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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "impeachment" (Page 4)

While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168174624_765d81d7-fc4b-4b75-8d0c-a04f04985659-facebookJumbo While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Pelosi, Nancy impeachment

WASHINGTON — Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed to foresee the lesson of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. “When you strike at a king,” Emerson famously said, “you must kill him.”

Mr. Trump’s foes struck at him but did not take him down.

With the end of the impeachment trial now in sight and acquittal assured, a triumphant Mr. Trump emerges from the biggest test of his presidency emboldened, ready to claim exoneration and take his case of grievance, persecution and resentment to the campaign trail.

The president’s Democratic adversaries rolled out the biggest constitutional weapon they had and failed to defeat him, or even to force a full trial with witnesses testifying to the allegations against him. Now Mr. Trump, who has said that the Constitution “allows me to do whatever I want” and pushed so many boundaries that curtailed past presidents, has little reason to fear the legislative branch nor any inclination to reach out in conciliation.

“I don’t think in any way Trump is willing to move on,” said Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman who teaches at Princeton University. “I think he will just have been given a green light and he will claim not just acquittal but vindication and he can do those things and they can’t impeach him again. I think this is going to empower him to be much bolder. I would expect to see him even more let loose.”

Impeachment will always be a stain on Mr. Trump’s historical record, a reality that has stung him in private, according to some close to him. But he will be the first president in American history to face voters after an impeachment trial and that will give him the chance to argue for the next nine months that his enemies have spent his entire presidency plotting against him to undo the 2016 election.

“This was clearly a political coup d’état carried out by a group of people who were amazingly, openly dishonest and I think it’s going to be repudiated,” said former Speaker Newt Gingrich, a strong ally of the president’s. “He’s been beaten up for three solid years and he’s still standing. That’s an amazing achievement if you think about it.”

Even before a final vote on the impeachment charges on Wednesday, Mr. Trump has several high-profile opportunities in the next few days to begin framing the new post-trial environment to his advantage.

On Sunday, he will be interviewed by Sean Hannity of Fox News during the pregame of the Super Bowl, one of the most watched television events of the year. Then on Tuesday, he will deliver his State of the Union address from the dais in the House chamber where he was impeached in December.

A senior administration official briefing reporters on Friday said the president will use his State of the Union address to celebrate “the great American comeback” and present “a vision of relentless optimism” encouraging Congress to work with him. Mr. Trump plans to pursue an agenda of cutting taxes again, bringing down prescription drug prices, completing his trade negotiations with China and further restricting immigration.

From there, Mr. Trump will head back to the campaign trail, starting with a rally in New Hampshire on Feb. 10, the night before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary race, an effort to upstage the Democrats as they try to pick a nominee to face him in the fall.

Democrats insist that Mr. Trump has been damaged by the evidence presented to the public that he sought to use the power of his office to illicitly benefit his own re-election chances. Even as they line up to acquit him, some Senate Republicans have acknowledged that the House managers prosecuting the case proved that Mr. Trump withheld $391 million in security aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure it to announce political investigations into his domestic rivals.

But the public comes out of the impeachment trial pretty close to where it was when it started, divided starkly down the middle with somewhat more Americans against Mr. Trump than for him.

When the House impeached him in December, 47.4 percent supported the move and 46.5 percent opposed it, according to an analysis of multiple surveys by the polling analysis site FiveThirtyEight. Now as the trial wraps up, 49.5 percent favor impeachment versus 46.4 percent who do not.

Those numbers are strikingly close to the popular vote results from 2016, when Mr. Trump trailed Hillary Clinton 46 percent to 48 percent even as he prevailed in the Electoral College. That means that the public today is roughly where it was three years ago; few seem to have changed their minds. And the president has done nothing to expand his base and by traditional measures is a weak candidate for a second term, forcing him to try to pull the same Electoral College inside straight he did last time.

Mr. Trump is the only president in the history of Gallup polling who has never had the support of a majority of Americans for even a single day, a troubling indicator for re-election. Nine months is an eternity in American politics these days and, given his history, Mr. Trump could easily create another furor that will change the campaign dynamics, the economy could become an issue, and with all the accumulated allegations some analysts anticipate at a certain scandal fatigue could weigh him down.

