McConnell appears to have the votes to set impeachment trial rules without Democratic support

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to have the votes to set the ground rules of the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump — without Democrats’ support, according to Republican senators.All McConnell needs is 51 senators — or a simple majority of the 100-member chamber — and several key Republicans. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah have said they back the leader’s approach.This is different than the Senate trial for then-President Bill Clinton in 1999, when the ground rules were set by a 100-0 vote. This time it will likely be approved on a party-line vote.Democrats want a deal up front to hear from witnesses and get documents, but McConnell says those matters should be dealt with later after opening statements.Republicans won’t act until they get the two articles of impeachment from the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has held on to them since they were voted on in the House in December. Romney said earlier Tuesday that he backs McConnell’s proposal to move forward and deal with witnesses later in the process.”I’m comfortable with that,” Romney said. He reiterated he wants witnesses to testify but said it can be dealt with later in the trial. New pressures greet Pelosi following Bolton’s willingness to testify“Certainly I’d like to see a process that allows for us to call witnesses,” Romney said.When asked if he has any concerns with McConnell coordinating with the White House on the impeachment trial, Romney said, “I’m sure the leader will provide impartial justice.”Two sources say McConnell and his deputies will move to lock in the whip count during the closed-door GOP policy lunch on Tuesday in preparation for whenever the articles are transmitted to the Senate.At this point no final decisions have been made, but as has been clear for weeks, the impasse between McConnell and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer over witnesses appears as intractable as ever.

Per: CNN

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