Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Schumer eyeing Build Back Better vote as soon as week of Dec. 13 MORE (R-Ky.) has postponed a final vote on articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE until Wednesday in the face of opposition from Senate GOP moderates to his plan to wrap up the trial Friday or Saturday without deliberations.
Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunRepublicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama Cruz, Braun slam Library of Congress for forgoing term 'illegal aliens' to suit 'progressive preference' MORE (R-Ind.), emerging from a Senate GOP conference meeting, said senators now will return to the impeachment trial at 11 a.m. Monday to deliberate with a final vote on convicting or acquitting Trump set for Wednesday.
“There was some feverish discussion,” Braun said.
Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead MORE (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, confirmed that the trial will wrap by Wednesday.
McConnell couldn’t afford to lose any votes because Democrats were unified in opposition to ending the trial by Saturday because Republicans have not allowed testimony from new witnesses such as former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonWhen will Biden declare America's 'One China, One Taiwan' policy? India's S-400 missile system problem Overnight Defense & National Security — GOP unhappy with Afghan vetting MORE.
Democrats stayed together even though Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Restless progressives eye 2024 Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Pence-linked group launches 0K ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin Senators huddle on path forward for SALT deduction in spending bill MORE (I-Vt.), and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharKlobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden renominates Powell as Fed chair MORE (D-Minn.), who are running for president, are eager to return to Iowa for the Feb. 3 caucus.
Under the deal struck by Senate Republicans they will pass the resolution detailing how the chamber navigates its way to the final votes on acquittal on Friday night. The initial rules resolution provided few details on how the trial proceeded after the witness issue was resolved.
The Senate will hear closing arguments from the House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team on Monday with both sides getting two hours each, according to the resolution.
The Senate would then adjourn the impeachment trial until 4 p.m. on Wednesday when they would move to final votes on the articles of impeachment.
As part of the agreement the Senate will not have closed-door deliberations, according to Blunt. Instead, senators will be able to give public speeches on the Senate floor on Monday through Wednesday to explain their positions, something members in both sides had privately requested.
The technicality will give Chief Justice John Roberts a break from presiding over the Senate, and, unlike the impeachment trial, senators will not have to stay in their seats for hours.
“That way senators don’t have to sit around on the floor and listen to the deliberations,” a senior Senate GOP aide said.
A Republican senator confirmed: “Just the floor is open for people to talk.”
McConnell called Trump before introducing new organizing resolution, read through the details and Trump signed off, according to a source familiar with the call.
McConnell is expected to introduce an organizing resolution on the Senate floor after dinner Friday and Senate Democrats will offer several amendments to it.
"We're going to move back to the floor ... We'll have the resolution and a handful of amendments," said Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisOvernight Defense & National Security — A new plan to treat Marines 'like human beings' Republicans press Milley over perceived progressive military agenda Gun control group alleges campaign finance violations in lawsuit against NRA MORE (R-N.C.).
Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSunday shows - Spotlight shifts to omicron variant Barrasso calls Biden's agenda 'Alice in Wonderland' logic: 'He's the Mad Hatter' Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist MORE (R-Wyo.) said he expected Democrats will offer a "number" of changes to the proposed resolution outlining how the trial will finish but that Republicans will table each of the amendments. Republicans are able to effectively pigeonhole Democratic amendments with a simple majority.
The chamber is expected to adjourn for the day at 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m., Braun estimated.
A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The omicron threat and Biden's plan to beat it Lawmakers take aim at 'Grinches' using bots to target consumers during holidays Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills MORE (D-N.Y.) said they will force votes on four amendments, and vote in lockstep against the resolution.
“Sen. McConnell and Republicans wanted to rush through an acquittal vote tonight. But Democrats wanted votes on witnesses and documents, for the House Managers to be able to make closing arguments, ample time for every member to speak, and to prevent [the] GOP from rushing this through,” the spokesman said.
The trial ground to a halt Friday afternoon after an internal Republican spat erupted over how to end the proceeding. The pushback from moderate Republicans derailed McConnell’s plan to acquit Trump late Friday or early Saturday after a marathon round of votes on Democratic procedural objections.
A senior Senate Republican aide said Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The omicron threat and Biden's plan to beat it Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo MORE (R-Maine) wanted there to be deliberations as there were in Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial.
A spokeswoman for Collins did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democrats said the delay was caused by internal GOP divisions.
“McConnell is trying to get his coalition together,” said a senior Senate GOP aide.
A Democratic senator, who requested anonymity to comment on discussions on the floor, said, “the problem is not on our side.”
Moderate Republicans who pressed McConnell to guarantee a vote on subpoenaing witnesses and documents after phase one of the trial rose up to scotch his plans to acquit Trump without deliberations, according a GOP senator familiar with internal discussions.
A group of moderates, including Sens. Collins, Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyNo deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead MORE (R-Utah), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate MORE (R-Tenn.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiCongress should reject H.R. 1619's dangerous anywhere, any place casino precedent Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks MORE (R-Alaska), met with McConnell on Friday afternoon to hash out strategy to end the trial.
A GOP aide said Romney did not have concerns about the timeline but acknowledged “other members have expressed concerns however.”
A Republican senator said the opposition of only a few fellow GOP senators was enough to derail the initial plan to acquit Trump on Friday or early Saturday.
“For us to do to what we want to do, we all got to want to do it,” the lawmaker said.
Not all of the moderates were pressing for deliberations as Alexander, who issued a statement Thursday saying Trump’s “inappropriate” action did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense, indicated he was prepared to vote immediately.
And Blunt tried to smooth over questions of GOP tension, saying he was not “aware” of any GOP senator demanding the Wednesday date for the final votes, and instead passing blame to the Democrats.
Democrats “could have stretched it until then if they wanted to and so we decided to go ahead and make an agreement,” Blunt said.
But the tensions played out on the Senate floor. McConnell and Schumer huddled together and with their top floor managers.
McConnell was also spotted chatting with a rotating cast of Republican senators, including Sens. Alexander, John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default No deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline MORE (S.D.), John CornynJohn CornynCongress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Mental health: The power of connecting requires the power of investing Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (Texas), and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE (Texas).
In response to the concerns of moderates who want to follow at least somewhat the model of the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial, which set up 25 hours of closed-door deliberations, Senate GOP leaders floated the idea of having time for deliberations starting Monday.
Under one proposal floated Friday, senators would have gotten 10 minutes each to speak on the articles of impeachment against Trump.
That idea initially failed to gain consensus support in the Senate GOP conference as many Republican senators were expecting the original plan of wrapping up the trial late Friday or early Saturday.