 AM
The Republican-controlled Senate has blocked witness testimonies and new evidence in the impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump, clearing the way for his acquittal.
The senators voted 51 to 49, almost across party lines, against the proposal on Friday.
The vote stopped Democrats' drive to hear testimony from witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton.
The senate should now vote to convict or clear Trump of the impeachment charges.
After the Friday vote, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he aims to conclude the trial in the coming days.
He postponed the final vote on articles of impeachment until Wednesday in the face of opposition from Senate Republican moderates to his plan to wrap up the trial Friday or Saturday without deliberations.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the Republicans' move as a great cover-up.
"America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, where the Senate turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial," Schumer told reporters.
Democrats pressed hard to force the Senate to call more witnesses to testify, but Republicans intently focused on bringing the impeachment trial to a vote of acquittal, possibly in a matter of days.
Democrats argued Bolton's explosive allegations in his upcoming book cannot be ignored.
Bolton's unpublished book manuscript directly contradicts Trump's account of events. Bolton wrote that the president told him he wanted to freeze $391 million in security aid to Ukraine until Kiev pursued investigations into former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
Senators have grilled the House Democrats prosecuting the case and the Republican president's defense team. Dozens of questions were asked and answered on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Democratic-led House on December 18 impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress arising from his request that Ukraine investigate the Bidens, setting the stage for the Senate trial to determine if he should be removed from office.
While the Republican-controlled Senate is highly unlikely to remove Trump from office, it is important for him to try to blunt the Democratic accusations to limit political damage to his bid for a second term.
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