Impeachment closing arguments slated to begin Friday afternoon

Senate Republicans are planning for four hours of closing arguments in President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE’s impeachment trial starting Friday afternoon.

The arguments, presented by both the House managers and Trump's defense team, would be followed by a vote on whether to call additional witnesses and then a final up-or-down vote on the two articles of impeachment.

Republicans are aiming to wrap up the trial proceedings late Friday evening or early Saturday morning, depending on how long Democrats drag out the final vote by offering amendments to the motion to move to a final vote, said Senate Republican Conference Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report Latest Trump proposal on endangered species could limit future habitat, critics say MORE (Wyo.).


Under the organizing resolution adopted by the Senate last week, House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team will each have two hours. Previous impeachment trials have allocated four hours for closing arguments.

“My understanding is essentially the closing arguments are going to be two hours for each side tomorrow afternoon, probably starting at 1 o’clock, until we’re finished with that. Then the vote would occur on the issue of witnesses,” Barrasso said at a brief press conference Thursday during a 20-minute break in the trial.

“If we are able to say, ‘No, we want to go right now to final judgment,’ then we would move in that direction and stay here until that work is decided and completed Friday evening,” he added.

Senate Republicans say they’re confident they will be able to defeat a motion to consider and debate motions for subpoenas of additional witnesses and documents.

If the motion fails on a largely party-line vote, as expected, then it will not be in order to consider subpoenas of former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement Ex-Trump adviser, impeachment witness Fiona Hill gets book deal Hannity's first book in 10 years debuts at No. 1 on Amazon MORE, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyFauci says positive White House task force reports don't always match what he hears on the ground Bottom line White House, Senate GOP clash over testing funds MORE, and other witnesses demanded by Democrats.


Asked if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' Overnight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal MORE (R-Ky.) will move immediately to an up-or-down vote on the articles of impeachment if a motion to allow additional debate and consideration of subpoenas fails, as is expected, Barrasso said, “That’s where all the momentum is right now.”

Barrasso, however, said that Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIn the next relief package Congress must fund universal COVID testing Ocasio-Cortez's 2nd grade teacher tells her 'you've got this' ahead of DNC speech New poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts MORE (D-N.Y.) could delay the final up-or-down vote by offering amendments to the motion.

He said GOP senators are committed to stay in session to table Schumer’s motion until a final vote on the articles of impeachment.

“There may be a motion that Sen. Schumer can offer amendments just like he did that first day when he introduced like 11 amendments,” Barrasso said, referring to Democrats’ effort to prolong the consideration of the organizing resolution that the Senate eventually adopted at 2 a.m. on Jan. 22.

“At some point, the Democrats will realize their motions will be defeated,” he said.


A senior Democratic aide said McConnell will likely have to advance a resolution to set the roadmap for the end of the trial akin to the organizing resolution that set up phase one.

One Democratic senator familiar with internal discussions said Schumer will not allow the final up-or-down vote to take place without a drawn-out floor fight.

“We’re thinking about those options, whether we can change the rule, what kind of motions we’re going to make. We’re are not going quietly into that good night,” the lawmaker said.

Democrats offered 11 amendments to the organizing resolution that were defeated on party-line votes. Republicans suffered only one defection when Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail' Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Trump: GOP senators who don't embrace him will 'lose their elections' MORE (R-Maine) voted to give the parties more time to respond to each other’s briefs. 

A growing number of senators on both sides of the aisle are expecting the trial to be finished by late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

Some senators have already booked plane tickets out of Washington for Saturday morning, according to a senator familiar with colleagues' travel plans.