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GOP senators say Trump impeachment trial could wrap this weekend

GOP senators say Trump impeachment trial could wrap this weekend
© Greg Nash

Republicans say former President TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE's second impeachment trial could wrap as soon as this weekend if both sides agree to skip trying to call witnesses.

Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerBiden administration faces big decision on whether to wade into Dakota Access fight OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation | Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri river | White House climate adviser meets with oil and gas companies Senate GOP pushes back on list of participants in oil and gas leasing forum MORE (R-N.D.) told reporters that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Pelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' Progressives put Democrats on defense MORE (R-Ky.) updated Republicans during a closed-door lunch on the potential timeline for the trial, though Cramer stressed that it wasn't locked in.  

"The optimistic view, and I think Mitch shares this, is that we could wrap up Saturday night," Cramer said.  

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Asked if McConnell believes the trial could wrap this weekend, Cramer responded: "He does." 

The Senate is starting the first day of opening arguments on Wednesday. Under the trial's organizing resolutions, if everyone used all of their time, those would last until Saturday night. Both sides get 16 hours spread out over two days.  

After that senators will have up to four hours for questions, with both parties getting two hours. The House impeachment managers haven't ruled out trying to call witnesses, something the Senate would need to vote to approve, but if they don't, the trial could go straight to closing arguments followed by a vote on whether to convict Trump. 

Senate aides had initially viewed Tuesday, Feb. 16, as the likely day for the final vote that will end the trial, after an attorney for Trump asked to pause the trial between Friday at 5 p.m. and Sunday. Trump's team subsequently withdrew that request and the Senate is now scheduled to convene the trial on both Saturday and Sunday.  

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week Greitens Senate bid creates headache for GOP MORE (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership and close ally of McConnell's, indicated to reporters on Tuesday that he also believed the trial would wrap either on Saturday or Sunday. 

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"I think there'll be a lot of interest in getting this done by the time you get to the weekend," Blunt said. "I think it will become obvious that stretching this out in the next week doesn't change the outcome." 

The Senate has a previously scheduled recess for next week if they are able to wrap the trial in time. 

Asked about the recess, Cramer quipped: "My guess is that's a great motivator for somebody."