‘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…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Only minutes before the start of impeachment proceedings, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, one of three possible GOP votes in support of additional witnesses, indicated that she would vote against the Democrats’ motion.
“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,” she said.
The New York Times reported that it was “all but certain to clear the way for Republicans, who have been working feverishly to block witnesses from testifying.”
However, it appeared that The New York Times was working feverishly in coordination with Democrats after a new, conveniently timed leak Friday tried to shake the proceedings.
It claimed that President Donald Trump directed then-national security adviser John Bolton to instruct newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to meet with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. Trump responded by disputing the claim from the Times’ Maggie Haberman.
The impact that the supposed breakthrough would have was uncertain, but it seemed to be par-for-the-course with Democrats’ previous strategy for trying to pressure senators with the drip of new public information.
“Just as we predicted—and it didn’t require any great act of clairvoyance—the facts will come out,” said lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff.
“They will continue to come out,” Schiff continued. “And the question before you today is whether they will come out in time for you to make a complete and informed judgment as to the guilt or innocence of the president.”
The new attack seemed unlikely to move the chains substantially in the House Democrats’ unsuccessful argument that Trump abused his power for personal gain or committed impeachable offenses for which his removal from office was an appropriate remedy.
That did not stop the impeachment managers from continuing to hammer away at the Senate incessantly with its demand to subpoena Bolton and four other officials whom Trump has maintained would be disqualified from testifying under longstanding executive privilege protections.
The House Democrats indicated that they planned to use the remaining balance of their 24 hour allotment to respond to the defense on Friday. It remained anyone’s guess how long the proceedings would last and whether a vote would come to the table after the two sides rested their preliminary cases.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued his usual decree that the Senate would plan to break every two hours.
Regardless of the outcome—which was expected on Friday to be an acquittal—partisan House Democrats have pledged that they are continuing to investigate Trump in their committees and have left open the door that they may wage another attempt at impeachment using whatever additional evidence they are able to obtain.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and others have rejected the possibility of a consensus on supporting Republican witnesses, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, the so-called whistleblower who triggered the House effort, and even Schiff himself, whose office helped engineer the whistleblower complaint.
Schiff took the offensive by trying to wage an attack on White House Counsel Pat Cipillone, claiming that the lead attorney in Trump’s defense was involved in an alleged cover-up.