Senators on Friday laid out the ground rules of the final phase of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, voting largely on party lines against calling witnesses and documents.
The final vote on Trump's fate is set for Wednesday and is almost certain to end in an acquittal.
Read about the highlights below:
Senators voting on Democratic amendments, final rules
Senators are now voting on the four Democratic amendments to McConnell's organizing resolution.
We expect these to all fail. After that, senators will take up the organizing resolution.
- Schumer amendment to subpoena Mulvaney, Bolton, Duffy, Blair and White House, OMB, DOD and State Department documents
- Schumer amendment to Subpoena John Bolton
- Schumer amendment to subpoena Bolton; provided further that there be one day for a deposition presided over by Chief Justice, and one day for live testimony before the Senate, both of must occur within 5 days of adoption of the underlying resolution
- Van Hollen amendment to require the Chief Justice to rule on motions to subpoena witnesses and documents, and to rule on any assertion of privilege
Senate to conduct final vote on Trump's fate next Wednesday
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Friday Democrats rejected the majority's push for a vote on the articles of impeachment tonight and instead pushed for the trial to wrap up over the next several days after the chamber voted earlier against hearing witnesses, according to a spokesperson.
"Sen. McConnell and Republicans wanted to rush through an acquittal vote tonight. But Democrats wanted votes on witnesses and documents, for the House Managers to be able to make closing arguments, ample time for every member to speak, and to prevent GOP from rushing this through," the Schumer spokesperson said.
The new organizing resolution will include:
- Four votes, including debate, on Democratic amendments on Friday;
- Closing arguments from both sides will convene on Monday at 11 a.m. with up to 4 hours equally divided;
- Speeches from senators on the Senate floor Monday to Wednesday; and
- The final vote will be at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, a day after Trump delivers his the State of the Union in the House.
Schumer said that Democrats will still oppose McConnell's resolution because it does not include witnesses and documents.
Here's what the next days of the impeachment trial may look like
GOP Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Mike Braun of Indiana told NBC News that they expect the Senate trial to conclude on Wednesday, though nothing has been finalized.
Tonight, on Friday, the Senate is slated to vote on a new organizing resolution to establish the following procedure:
MONDAY: Senators arrive, potentially as early as 11 a.m., and then there will be closing arguments from both sides.
TUESDAY: Senators will take to the Senate floor to gives speeches, which could take somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes for each lawmaker.
WEDNESDAY: The floor speeches continue and then there will be a vote on the articles of impeachment.
The Senate impeachment trial will likely not be in session on the weekend.
'They will lose the war': Carper criticizes Republicans on vote against witnesses
Senate vote on calling witnesses fails, ushering in trial endgame
The Senate voted not to call witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Friday afternoon, ushering in the final phase of the proceedings, with an all-but-assured vote to acquit Trump possibly coming as late as Wednesday.
The vote was 49 to 51.
Democrats sought testimony from ex-national security adviser John Bolton on Trump's alleged conditioning of Ukraine aid on investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden. But they failed to get a majority to back their efforts after Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two key Republican swing votes, announced that they would not back the move.
Schumer calls vote against witnesses 'a grand tragedy'
Schumer called the Senate's 51-49 vote against calling witnesses "a grand tragedy."
"No witnesses, no documents in an impeachment trial is a perfidy. It is a grand tragedy. One of the worst tragedies that the Senate has overcome. America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities," Schumer said.
"The Senate turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial," he added. "It's a tragedy on a very large scale."
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, told MSNBC it "was a terrible, terrible vote for the country."
Sanders reacts to witness vote: 'A sad day in American history'
Senate vote on calling witnesses fails, ushering in trial endgame
The Senate voted not to call witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Friday afternoon, ushering in the final phase of the proceedings, with a vote to acquit or convict Trump possibly coming as late as Wednesday.
Democrats sought testimony from ex-national security adviser John Bolton on Trump’s alleged conditioning of Ukraine aid on investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden. But they failed to get a majority to back their efforts after Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two key Republican swing votes, announced that they would not back the move.
Witness vote NOW
Senators are now voting on whether to hear witnesses.
Parnas names top Trump officials in letter to McConnell on potential testimony
The attorney for indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas sent a letter Friday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., with a laundry list of alleged evidence he would testify to if allowed to appear as a witness in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
The letter, sent by Parnas’s attorney Joseph Bondy and obtained by NBC News, represents a last-ditch attempt by Parnas to make known the value of the information he feels he could provide as he continues to push to be a witness. It comes as the Senate appears all but certain to vote Friday to reject hearing witnesses before voting to acquit the president, likely next week.
Schiff argues Senate will undercut its own authority if it doesn't call witnesses
Schiff told senators they'd be kneecapping their own authority for generations if they allow President Donald Trump to get away with his congressional stonewalling, paving the way for presidents to ignore congressional oversight.
Schiff told the Senate that voting no on subpoenaing witnesses and documents "will have long-lasting and harmful consequences long after this impeachment trial is over. We agree with the president's counsel on this much, this will set a new precedent" — and "a very dangerous and long-lasting precedent that we will all have to live with."
"President Trump's wholesale obstruction of Congress strikes at the heart of our Constitution and democratic system of separation of powers," he said. "Make no mistake, the president's actions in this impeachment inquiry constitute an attack on congressional oversight, on the coequal nature of this branch of government. Not just on the House but on the Senate's ability as well to conduct its oversight to serve as a check and balance on this president and every president that follows."
He added, "It will allow future presidents to decide whether they want their misconduct to be investigated or not. Whether they would like to participate in an impeachment investigation or not."
He also warned the truth about what happened will emerge eventually.
"It’s important to remember that no matter what you decide to do here, whether you decide to hear witnesses and relevant testimony, the facts will come out in the end. Even over the course of this trial, we have seen so many additional facts come to light. The facts will come out. In all of their horror, they will come out," he said.