Donald Trump could be acquitted in impeachment trial as new witnesses are denied

1 February 2020, 11:24

Trial moving towards vote on whether to acquit the president
Trial moving towards vote on whether to acquit the president. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

Donald Trump is set to be acquitted in his impeachment trial after senators voted against calling new witnesses.

Democrats hoped four swing Republicans would vote for new witnesses and extend the trial - with the likelihood of changing its outcome.

But only two of the four Republicans voted with Democrats and now the trial moves forward to a vote on whether to acquit the president, which he will almost certainly win.

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said in a statement late on Thursday that while the Democrats had clearly demonstrated that Mr Trump acted inappropriately, they had not proved impeachable offences.

He added: "The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did.

"I believe that the constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday."

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said: "The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed.

US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) talks to the media as he leaves after voting in the impeachment trial
US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) talks to the media as he leaves after voting in the impeachment trial. Picture: Getty

"I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena."

Despite the Democrats singular focus on hearing new testimony, the Republican majority brushed past those demands to make this the first Senate impeachment trial without witnesses.

Even new revelations on Friday from former national security adviser John Bolton did not sway Republican senators, who said they had heard enough.

That means the eventual outcome for President Trump would be an acquittal "in name only", said Democrat Val Demings, a House prosecutor, during final debate. Some even called it a cover-up.

President Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges the he abused power and obstructed Congress like no other president has done as he tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, and then blocked the congressional probe of his actions.

The Democrats had wanted testimony from John Bolton, President Trump's former national security adviser whose forthcoming book links Mr Trump directly to the charges.

President Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges the he abused power and obstructed Congress
President Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges the he abused power and obstructed Congress. Picture: Getty

But Mr Bolton will not be summoned, and none of this appeared to affect the trial's expected outcome.

In an unpublished manuscript, Mr Bolton writes that the president asked him during an Oval Office meeting in early May to bolster his effort to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats, according to a person who read the passage.

In the meeting, Mr Bolton said the president asked him to call new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and persuade him to meet with Mr Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was planning to go to Ukraine to coax the Ukrainians to investigate the president's political rivals.

Mr Bolton writes that he never made the call to Mr Zelenskiy after the meeting, which included acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

The revelation adds more detail to allegations of when and how President Trump first sought to influence Ukraine to aid investigations of his rivals that are central to the abuse of power charge in the first article of impeachment.

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

'I just want my baby back': Mother of missing Brit Jay Slater, 19, issues plea after 'false sighting' delays search

OceanGate co-founder Guillermo Söhnlein is pictured with CEO Stockton Rush, who died on the Titan sub

Oceangate co-founder claims he can 'safely' send 1,000 people to Venus

Justin Timberlake was arrested on Tuesday

'We'll have a lot to say': Justin Timberlake's lawyer vows to 'vigorously defend' singer after DWI arrest

Putin has visited North Korea

Putin and Kim share 'pent-up inmost thoughts' as Russian and North Korean leaders vow to forge 'multi-polar world'

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

Sick fraudsters create fake GoFundMe page for Brit teenager missing in Tenerife

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Revealed: Panicked final phone call of missing Brit teenager Jay Slater who vanished in Tenerife

Justin Timberlake's mugshot has been released

Justin Timberlake mugshot released after singer arrested for 'driving while intoxicated' in wealthy Hamptons enclave

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friends from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

Desperate mum of British teen missing in Tenerife 'beside herself with worry' as she flies out to help with search

Mysterious smoking headless torso missing arms and legs dumped on popular Spanish holiday beach

Horror as smoking headless torso missing arms, legs and head dumped on popular Spanish holiday beach

Olympic athletes ‘could die of overheating’ due to 'dangerous temperatures' at Paris 2024 Games

Olympic athletes ‘could die of overheating’ due to 'dangerous temperatures' at Paris 2024 Games

Justin Timberlake has been arrested for “driving while intoxicated”

Justin Timberlake arrested for 'driving while intoxicated' in wealthy Hamptons enclave

Exclusive
Keir Starmer responds to callers about Palestine.

Starmer says he would take 'full part' in resolving Israel Gaza conflict, pledging to recognise Palestine as part of two-state solution

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friends from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friend from 'the middle of nowhere' after night out

This is Mr Putin's first visit to North Korea since 2000

Putin to meet Kim Jong Un in first visit to North Korea in 24 years

Phillips headshot

Mystery of 'Bushman' dad-of-three who went missing with children - before robbing bank at gunpoint

Pressure signals could be used to locate the missing plane

Major breakthrough in MH370 mystery as nuclear sensor picks up crucial sound