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Key GOP Senator Reveals He Will Vote Against New Witnesses: 'Let the People Decide'

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As of Thursday night, it appeared that the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump might come to a close soon.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a key swing vote on the decision of whether or not to call new witnesses, announced that he would vote against the additional testimony.

In a statement, Alexander said has all the evidence he needs to make up his mind in the trial.

He wrote, “There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine.”

Alexander said the House impeachment managers proved, with the evidence they had already compiled, that Trump “withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.”

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He called the second article of impeachment — regarding obstruction of Congress — “frivolous” and said there is “no need to consider” that article. 

“There is no need to consider further the frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers.” 

He continued to call Trump’s request that Ukranian officials open an investigation of Democrats inappropriate.

“It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation. When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law.”

However, while he found Trump’s actions inappropriate, Alexander said they are not impeachable and argued that voters should decide whether or not to give Trump another four years. 

“Our founding documents provide for duly elected presidents who serve with ‘the consent of the governed,’ not at the pleasure of the United States Congress. Let the people decide.”

Alexander’s decision likely means that Republicans now have the votes to avoid calling new witnesses. Senate Democrats need a simple majority, or 51 votes, to call witnesses.

Senate Republicans hold a 53-seat majority and can likely afford to suffer three defections and still block witnesses. If just three Republicans vote for new witnesses, along with every Democratic and independent senator, that would lead to a tie.

Chief Justice John Roberts, as the presiding officer, could cast the tie-breaking vote, but it is not expected that he would weigh in. 

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Susan Collins
Mary Calvert/Reuters

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement that she would vote for new witnesses, “I will vote in support of the motion to allow witnesses and documents to be subpoenaed.”

Additionally, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said he would like to hear testimony from former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she would announce her decision on Friday morning.

If the Senate rejects a measure for new witnesses, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to move quickly to hold a final vote on the articles of impeachment.

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