No signs of demand for witnesses in Trump trial

No signs of demand for witnesses in Trump trial
© EPA-EFE/Pool

Senators aren't clamoring for either House managers or former President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE's team to request to call witnesses, as the impeachment trial appears poised to wrap in a matter of days.

Days into the proceeding, no senator has explicitly called for witnesses — a move that would drag out the trial for days if not weeks.

"I think the case has been made. I don’t know what witnesses would add," said Sen. Angus KingAngus KingOvernight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers Four senators call on Becerra to back importation of prescription drugs from Canada Senate falling behind on infrastructure MORE (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats.

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Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBottom line Kavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Key Biden ally OK with dropping transit from infrastructure package MORE (D-Del.), a close ally of President BidenJoe BidenRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Iowa governor suggests immigrants partially to blame for rising COVID-19 cases Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on MORE's, also said he did not believe there was a need for witnesses.

"I think the case that's been laid out, unlike the impeachment a year ago when relevant events and details and personalities were unknown to us," Coons said.

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinBiden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on Senators scramble to save infrastructure deal Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines MORE (D-Ill.) said that he would leave it up to the House impeachment managers but noted that there has "been a lot of witness statements that’s been taken, put on the record."

The signs that senators aren't calling for witnesses comes as they expect the trial could wrap up as soon as Saturday.

Closing arguments are expected to end Friday. After that, the Senate has up to four hours for questions from senators, and then up to two hours to debate whether to call additional witnesses.

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Neither the House managers nor Trump's legal team have closed the door to calling witnesses.

"I don't know. That hasn't been decided yet, if there's a right to call witnesses or anything. They have to debate that later," David Schoen, a member of Trump's defense team, told reporters, asked if they would try to call witnesses.

Both House managers and Trump's team can ask to call witnesses, but they need a majority of the Senate to vote in support of such a request.

Several senators said they will leave the decision up to the defense team, signaling they aren't going to push for witnesses to be called. During Trump's impeachment trial last year, Democrats made several unsuccessful attempts to call witnesses. Republicans blocked those requests.

"That's really the job of the House lawyers," said Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperNearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards The glass ceiling that diverse Senate staff still face Frustration builds as infrastructure talks drag MORE (D-Del.).

Carper said that he was "open to it," but when asked if there was someone in particular that he wanted to hear from, he added that he hadn't "given it a lot of thought."

Asked about the need for witnesses, Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichSenate panel advances controversial public lands nominee in tie vote A plan to address the growing orphaned wells crisis Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' MORE (D-N.M.) said he "would leave that up to the managers."

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer84 mayors call for immigration to be included in reconciliation Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds Could Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? MORE (D-N.Y.) said he expected a formal decision to be made after opening arguments.

"We have given the House managers a free hand and they said to us we're not sure we want [witnesses], but we want to preserve the right," Schumer told reporters during a press conference.

If the Senate doesn't call additional witnesses, the trial could quickly come to a close, with only potential deliberations and a final vote on convicting Trump left to wrap up the proceeding.

“If [Trump's team] rest tomorrow I think it will finish on Saturday unless there’s witnesses," said Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - 2024 GOPers goal: Tread carefully, don't upset Trump MORE (D-Md.).

Updated 4:29 p.m.