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 McConnellMcConnell to try to pass small business funds Thursday, warns against holding it 'hostage' Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal House Republicans, key administration officials push for additional funding for coronavirus small business loans MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHouse Republicans threaten pushback on Saudi Arabia amid oil market slump Zoom, grocery delivery, self-isolation: How lawmakers are surviving coronavirus Lawmakers announce legislation to fund government purchases of oil 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 John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos 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 RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsZoom, grocery delivery, self-isolation: How lawmakers are surviving coronavirus GOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus Five things being discussed for a new coronavirus relief bill MORE (R-S.D.) said following the meeting.

Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunDemocrats, Trump set to battle over implementing T relief bill Senate GOP looking at ,200 in coronavirus cash payments GOP divided on next steps for massive stimulus package 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 RomneySenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Zoom, grocery delivery, self-isolation: How lawmakers are surviving coronavirus Outgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' 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 CollinsSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Senators push for changes to small business aid President tightens grip on federal watchdogs 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 BoltonChina sees chance to expand global influence amid pandemic Trump ignores science at our peril Bolton defends decision to shutter NSC pandemic office 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 BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders exits, clearing Biden's path to nomination Former Clinton staffers invited to celebrate Sanders dropping out: report Sanders exit leaves deep disappointment on left 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.