• Sen. Lamar Alexander said he would vote against the motion to call witnesses
  • Sen. Alexander: President should not be removed from office for simply inappropriate actions
  • Democrats unlikely to have the Senate votes needed to call witnesses

Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., announced Thursday night that he will vote against a motion calling for additional witnesses into the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. The announcement puts the Senate on track to end the trial swiftly as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., now has enough votes to sink the witness vote.

"There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence,’" a statement released by Alexander said. "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 also reprimanded Trump for his inappropriate conduct of asking “foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation.”

However, the Alexander argued that merely inappropriate conduct is not enough reason for the Senate to remove the president from office and ban him from the ballot.

“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,” he said in his statement.

The decision comes asi a huge blow for the Democrats, who now lack the votes needed to call witnesses to the Senate trial. Republicans hold a 53 to 47 seat majority in the Senate, and four Republicans will have to side with the Democrats for new witnesses to be called to the trial proceedings.

The fact that Alexander is retiring at the end of his term gives him the freedom to make his decision about the vote without worrying about the political ramifications, Axios reported. The senator had gone against Trump in the past, making him a true wildcard in the Senate trial.

Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine., announced Thursday that she will be voting in favor of calling witnesses to the trial. It is likely that Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, would also vote in favor of calling witnesses.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) remains undecided and told reporters that she would be announcing her position on Friday after reflecting on what she has heard and re-reading her notes.

If the demand for new witnesses is rejected, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could most likely call for a vote to acquit the President as soon as Friday, as Republicans have a solid majority in the Senate.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said he would oppose calling new witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said he would oppose calling new witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump GETTY IMAGES / Samuel Corum