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GOP senators believe they have the votes to block witnesses

It was clear to Senate Republicans on Wednesday after a morning meeting between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiFor Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' MORE (R-Alaska) that the question of having additional witnesses is settled, and the Senate will vote Friday to wrap up the impeachment trial of President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE.

There was no discussion of witnesses at a Senate GOP lunch meeting Wednesday, which was held a couple hours after McConnell and Murkowski met for about 20 to 30 minutes.

That was seen as a sign by several senators that Democrats will fail to convince four Republicans to join them in calling for witnesses. Without a vote to hear from witnesses, the trial could end as soon as Friday. 

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“We’re going to get it done by Friday, hopefully,” Sen. Mike RoundsMike RoundsThe GOP is in a fix: Gordian knot or existential crisis? McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time GOP senators blame Trump after mob overruns Capitol MORE (R-S.D.) said following the meeting.

Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunMcConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official MORE (R-Ind.), emerging from the lunch, said, “I think I can say the mood is good.”

Braun expressed confidence that McConnell will be able to keep his conference unified enough to defeat a motion to consider subpoenas for additional witnesses and documents.

“If I had to guess, no witnesses,” he said.

“We’ll be in a place where I think everyone is going to have their mind made up and I believe that we’ll be able to move to a verdict, and the witness question will be clear at that point,” Braun added.

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Murkowski did not attend the lunch.

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyFor Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief GOP senator calls Biden's COVID-19 relief plan a 'non-starter' MORE (R-Utah), who has been the most outspoken advocate for calling additional witnesses, declined to comment as he left the lunch. 

Romney and Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsFor Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief Limbaugh falsely says Biden didn't win legitimately while reacting to inauguration Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief MORE (R-Maine) are both expected to back witnesses. Murkowski has been seen as a third possible vote, though she had not announced any decision. 

Instead of discussing the possibility of having former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPence, other GOP officials expected to skip Trump send-off NSA places former GOP political operative in top lawyer position after Pentagon chief's reported order After insurrection: The national security implications MORE appear as a witness in the trial at Wednesday's meeting, lawmakers talked about voting Friday to move quickly to an up-or-down vote on two articles of impeachment.

“There was no discussion about that today,” Rounds said. 

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Instead, Rounds said the discussion was about how “we’re moving forward.”

A report by The New York Times that said Bolton in his forthcoming book writes that Trump had linked the withholding of aid to Ukraine to that country conducting investigations of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE and his son Hunter Biden had given new energy to the witness debate.

Democrats have been clamoring to hear Bolton as a witness at the trial. 

Senators are asking questions to the House impeachment team and Trump's defense lawyers during today's impeachment session.