It appears increasingly likely the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump will conclude this weekend without witnesses to be called.
“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,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters Thursday.
The House Democrat impeachment managers wrapped up their opening statements early Thursday evening, recessing until Friday for the Trump defense team to represent its opening statement.
“I think the case has been made,” Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, told The Hill. “I don’t know what witnesses would add.”
After the defense wraps up its opening statement, rumored to be more brief than that of the House Democrats’ presentation, the Senate will have four hours of questions from Senate jurors and then up to two hours debate on whether to call witnesses, per the impeachment trial rules drawn up early this week.
“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,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told The Hill.
The former president – twice impeached and thus far once acquitted – faces an article of impeachment for incitement of insurrection and, while he is already out of office, might be disqualified from running for office in the future.
Democrats were rebuffed by a Republican majority in Trump’s first impeachment trial to call witnesses.
“That hasn’t been decided yet, if there’s a right to call witnesses or anything,” Trump defense lawyer David Schoen told reporters Thursday, per The Hill. “They have to debate that later.”
Passing on calling witnesses could lead to the trial wrapping up Saturday, according to Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.
“If [Trump’s team] rest [Friday], I think it will finish on Saturday unless there’s witnesses,” Cardin told The Hill.
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