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Effort to call new impeachment witnesses likely to fall short

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 31, 2020 - Duration: 02:31s

Effort to call new impeachment witnesses likely to fall short

Another key Republican announced opposition to calling witnesses in U.S. President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial, appearing to doom a bid by Democrats to have testimony in the trial and paving the way for Trump's expected acquittal.

Jonah Green reports.

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Effort to call new impeachment witnesses likely to fall short

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) REP.

SYLVIA GARCIA, SAYING: "How can the American people have confidence in the result of a trial without witnesses?" SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) REP.

JASON CROW, SAYING: "Do you want your place in history to be let's hear the truth?

Or that we don't want to hear it?" Democrats made a last-ditch attempt to persuade Republican senators on Friday to vote to call witnesses in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

But those efforts looked all but assured to fail as previously undecided Republicans came out against hearing new testimony.

In a statement late Thursday retiring Senator Lamar Alexander called Trump's actions inappropriate, but declared further evidence was unnecessary.

"There is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense." And on Friday Senator Lisa Murkowski said she wouldn't call for witnesses, either, arguing "I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything." Republican Senators Susan Collins and Mitt Romney did break with their party and announced support for witnesses.

But Democrats need at least two more Republicans to give them the 51 votes needed to subpoena trial testimony.

As the trial seemed winding toward an end, Democrats said new reports underscored the need to hear from at least one possible source: former national security adviser John Bolton.

The New York Times reported that in a forthcoming book, Bolton recounts that Trump directed him in May to assist in a pressure campaign to get damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials.

Bolton claimed that White House lawyer Pat Cipollone was in that meeting.

Cipollone has been defending Trump throughout his impeachment trial.

On Friday Lead House Manager Adam Schiff said the latest Bolton news proved the need for more witness testimony.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) REP.

ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: "Yet another reason why we ought to hear from witnesses.

The facts will come out.

They will continue to come out.

And the question before you today is whether they will come out in time for you to make a complete and informed judgment as to the guilt or innocence of the president." The answer to that question appears to be no.

In his statement on voting against witnesses, Senator Alexander acknowledged that the allegations against Trump had been proven.

But Alexander said that didn't warrant removal from office.

The Republican-lead Senate is expected to acquit the president no matter what happens, as a two-thirds majority is required to remove him from office.

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