Senate GOP rejects witnesses in impeachment trial

Michigan’s 2 senators voted for the measure

By: and - January 31, 2020 7:01 pm

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media as National Security Adviser John Bolton listens during a meeting with President of Romania Klaus Iohannis in the Oval Office of the White House August 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted largely along party lines Friday evening to block additional witnesses and documents from being introduced in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. 

Two Republican U.S. senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah — broke ranks to vote to allow witnesses in the Senate, but the chamber’s remaining GOP members blocked the Democrats’ effort to force new testimony. The resolution to allow witness testimony failed 49-51. 

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters at the NAACP dinner | Andrew Roth

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) voted yes.

“A fair trial requires all relevant witnesses and evidence,” Stabenow wrote on Twitter Friday evening. “If President Trump’s staff has evidence of his innocence, he would have insisted that we hear from them, as we should. Senate Republicans have once again voted to hide the truth about the President’s actions.”

The vote on Friday night signals that the chamber will soon wrap up the Senate impeachment trial, where Trump is all but certain to be acquitted. Trump is slated to give his State of the Union speech on Tuesday in the U.S. House chamber. The chatter in D.C. is that the final vote is likely to be held on Wednesday.

The president did an event Thursday at a Warren auto supplier, where he celebrated his signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. But Trump railed against his Senate trial for overshadowing the bipartisan deal.


“The USMCA is the fairest, most balanced trade agreement we’ve ever signed into law,” Trump said. “What do they do? They impeach you.”

Even several vulnerable Republicans voted with their party on Friday evening.

“I do not believe we need to hear from an 18th witness,” U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) told Colorado Politics in a statement earlier this week. “I have approached every aspect of this grave constitutional duty with the respect and attention required by law, and have reached this decision after carefully weighing the House managers and defense arguments and closely reviewing the evidence from the House, which included well over 100 hours of testimony from 17 witnesses.”

Still, Democrats are sure to highlight Republicans’ votes against additional witnesses — even with new daily revelations on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine leaking out from former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book — leading up to the 2020 elections. 

Trump continued his attacks on Democrats on Twitter Friday.

“The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats keep chanting ‘fairness’, when they put on the most unfair Witch Hunt in the history of the U.S. Congress,” he wrote. “They had 17 Witnesses, we were allowed ZERO, and no lawyers. They didn’t do their job, had no case. The Dems are scamming America!”

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Robin Bravender
Robin Bravender

Robin Bravender was the States Newsroom Washington Bureau Chief from January 2019 until June 2020. She coordinated the network’s national coverage and reported on states’ congressional delegations, federal agencies, the White House and the federal courts. Prior to that, Robin was an editor and reporter at E&E News, a reporter at Politico, and a freelance producer for Reuters TV.

Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more. She previously served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 90 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 5,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 80 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two kids along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.