MSNBC Host Rachel Maddow appeared to struggle to hold back tears upon learning that Republican Senator Lamar Alexander would vote “no” on witnesses.
Being a key swing vote, Maddow realizes via the panel that the motion for witnesses will likely fail and gets very emotional.
FoxNews reports Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander announced late Thursday night that he would not support additional witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, seemingly ending Democrats’ hopes of hearing testimony from former National Security Advisor John Bolton and paving the way for the president’s imminent acquittal as soon as Friday night.
Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the chamber, and can afford up to three defections. In the event of a 50-50 tie, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts is likely to abstain rather than assert his debatable power to cast a tie-breaking vote. GOP Sen. Susan Collin has announced she wants to hear from a “limited” number of additional witnesses; Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney has strongly signaled he wants to hear from Bolton; and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski told Fox News late Thursday she was still weighing the issue and would decide in the morning.
Alexander, in his dramatic late-night statement that came at the close of the Senate’s session Thursday, flat-out dismissed Democrats’ “obstruction of Congress” article of impeachment as “frivilous” given the president’s long-established principle of executive privilege.
At the same time, he said Democrats had easily proven their case that “the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter” and that “the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.”
However, Alexander, who is retiring, said Trump’s conduct did not justify the extraordinary remedy of his immediate removal by the Senate, especially in an election year.
“I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense,” Alexander said.
He added: “There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine. There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’ There is no need to consider further the frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers.