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's election delay red herring On The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenators holding behind-the-scenes talks on breaking coronavirus package stalemate Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official 300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee 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 TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary 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 RoundsTrump goes viral after mispronouncing Yosemite Congress has a shot at correcting Trump's central mistake on cybersecurity Chamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection MORE (R-S.D.) said following the meeting.

Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunNegotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts Lawmakers aim for COVID-19 relief deal this week Mnuchin: Negotiators no closer to coronavirus deal than a week ago 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 RomneyNRCC poll finds McBath ahead of Handel in Georgia Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  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 CollinsUnemployment debate sparks GOP divisions Obama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  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 BoltonHannity's first book in 10 years debuts at No. 1 on Amazon Congress has a shot at correcting Trump's central mistake on cybersecurity The 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence 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 BidenMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Biden offers well wishes to Lebanon after deadly explosion 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.