Header Ads

Breaking News

Live Updates Ahead of the Senate Vote on Impeachment

Just because it will soon be over does not mean it will actually be over. Hours before the expected Senate vote ending President Trump’s trial, a senior House Democrat indicated that he will continue the investigation on his side of the Capitol, starting with a subpoena for John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters that he would “likely” subpoena Mr. Bolton, who has confirmed in an unpublished book that Mr. Trump conditioned security aid on Ukraine’s willingness to investigate the president’s Democratic rivals, the central allegation in the trial.

“I think it’s likely, yes,” said Mr. Nadler, one of the seven House managers prosecuting the charges against Mr. Trump. “When you have a lawless president, you have to bring that to the fore, you have to spotlight that, you have to protect the Constitution despite the political consequences.”

The House asked Mr. Bolton to testify before the December impeachment vote, but he did not agree and Democrats opted not to subpoena him because it could result in a lengthy court fight. When the articles of impeachment reached the Senate, however, Mr. Bolton publicly said he would comply with a Senate subpoena and testify if called. But Senate Republicans rushed to block any new evidence from being considered, and succeeded last week in holding together enough votes to beat back a bid by Democrats to seek new testimony and documents.

It was not clear whether he would be willing to comply with a subpoena without a court fight if issued by the House outside the context of an impeachment trial. A spokeswoman for Mr. Bolton had no comment on Wednesday. Even if he did, Mr. Trump could assert executive privilege to try to block his testimony, provoking the legal battle Democrats hoped to avoid.

Senator Doug Jones, Democrat of Alabama, announced Wednesday that he planned to vote to convict President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, joining his Democratic colleagues in support of Mr. Trump’s removal.

Mr. Jones, a moderate who is facing re-election in a state the president won in 2016 by nearly 28 points, was regarded as one of the few Democrats who might break with his party and support an acquittal of the president. But on Wednesday, hours before the vote, he dashed that speculation.

“After many sleepless nights, I have reluctantly concluded that the evidence is sufficient to convict the president for both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress,” he said in a statement.

All eyes on Wednesday afternoon will be on a few moderate senators — two other Democrats and one Republican who might cross party lines on the verdict. Mr. Trump would love nothing more than to be able to trumpet a bipartisan acquittal. He has made it clear that he will not tolerate any Republican defections, hoping for monolithic opposition from his party just as he had when the House voted late last year to impeach him.

Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, has left the door open to acquittal but declined to say how he would vote. Mr. Manchin earlier in the week floated the idea of censuring the president, a largely symbolic gesture, but the idea has gained no traction in the polarized Senate. Senator Krysten Sinema of Arizona, another moderate Democrat, is also seen as a wild card.

Republicans are watching how Senator Mitt Romney of Utah will vote. He has criticized Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, and was one of only two Republican senators to vote with Democrats in an unsuccessful bid to consider hearing from additional witnesses and evidence in the trial. (The other was Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who said Tuesday that she would vote to acquit Mr. Trump.)
Emily Cochrane

The Senate is poised on Wednesday to acquit President Trump of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, casting a pair of historic votes to render a verdict in an impeachment trial that has further cleaved the two political parties and provided a bitter backdrop for the 2020 presidential campaign.

The afternoon votes are expected to fall almost entirely along party lines, with all eyes on the few moderate senators on both sides of the aisle who have left the door open to defecting. Even if they did, with the Senate’s 53 Republicans almost uniformly in opposition, Democrats pressing to remove Mr. Trump are all but certain to fall short of the two-thirds majority required under the Constitution — 67 senators, if everyone is present — to convict a president and deliver the ultimate remedy of taking him out of office.

There are two articles of impeachment. The first accuses President Trump of abuse of power, alleging that he used his office to pressuring Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election. House investigators concluded he withheld $391 million in military aid and an official visit to the White House for the country’s president as leverage to push Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals, including former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mr. Trump is also accused of obstruction of Congress for directing federal agencies and officials not to comply with the lawmakers’ inquiry or subpoenas.

The Senate is set to vote on the articles beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern.

Ahead of the votes, senators will appear on the Senate floor and explain their decisions to convict or acquit Mr. Trump.

Delivering an address from the rostrum of the House of Representatives that frequently sounded like a campaign stump speech, Mr. Trump nonetheless steered clear during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night of mentioning his impeachment trial.

That was a departure from last year, when Mr. Trump upbraided the House for what he called “ridiculous partisan investigations” and declared: “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”

It is not clear if the restraint will hold on Wednesday, after the Senate’s expected votes to acquit him. Mr. Trump told television anchors at a lunch on Tuesday at the White House that he hoped to give a second set of remarks after the impeachment saga had ended.

Mr. Trump would like to hold a news conference or give a short statement. But most of his advisers have been urging him against it, wanting to ease pressure on senators for whom the vote was politically difficult.

Normally a staid body, the Senate for the past two weeks has been roiled day after day by the impeachment trial, leaving several senators dejected and dug into their partisan corners.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, said in a speech on the Senate floor that the chamber “should be ashamed by the rank partisanship that has been on display here,” adding later: “It’s my hope that we’ve finally found bottom here.” She said she planned to acquit Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump’s likely acquittal has also left Democrats embittered about the future of the institution in which they serve. Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, said that while he wasn’t surprised by Mr. Trump’s abuse of power, he was surprised by the Senate’s “capitulation” to the president.

“Unchallenged evil spreads like a virus,” Mr. Kaine said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “We have allowed a toxic President to infect the Senate and warp its behavior.”

So where does that leave the Senate? Other senators sounded a more optimistic note.

“I think we heal in part by surprising the people and coming out from our partisan corners and getting stuff done,” Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said, citing addressing the opioid crisis and crumbling infrastructure as examples. “Stuff that they care about that affects the families we were sent here to represent.”

Source link

No comments