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Looks Like McConnell Will Prevail on Trial Format

Senate leader has votes to begin impeachment proceedings without an agreement on witnesses
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2020 1:21 PM CST
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the Capitol Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Mitch McConnell has the votes necessary to get his way on how the Senate impeachment trial will proceed, reports Politico and the Washington Post. Democrats have been pressing for a guarantee of new witness testimony, but McConnell now has the 51 votes needed to avoid that. It's still possible witnesses would be called after the trial gets underway, but that decision would not be made until the trial's first phase is over. Under the McConnell plan, which is similar to how Bill Clinton's impeachment trial was conducted, the Senate would first hear from House impeachment managers and Trump's defense team. Senators would then be allowed to ask questions, and the decision on whether witnesses are called would be made afterward.

Democrats have been pushing for top White House officials such as chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton to be called, and Bolton now says he would indeed testify if subpoenaed. While this is shaping up, the Senate continues to wait for Nancy Pelosi to submit two articles of impeachment passed by the House. One wildcard is that the House could delay things further by calling Bolton to testify there. "We haven't taken that off the table," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Tuesday. "I think what makes the most sense, though, frankly, is for him to testify in the Senate trial." (Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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