But Mr. Trump is gambling that he can rally his most fervent supporters by making the case that he was the victim and not the villain of impeachment while keeping disenchanted supporters on board with steady economic growth, rising military spending and conservative judicial appointments. He has made clear he will paint former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as corrupt if he faces him in the fall and will assail other possible Democratic challengers as socialists.

If Mr. Trump does win a second term, it would be the first time an impeached president had the opportunity to serve five years after his trial and Mr. Trump’s critics worry that he would feel unbound. He has already used his power in ways that presidents since Richard M. Nixon considered out of line, like firing an F.B.I. director who was investigating him and browbeating the Justice Department to investigate his political foes.

While in theory nothing in the Constitution would prevent the House from impeaching him again, as a political matter that seems implausible given that he has demonstrated his complete command over congressional Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, leaving the president less to fear from a Democratic House. Some House managers warned that acquittal would lower the bar for presidential misconduct, meaning that Mr. Trump would feel even freer to use his power for his own benefit because he got away with it.

“He is going to ratchet it up to another level now,” said Anthony Scaramucci, the onetime White House communications director who has broken with Mr. Trump. “He’s going to Trump to the third power now. He’s not going to be exponential Trump because that’s not enough Trump. It’s going to be Trump to the third power.”

But in that, Mr. Scaramucci said, are the seeds of Mr. Trump’s own downfall because he could go so far that he finally alienates enough of the public to lose. “The one person who absolutely can beat Trump is Trump,” he said.

No other impeached president had the opportunity or challenge that Mr. Trump does. President Andrew Johnson, who was acquitted in 1868, was a man without a party, a Democrat who had joined the Republican Abraham Lincoln’s ticket, and was so disliked that both parties nominated other candidates shortly after his Senate trial, leaving him to finish his last 10 months in office a lame duck.

Indeed, while Johnson was not removed from office, impeachment reduced him to a shadow president, said Brenda Wineapple, author of “The Impeachers,” an account of his trial.

“The Republicans still had a majority in Congress so they could reject some of his appointments, which they did, and override his vetoes of their legislation — and they could allow the states that conformed to the Reconstruction Acts to re-enter the Union,” she said. “So in that sense, Johnson was hamstrung, if not powerless.”

Mr. Clinton was in his second term when he was impeached and acquitted, never to be on a ballot again. With nearly two years left in office, he tried to move on from his impeachment, all but pretending it had not happened. On the day of his acquittal in 1999, he appeared in the Rose Garden alone and expressed regret rather than vindication.

“I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people,” Mr. Clinton said, calling for “a time of reconciliation and renewal.”

As he turned to leave, a reporter called after him. “In your heart, sir, can you forgive and forget?”

Mr. Clinton paused as if deciding whether to take the bait, then turned and answered, “I believe any person who asks for forgiveness has to be prepared to give it.”

Mr. Clinton, who unlike Mr. Trump admitted wrongdoing without agreeing that he committed felonies, never truly forgave his opponents, or reconciled with them, but for the most part he avoided expressing those feelings publicly.

“Clinton saw the acquittal as a humbling end to that chapter and I think Trump sees it as a way to start his re-elect,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who was a top aide to Mr. Clinton. “He just wanted to shut the door on that and move on and have a fresh start. And Trump sees it as a jump start — ‘this is what I’m going to run on.’”

Mr. Clinton had some help in that Republicans themselves emerged from his trial feeling bruised by their failure to remove him and the clear public repudiation of the impeachment in polls and the midterm elections. Unlike Mr. Trump, whose approval ratings remain mired in the mid-40s, Mr. Clinton’s popularity reached its highest level during impeachment, with 73 percent of the public backing him just days after the House charged him with high crimes.

“I don’t think Clinton was emboldened. I think he was embarrassed about the mess he caused and he wanted to somehow move on and fix his own reputation,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist who was a top adviser to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert at the time.

And so did the Republicans. “I think both the president and the speaker had a vested interest in moving past impeachment to getting things done,” he said. “We were very conscious about how polarizing impeachment was and we were dedicated to healing the country and repairing the G.O.P. brand.”

That does not seem like the likeliest path forward for Mr. Trump, more of a pugilist than a peacemaker. “He’s obviously legitimately pretty angry,” said Mr. Gingrich, who was forced out as speaker after Republicans lost the midterm elections during the drive to impeach Mr. Clinton. “Given that he’s a natural counterpuncher, he may decide to go after them.”

