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McConnell meets with swing vote as he scrambles to block witnesses

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain MORE (R-Ky.) met with Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiWhite House briefed on bipartisan infrastructure deal but says questions remain Bipartisan Senate group announces infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden mission abroad: reward friends, constrain adversaries MORE (R-Alaska) on Wednesday as he tries to lock down the votes to block new witnesses in President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president 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.

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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.

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

Former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonJohn Bolton: Biden-Putin meeting 'premature' Republicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process Trump pushes back on Bolton poll 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 BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president 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.