Senators to Debate Calling Additional Witnesses

On their last day of questioning in the impeachment trial of President Trump, senators put Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the middle of the fray.
Credit…Image by Doug Mills/The New York Times

Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

The impeachment trial was upended this week by revelations from John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, that contradict much of President Trump’s defense about freezing aid to Ukraine. The new information, laid out in a manuscript of Mr. Bolton’s coming book, left Republican senators scrambling to assess what else Mr. Bolton might disclose.

For a time, it looked as if the trajectory of the trial could shift. By midweek, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, privately acknowledged that he was uncertain whether he had enough votes to block Democrats from calling witnesses like Mr. Bolton to testify.

But by Thursday, Senate Republicans once again seemed confident that they could prevail in voting down a motion to introduce new witnesses, and potentially fast-track a vote on whether to remove Mr. Trump from office. That seemed even more certain after Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican whose vote is critical for Democrats, said he would vote against calling witnesses.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, the lead House manager, on Thursday worked to sell Republicans on a compromise in which new witnesses could be deposed but their collective testimony would be limited to one week. At the same time, Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, suggested that he was examining ways to stall a final vote to acquit the president, most likely by resorting to procedural tactics.

The vote over witnesses on Friday is likely to determine the remainder of the trial. After a tense week in which it seemed as if lawmakers could be swayed to compel witnesses, each senator will have to make a final decision after debate.

What we’re expecting to see:
The Senate will convene for a highly anticipated debate over whether to subpoena new witnesses and seek additional documents from the Trump administration that could shed more light on the central questions in the impeachment inquiry.

When we’re likely to see it:
The trial will reconvene at 1 p.m. Eastern. Senate rules dictate that there will first be a four-hour debate over new witnesses and documents, followed by a vote. Each side will have two hours.

How to follow it:
The New York Times’s congressional and White House teams will be following all of the developments in Washington and will be streaming the trial live on this page. Stay with us.

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