The impeachment proceeding was on display on a television hanging at the bar as Ben Groves prepares drinks at Gauchos Churrascaria, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

VIDEO: Impeachment witnesses rejected, ensuring Trump’s acquittal

Senate vote was 51-49, despite Republicans Susan Collins and Mitt Romney siding with Democrats

The Senate narrowly rejected Democratic demands to summon witnesses for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial late Friday, all but ensuring Trump’s acquittal in just the third such trial to face a president in U.S. history. But senators considered pushing off final voting on his fate to next week.

The vote on allowing new witnesses was defeated 51-49 on a near party-line vote.

Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah voted along with the Democrats for witnesses, but that was not enough.

Despite the Democrats singular focus on hearing new testimony, the Republican majority brushed past those demands to make this the first impeachment trial without witnesses. Even new revelations Friday from former national security adviser John Bolton did not sway GOP senators, who said they’d heard enough.

That means the eventual outcome for Trump will be an acquittal “in name only,” said Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a House prosecutor, during final debate. Some called it a coverup.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called Friday night’s results “a tragedy on a very large scale.” Protesters’ chants reverberated against the walls of the Capitol.

But Republicans said Trump’s acquittal is justified and inevitable.

“The sooner the better for the country,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump confidant. “Let’s turn the page.”

The next steps come in the heart of presidential campaign season before a divided nation. Democratic caucus voting begins Monday in Iowa, and Trump gives his State of the Union address the next night. Four Democratic candidates have been chafing in the Senate chamber rather than campaigning.

Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges that 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 badly wanted testimony from Bolton, whose forthcoming book links Trump directly to the charges. But Bolton won’t be summoned, and none of this appeared to affect the trial’s expected outcome.

In an unpublished manuscript, Bolton writes that the president asked him during an Oval Office meeting in early May to bolster his effort to get Ukraine to investigate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 and told The Associated Press. The person, who was not authorized to disclose contents of the book, spoke only on condition of anonymity.

In the meeting, Bolton said the president asked him to call new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and persuade him to meet with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was planning to go to Ukraine to coax the Ukrainians to investigate the president’s political rivals. Bolton writes that he never made the call to 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 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.

Trump issued a quick denial.

“I never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani, one of the greatest corruption fighters in America and by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, to meet with President Zelenskiy,” Trump said. “That meeting never happened.”

Key Republican senators said even if Trump committed the offences as charged by the House, they are not impeachable and the partisan proceedings must end.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Donald TrumpImpeachment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford family of 5 who was stuck in Vietnam is now back home

Janzen family sends ‘huge and heartfelt’ thank you to everyone who helped

FVRL launches online library cards

FVRL’s services have evolved

Man who tries to start gas-station fight gets sprayed with gasoline

Suspect returns with knife but is quickly arrested by Abbotsford police

Abbotsford grandma gets surprise birthday parade

Ellenor McClelland receives drive-by wishes from friends and family

Abbotsford runners competing in Quarantine Backyard Ultra race

Over 1,500 racers from 40 countries participating in unique long distance running event

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

Most Read