The U.S. senate’s impeachment trial against President Donald Trump continued Tuesday, local media reported. After four hours of debate, the Senate voted 51-49 not to call witnesses.
Senate minority leader Charles Schumer said after the vote that the outcome was “a tragedy in American history, that the senate has not done its job, that a trial without witnesses is worthless, and that the President will not really be exonerated.”
The house impeachment team and trump’s lawyers spent more than four hours debating whether to call witnesses before the day’s vote.
Schiff, the top impeachment manager and chairman of the House intelligence committee, called a trial without witnesses “untenable.” As is customary in previous impeachment trials, such as the trial of former President Bill Clinton, witnesses testified. He called for key witnesses to be subpoenaed, including national security advisor John Bolton, for a week-long hearing.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers, however, are adamantly opposed to subpoenaing witnesses. They argue that if prosecution witnesses Bolton is called, as well as defense witnesses such as democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, the trial will drag on. Moreover, investigating cases is the responsibility of the house of representatives, and the Senate has no obligation to help the house investigate the truth.
The vote means senate republican leader Mitch McConnell will be able to push the trial directly into a final decision. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s acquittal is all but certain because of the Republican majority. Mr. McConnell said after the vote that he expected the entire trial “to be over in a matter of days.”
Media reports say a final ruling could be delayed until the evening of February 5 local time, after the Iowa democratic primary vote and trump’s state of the union address.
The Senate will make its closing arguments in the impeachment trial next Monday and vote on whether to exonerate trump at the trial next Wednesday, according to Republican senators.
The Iowa caucuses will begin on February 3, followed by the annual state of the union address on February 4.
House speaker Nancy pelosi, a democrat, announced the launch of a house impeachment investigation against trump in September. The house intelligence committee later launched an investigation into allegations that trump sought help from other countries to investigate political opponents to help him win re-election. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has frequently lashed out at Democrats, calling the impeachment case a “sham.”
The democratic-controlled house of representatives voted in December to approve two articles of impeachment against trump, formally accusing him of abusing his power and obstructing congress. Mr Trump became only the third President in us history to be impeached by the house of representatives.