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 TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll 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 CramerWicker: Biden comments on Ukraine caused 'distress' for both parties Biden huddles with group of senators on Ukraine-Russia tensions Overnight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation MORE (R-N.D.) told reporters that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team McConnell says he made 'inadvertent omission' in voting remarks amid backlash These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 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 BluntThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Swalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down Johnson, Thune signal GOP's rising confidence 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. 

"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."