Senate GOP could move to quick Trump acquittal vote

Senate Republicans are eyeing a quick acquittal of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE that could have the trial wrap as soon as Friday. 

If GOP senators are able to defeat an effort on Friday to call new witnesses or compel new documents, Republicans are signaling they could move quickly to the final votes on acquittal. 

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns Lobbying world MORE (R-Wyo.) said he expects senators will move quickly to an acquittal vote. 

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"That's the plan," the No. 3 GOP senator told reporters, asked if Republicans would move directly to acquittal if the witness vote fails. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Trump says he's considering restricting travel to coronavirus 'hot spots' MORE (R-S.C.), during an interview on Fox News, said that "the president will be acquitted, and I think it will be this week."

The rules resolution passed by the Senate last week is largely silent on what happens after the witness vote. 

The only line that addresses what happens post-witness vote in the resolution reads: "At the conclusion of the deliberations by the Senate, the Senate shall vote on each article of impeachment." 

A GOP aide hedged on discussing a specific timeline, but acknowledged that members are eager to get the trial behind them. 

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Both sides could try to make motions after the failed witness vote. In former President Clinton's impeachment trial, there were two procedural votes, including a failed effort to suspend the rules, before the two votes on the articles of impeachment. Those two votes happened on Feb. 9, while Clinton's acquittal took place on Feb. 12. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senator: National shelter-in-place order would be an 'overreaction' Lawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package Cuban says he'd spank daughter if she was partying during coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans 13 things to know for today about coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.), noted that after the witnesses vote, 51 senators will have to vote to decide that it's time to move to the two articles of impeachment. 

"It'd be fine with me if we wrapped it on Friday," Cornyn said. 

McConnell has not yet said if he officially has the 51 votes to avoid new witnesses. Democrats would need four Republicans to vote with them to pave the way for additional witnesses. 

They would also need four GOP senators to support any vote on calling specific individuals. 

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Republicans are under pressure to call 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 because of his claim, in his forthcoming memoir, that Trump tied Ukraine aid to the country helping to investigate Democrats including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight Is Texas learning to love ObamaCare? Romney warns Trump: Don't interfere with coronavirus relief oversight MORE and his son Hunter Biden. 

But Republicans are voicing increased confidence that they will be able to avoid the witness fight. Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsGOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus Five things being discussed for a new coronavirus relief bill Senate GOP expects vote on third coronavirus package next week MORE (R-S.D.) told reporters he thought they would be able to bypass the messy fight. 

"I think we'll be OK," he said. 

There are several GOP senators who remain undecided on witnesses. McConnell can lose three GOP senators and still win the witness fight, as long as Chief Justice John Roberts doesn't break a tie and side with Democrats. 

Asked on Tuesday if the trial proceedings should go past Friday, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump's magical thinking won't stop the coronavirus pandemic Lawmakers brace for more coronavirus legislation after trillion bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill MORE (S.D.), another member of Senate GOP leadership, said it “shouldn’t.”

“We’re kind of confident,” Thune added.