Democrats appear to be losing the fight for more witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
According to the Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) met Wednesday morning for 20 to 30 minutes, and agreed that the Senate would hold a vote Friday to wrap things up.
Two hours after McConnell’s meeting with Murkowski, the Senate GOP held a lunch meeting where there was reportedly no discussion of witnesses. Instead, lawmakers reportedly talked only about voting Friday to move to an up-or-down vote on the two articles of impeachment.
The only way the trial could end on Friday is if the GOP blocks a vote for more witnesses.
“We’re going to get it done by Friday, hopefully,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) following the meeting.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) sounded confident that the conference would defeat the motion to call more witnesses. “I think I can say the mood is good,” he said. “If I had to guess, no witnesses,” he added “We’ll be in a place where I think everyone is going to have their mind made up and I believe that we’ll be able to move to a verdict, and the witness question will be clear at that point.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), an outspoken advocate fore more witnesses, declined to comment as he left the lunch. He and Sen. Collins (R-ME) are perceived by many in the GOP as lost causes.
Murkowski, however, has been on the fence, and has not yet announced a decision.
Senators posed questions to the House managers and Trump’s defense lawyers during Wednesday afternoon’s impeachment session.
During a break in the proceedings, Senator Thom Thillis (R-NC) also expressed optimism that the Senate would be able to wrap things up on Friday.
“I believe that we will,” Thillis told Fox News host Bill Hemmer. “I think when we go on the motion Friday we will be successful and then we’ll move forward on the Articles of Impeachment.”
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) also was was a firm “no” on the question of calling witnesses.