Republican leaders have shared that they currently do not have the votes necessary to block witness testimony or documents in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
On Tuesday a meeting of all Republican senators was held and Mitch McConnell announced that they did not have the votes that were necessary to block witnesses and documents. Reportedly, when McConnell made the announcement he held a card that had “yes,” “no,” and “maybe” on it so it appeared that a whip count had been done.
An unnamed administration official stated after the meeting that the White House was still optimistic that it would find a way to get the necessary votes by Friday.
“We are still in the game,” the official said.
Trump’s attorney’s argued during Tuesday’s proceedings that House managers did not establish their cases for abuse of power or obstruction of Congress. The attorneys stated that the accusations fell far short of the necessary threshold to remove Trump from office.
“The bar for impeachment cannot be set this low,” said Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s attorneys said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke up after Trump’s attorneys concluded and stated that “Their whole argument is a diversion.”
Democrats control 47 seats in the Senate and need four Republicans to vote with them to allow witnesses and documents into the trial.
Right now, Trump’s attorneys and Republicans want to stop witnesses from being able to testify and move to acquit. If witnesses such as John Bolton and Lev Parnas are allowed to testify it could be devastating to Trump’s case.
Bolton wrote in his soon to be released book that Donald Trump told him he wanted military aid to Ukraine frozen until the country opened an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Trump denies Bolton’s version of the conversation. He continues to claim that the freeze on military funds had nothing to do with his request to open an investigation.
While Trump and his legal team attack Bolton’s character, former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has spoken up to say “If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton.”
Several Republican senators, who are said to be on the fence about witnesses now feel Bolton’s account makes the case for witnesses even stronger.
On Monday, Sens. Mitt Romney and Susan Collins indicated that they favored witnesses. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Lamar Alexander made it clear that they were open to the idea of calling witnesses.