• The trial could conclude little more than a week since it began in earnest with little likelihood Trump will be forced from office
  • Trump's defense team appeared to adopt the attitude: So what if he did it? It's not grounds for removal from office
  • Democrats needed four Republicans to vote for calling witnesses

Update: 5:45 p.m. EST

The Senate voted not to seek additional witnesses or subpoena documents in President Trumps impeachment trial, opening the way for a quick vote on whether to remove the president from office.

The Senate voted 51-49 against introducing additional evidence, with Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine joining Democrats.

Republicans have been pushing for a swift end to the trial. Proceedings were then recessed for dinner.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the vote a tragedy for the country and accused the Senate of conducting a sham trial.

Update: 5:15 p.m. EST

Negotiations were underway to determine what happens next at President Trump's Senate impeachment trial.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met for several minutes after closing arguments wrapped up. Schumer then left the Senate floor to confer with fellow Democrats.

Update: 2:55 p.m. EST

House impeachment managers begged their Senate colleagues to vote in favor of a measure that would allow witnesses at President Trump's impeachment trial, saying Americans deserve to hear the truth.

The managers cited reported revelations in former national security adviser John Bolton's book in saying it is imperative key administration officials be required to testify.

Trump's legal defense team now has two hours to convince senators not to approve the measure.

Update: 1:35 p.m. EST

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Friday she plans to vote no on a motion to call witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial, dashing Democrats' hopes of getting top administration officials to testify before a vote on whether to remove President Trump from office.

Reports indicates the Senate will vote 51-49 against adding any new evidence to the record.

“The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena," Murkowski said.

Update: 12:59 p.m. EST

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters Friday every senator should be allowed to speak before a vote is taken on whether President Trump should be ousted from office.

“I believe the American people should hear what every senator thinks and why they’re voting the way they’re voting,” Schumer said.

Republicans were hoping to end the impeachment trial Friday with votes against calling witnesses and then on the articles of impeachment.

A senior administration official and a congressional official told the Washington Post a new procedural resolution could emerge including time for closing arguments, private deliberations and public speeches by the senators before a final vote is taken, similar to a supplemental resolution adopted during Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.

The administration official said that could push the final vote as late as Wednesday so as not to interfere with the Iowa caucuses Monday and Tuesday's State of the Union address.

Original story

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., may have sealed the fate of President Trump’s impeachment trial, likely ending the process Friday after four more hours of debate and a series of votes.

Alexander announced Thursday he would not support calling more witnesses, admitting Trump’s pressuring of Ukraine to investigate political opponents was “inappropriate” but not warranting removal from office.

“I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense,” Alexander said in a statement.

You can watch Friday’s proceedings below, beginning at 1 p.m. EST.

Alexander said whether to remove Trump from office should be left up to voters in November. His decision makes it likely the Senate will vote down calling new witnesses and subpoenaing new documents. Even with moderate Republicans Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and possibly Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voting with Democrats, the vote would be 50-50, which means it fails under Senate rules unless U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts weighs in – and even then, the Senate could overrule him if he supports calling witnesses.

After that, the Senate could vote on whether to acquit Trump. Democrats do not have the 67 votes necessary to remove him from office.

The four hours of debate Friday will be split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, giving the House impeachment managers one last chance to convince lawmakers to call witnesses in light of reported revelations in former national security adviser John Bolton’s book that Trump explicitly linked $391 million in military aid to Ukraine to investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

Murkowski asked Trump’s defense team why the Senate shouldn’t call Bolton. Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin answered that it would set a bad precedent, accepting what he characterized as shoddy work by House impeachment investigators.

Two key questions remain unanswered: When exactly did Trump first suspend military aid to Ukraine and when did he start seeking investigations of the Bidens? Trump’s legal team did not answer the questions but acknowledged they were unaware of any concerns about corruption in Ukraine before Biden announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The president is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. By the end of the 16-hour question period, Trump’s defense team appeared to adopt the attitude: So what if he did it? It doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment. Trump, himself, has said the Constitution gives him the power “to do whatever I want as president,” an attitude similar to Richard Nixon’s before he resigned his presidency.