McConnell meets with swing vote as he scrambles to block witnesses

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (R-Ky.) met with Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Murkowski says she will vote to confirm Barrett to Supreme Court on Monday McConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session MORE (R-Alaska) on Wednesday as he tries to lock down the votes to block new witnesses in President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE's impeachment trial.

Murkowski largely declined to discuss her current thinking on calling witnesses but confirmed to reporters that she had met with the GOP leader.

“I am not going to be discussing the witness situation right now,” she said.


She added that she was focused on the upcoming two-day question-and-answer period and had been in talks with GOP leadership staff about how to get her questions answered. 

“I’ve got some more questions that I want to get into the mix,” she said. “I’ve been talking to the folks in the cloakroom to see what the universe is, and how we can supplement that.”

Murkowski told reporters that she has 14 questions, including on issues like subpoenas and documents.

“They’re all over the board,” she said.

Democrats want to subpoena four witnesses and compel the administration to hand over Ukraine-related documents. They would need four Republicans to vote to allow witnesses and four votes for every subsequent vote on calling specific individuals or documents.

The McConnell-Murkowski meeting comes as the GOP leader is working to lock down 51 votes by Friday against calling witnesses.


The Senate GOP conference met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the looming fight over impeachment witnesses.

Former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonJohn Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report Bolton: North Korea 'more dangerous now' Demand for Trump-related titles sparks expected record year for political books MORE’s claim in his forthcoming memoir, reported by The New York Times, that Trump told him in August that he wanted to continue to suspend security assistance to Ukraine until the country announced investigations into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Brad Pitt narrates Biden ad airing during World Series MORE and his son Hunter Biden has put new pressure on Republicans to call Bolton.

With several Republican senators, including Murkowski, publicly undecided on calling witnesses, McConnell does not yet have a lock on 51 votes. 

But members of leadership expressed confidence after the meeting that they would be able to block witnesses.