“That’s not his best strategy,” Mr. Gingrich said. “His best strategy is to assume that the Democrats are totally out of control, that they will not be able to keep fighting. If he appears conciliatory, they’re going to very badly damage themselves with average voters who are going to say these guys are pathological.”

“He has that option,” he added. “I’m not saying he’s going to take it.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168174624_765d81d7-fc4b-4b75-8d0c-a04f04985659-facebookJumbo While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Pelosi, Nancy impeachment

WASHINGTON — Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed to foresee the lesson of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. “When you strike at a king,” Emerson famously said, “you must kill him.”

Mr. Trump’s foes struck at him but did not take him down.

With the end of the impeachment trial now in sight and acquittal assured, a triumphant Mr. Trump emerges from the biggest test of his presidency emboldened, ready to claim exoneration and take his case of grievance, persecution and resentment to the campaign trail.

The president’s Democratic adversaries rolled out the biggest constitutional weapon they had and failed to defeat him, or even to force a full trial with witnesses testifying to the allegations against him. Now Mr. Trump, who has said that the Constitution “allows me to do whatever I want” and pushed so many boundaries that curtailed past presidents, has little reason to fear the legislative branch nor any inclination to reach out in conciliation.

“I don’t think in any way Trump is willing to move on,” said Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman who teaches at Princeton University. “I think he will just have been given a green light and he will claim not just acquittal but vindication and he can do those things and they can’t impeach him again. I think this is going to empower him to be much bolder. I would expect to see him even more let loose.”

Impeachment will always be a stain on Mr. Trump’s historical record, a reality that has stung him in private, according to some close to him. But he will be the first president in American history to face voters after an impeachment trial and that will give him the chance to argue for the next nine months that his enemies have spent his entire presidency plotting against him to undo the 2016 election.

“This was clearly a political coup d’état carried out by a group of people who were amazingly, openly dishonest and I think it’s going to be repudiated,” said former Speaker Newt Gingrich, a strong ally of the president’s. “He’s been beaten up for three solid years and he’s still standing. That’s an amazing achievement if you think about it.”

Even before a final vote on the impeachment charges on Wednesday, Mr. Trump has several high-profile opportunities in the next few days to begin framing the new post-trial environment to his advantage.

On Sunday, he will be interviewed by Sean Hannity of Fox News during the pregame of the Super Bowl, one of the most watched television events of the year. Then on Tuesday, he will deliver his State of the Union address from the dais in the House chamber where he was impeached in December.

A senior administration official briefing reporters on Friday said the president will use his State of the Union address to celebrate “the great American comeback” and present “a vision of relentless optimism” encouraging Congress to work with him. Mr. Trump plans to pursue an agenda of cutting taxes again, bringing down prescription drug prices, completing his trade negotiations with China and further restricting immigration.

From there, Mr. Trump will head back to the campaign trail, starting with a rally in New Hampshire on Feb. 10, the night before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary race, an effort to upstage the Democrats as they try to pick a nominee to face him in the fall.

Democrats insist that Mr. Trump has been damaged by the evidence presented to the public that he sought to use the power of his office to illicitly benefit his own re-election chances. Even as they line up to acquit him, some Senate Republicans have acknowledged that the House managers prosecuting the case proved that Mr. Trump withheld $391 million in security aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure it to announce political investigations into his domestic rivals.

But the public comes out of the impeachment trial pretty close to where it was when it started, divided starkly down the middle with somewhat more Americans against Mr. Trump than for him.

When the House impeached him in December, 47.4 percent supported the move and 46.5 percent opposed it, according to an analysis of multiple surveys by the polling analysis site FiveThirtyEight. Now as the trial wraps up, 49.5 percent favor impeachment versus 46.4 percent who do not.

Those numbers are strikingly close to the popular vote results from 2016, when Mr. Trump trailed Hillary Clinton 46 percent to 48 percent even as he prevailed in the Electoral College. That means that the public today is roughly where it was three years ago; few seem to have changed their minds. And the president has done nothing to expand his base and by traditional measures is a weak candidate for a second term, forcing him to try to pull the same Electoral College inside straight he did last time.

Mr. Trump is the only president in the history of Gallup polling who has never had the support of a majority of Americans for even a single day, a troubling indicator for re-election. Nine months is an eternity in American politics these days and, given his history, Mr. Trump could easily create another furor that will change the campaign dynamics, the economy could become an issue, and with all the accumulated allegations some analysts anticipate at a certain scandal fatigue could weigh him down.

