Trump trial could last into next week
A key vote on whether to hear testimony from witnesses in the president's impeachment trial is expected to take place Friday, but the trial itself could stretch into next week regardless, multiple sources tell NBC News.
While Republicans expect they'll be able to vote down Democrats' requests to continue the trial with witness testimony, several other moving parts could stretch the proceedings into next week, after the Iowa caucus on Monday and the president gives his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the sources said.
Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas told reporters they did not believe the trial would end Friday after meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“I don’t expect there to be a vote for additional witnesses, but the question is how do you land this plane. I don’t expect this ends today,” Cornyn said. Cruz added, "I think we would see it by next week.”
Both sides have a total of four hours to make their arguments on witnesses, beginning at 1 p.m. ET Friday, and that will be followed by deliberations and then a vote on the issue. But there are many unknowns about what could happen after the witness vote.
The organizing resolution for the trial allows both sides to make motions after that vote. Democrats were meeting to discuss what motions they want to introduce. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio told reporters that he plans to introduce a motion to make deliberations on the articles of impeachment open instead of closed.
Senators also need to decide whether there will be closing arguments after the witness vote, and if so, for how long. They also need to figure out how long deliberations be and when would they start. The closed deliberations in 1999 gave each senator 10 minutes to speak.
Trump's legal team anticipates their closing arguments, if there are any, will be on the shorter side, and it is not currently pushing for a time extension, according to a source familiar with the thinking of the White House defense.