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Republicans appear to have votes to block witnesses, end impeachment trial

A flag flies outside the U.S. Capitol Building. (STOCK PHOTO)

Late Thursday, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, announced that he would not support a resolution calling for witnesses to be called in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump (R).

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., made the announcement ahead of Friday’s expected vote on the resolution.

“I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but 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,” he said in a statement.

Alexander is believed to be the key swing vote that will allow Republicans to defeat the motion to call witnesses and allow for the introduction of new evidence not called for in the House investigation. That vote is expected today. The acquittal of President Donald J. Trump (R) is expected to inevitably follow that vote. If witnesses are allowed this trial could drag on for weeks.

Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, is expected to vote with the GOP to bar witnesses and move on to acquittal. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, is expected to vote with the Democrats on the witness issue.

The Democratic House managers want to be able to call witnesses, particularly former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Bolton has reportedly written in his unreleased tell-all book that Trump withheld military aid to the Ukraine to force the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden (D) and his son Hunter Biden and their dealings with Ukraine while Biden was the Vice President. House Democrats claim that that constituted an impeachable abuse of power.

Trump Victory National Finance Committee member former State Representative Perry O. Hooper Jr., R-Montgomery, told the Alabama Political Reporter that this was a huge win for the President’s defense team.

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“Thank you Senator Lamar Alexander for standing up for President Donald J. Trump,” Hooper said. “Senator Alexander’s vote to not have additional witnesses kills the motion. For the motion to pass it would need 51 votes. The vote was 50:50.”

Alexander’s vote is believed to be the key swing vote that will allow the motion to carry. That vote is expected today. The acquittal of President Donald J. Trump (R) is expected to inevitably follow that vote.

“Finally the vote for acquittal will come soon and Congress will get back to work implementing the Trump agenda – infrastructure, immigration reform and affordable healthcare,” Hooper told APR.

Hooper called for Senators who are Democratic candidates for President of the United States to recuse themselves from voting on Trump’s guilt as they have a conflict of interest.

“The Democrats have a big problem on their hands,” Hooper said. “Senators. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Michael Bennet of Colorado are all running for the Democratic Party nomination for president. How could these individuals have any hope of impartiality when their vote would influence the 2020 election by removing their biggest political opponent?”

Trump is the third President of the United States to be impeached. No President has ever been convicted of anything by the Senate. Trump was impeached by the smallest margin in American history. Alexander Hamilton warned of partisan impeachment in Federalist 65.

Original reporting by the Washington Post and NBC News contributed to this report.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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