US Senate votes against calling witnesses in Trump trial, clearing way for acquittal

The US Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump plays on a television at Malo restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa, US, January 31, 2020. — Reuters pic
The US Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump plays on a television at Malo restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa, US, January 31, 2020. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, Feb 1 — The US Senate yesterday voted against calling witnesses and collecting new evidence in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, clearing the way for Trump’s likely acquittal in the coming days.

By a vote of 51-49, the Republican-controlled Senate stopped Democrats’ drive to hear testimony from witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton, who is thought to have first-hand knowledge of the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Those actions prompted the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives to formally charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in December.

That made Trump only the third president in US history to be impeached. He denies wrongdoing and has accused Democrats of an “attempted coup.”

The Senate is almost certain to acquit Trump of the impeachment charges, as a two-thirds Senate majority is required to remove Trump and none of the chamber’s 53 Republicans have yet indicated they will vote to convict.

Trump is seeking re-election in a Nov. 3 vote. Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face him.

The timing of that final vote was unclear. Senators said it could take place any time between late yesterday and Wednesday. Republican senators had said it could come late on Friday or today. — Reuters

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