‘I am interested in getting to the finish line tomorrow’: Republican senators hopeful for speedy acquittal

After the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) waited over a month before sending them to the Senate for trial. However, it’s beginning to look as though getting an acquittal will only take half as long.

That was the feeling expressed by Republican Sen. Roy Blunt (MO), who said Thursday, “It does look to me like we are headed toward ending this week sometime.”

Republican senators have heard enough

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) told the Washington Examiner on Thursday, “I don’t think there is anything more that needs to be said.”

The Kansas senator is retiring this year, and he’s hoping the impeachment trial doesn’t interfere with an event that has been planned this weekend in his honor. “I have about 1,000 people out in Kansas who are celebrating Pat Roberts’ 40 years of public service, and I’d like to go,” Roberts said.

North Carolinian Republican Thom Tillis also had little enthusiasm for continuing the proceedings. “This is not on top of mind,” the GOP senator explained, adding that his constituents “are over this issue.”

Drawing things to a close will require some of the so-called “moderate” Republicans who have expressed an interest in hearing from witnesses to instead vote with the rest of their party.

“I am interested in getting to the finish line tomorrow,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) declared, “whether that will be with the number of two, three, or four [senators voting], that remains to be seen.”

Alexander, Murkowski against calling witnesses

Disappointing Democrats who hoped he might be persuaded to join in their effort to extend the trial, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said Thursday he will not vote to hear from more witnesses. “There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence,'” the retiring Tennessee Republican said in a statement.

“I agree he did something inappropriate, but I don’t agree he did anything akin to treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors. I think there’s a big gap there,” Alexander explained to NPR, adding that he still supports Trump’s re-election effort.

Another moderate Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, also said Friday that she would not vote to call witnesses, leaving just Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) as likely to join the Democrats.

For his part, President Trump has been very vocal regarding impeachment in general and the calling of witnesses in particular.

On Wednesday he tweeted, “Remember Republicans, the Democrats already had 17 witnesses, we were given NONE! Witnesses are up to the House, not up to the Senate. Don’t let the Dems play you!”

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