Senate GOP could move to quick Trump acquittal vote

Senate Republicans are eyeing a quick acquittal of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' 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 nominates controversial, longtime acting head of BLM as director | Ernst sinks vote on Trump EPA nominee | Massive dust storm from Africa hits Texas, Louisiana Ernst sinks vote on Trump EPA nominee Cruz urges Trump to support Israeli annexation 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 challenger Harrison raises record-shattering .9 million for SC Senate bid Trump renews culture war, putting GOP on edge Bubba Wallace responds to Trump: 'Even when it's HATE from the POTUS.. Love wins' 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 CornynChamber of Commerce endorses Cornyn for reelection George Floyd and the upcoming Texas Democratic Senate runoff Senators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellClash looms over next coronavirus relief bill McGrath campaign staffers to join union Romney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention 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 BoltonThe benefits of American disinterest in world affairs Release of Mary Trump's tell-all book moved up to next week Trump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP 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 BidenTucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Joe Biden wins New Jersey primary Biden wins Delaware primary 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 RoundsRepublicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names Republican rift opens up over qualified immunity for police GOP divided in fight over renaming bases 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 ThuneClash looms over next coronavirus relief bill Trump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names MORE (S.D.), another member of Senate GOP leadership, said it “shouldn’t.”

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