But Mr. Trump is gambling that he can rally his most fervent supporters by making the case that he was the victim and not the villain of impeachment while keeping disenchanted supporters on board with steady economic growth, rising military spending and conservative judicial appointments. He has made clear he will paint former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as corrupt if he faces him in the fall and will assail other possible Democratic challengers as socialists.

If Mr. Trump does win a second term, it would be the first time an impeached president had the opportunity to serve five years after his trial and Mr. Trump’s critics worry that he would feel unbound. He has already used his power in ways that presidents since Richard M. Nixon considered out of line, like firing an F.B.I. director who was investigating him and browbeating the Justice Department to investigate his political foes.

While in theory nothing in the Constitution would prevent the House from impeaching him again, as a political matter that seems implausible given that he has demonstrated his complete command over congressional Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, leaving the president less to fear from a Democratic House. Some House managers warned that acquittal would lower the bar for presidential misconduct, meaning that Mr. Trump would feel even freer to use his power for his own benefit because he got away with it.

“He is going to ratchet it up to another level now,” said Anthony Scaramucci, the onetime White House communications director who has broken with Mr. Trump. “He’s going to Trump to the third power now. He’s not going to be exponential Trump because that’s not enough Trump. It’s going to be Trump to the third power.”

But in that, Mr. Scaramucci said, are the seeds of Mr. Trump’s own downfall because he could go so far that he finally alienates enough of the public to lose. “The one person who absolutely can beat Trump is Trump,” he said.

No other impeached president had the opportunity or challenge that Mr. Trump does. President Andrew Johnson, who was acquitted in 1868, was a man without a party, a Democrat who had joined the Republican Abraham Lincoln’s ticket, and was so disliked that both parties nominated other candidates shortly after his Senate trial, leaving him to finish his last 10 months in office a lame duck.

Indeed, while Johnson was not removed from office, impeachment reduced him to a shadow president, said Brenda Wineapple, author of “The Impeachers,” an account of his trial.

“The Republicans still had a majority in Congress so they could reject some of his appointments, which they did, and override his vetoes of their legislation — and they could allow the states that conformed to the Reconstruction Acts to re-enter the Union,” she said. “So in that sense, Johnson was hamstrung, if not powerless.”

Mr. Clinton was in his second term when he was impeached and acquitted, never to be on a ballot again. With nearly two years left in office, he tried to move on from his impeachment, all but pretending it had not happened. On the day of his acquittal in 1999, he appeared in the Rose Garden alone and expressed regret rather than vindication.

“I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people,” Mr. Clinton said, calling for “a time of reconciliation and renewal.”

As he turned to leave, a reporter called after him. “In your heart, sir, can you forgive and forget?”

Mr. Clinton paused as if deciding whether to take the bait, then turned and answered, “I believe any person who asks for forgiveness has to be prepared to give it.”

Mr. Clinton, who unlike Mr. Trump admitted wrongdoing without agreeing that he committed felonies, never truly forgave his opponents, or reconciled with them, but for the most part he avoided expressing those feelings publicly.

“Clinton saw the acquittal as a humbling end to that chapter and I think Trump sees it as a way to start his re-elect,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who was a top aide to Mr. Clinton. “He just wanted to shut the door on that and move on and have a fresh start. And Trump sees it as a jump start — ‘this is what I’m going to run on.’”

Mr. Clinton had some help in that Republicans themselves emerged from his trial feeling bruised by their failure to remove him and the clear public repudiation of the impeachment in polls and the midterm elections. Unlike Mr. Trump, whose approval ratings remain mired in the mid-40s, Mr. Clinton’s popularity reached its highest level during impeachment, with 73 percent of the public backing him just days after the House charged him with high crimes.

“I don’t think Clinton was emboldened. I think he was embarrassed about the mess he caused and he wanted to somehow move on and fix his own reputation,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist who was a top adviser to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert at the time.

And so did the Republicans. “I think both the president and the speaker had a vested interest in moving past impeachment to getting things done,” he said. “We were very conscious about how polarizing impeachment was and we were dedicated to healing the country and repairing the G.O.P. brand.”

That does not seem like the likeliest path forward for Mr. Trump, more of a pugilist than a peacemaker. “He’s obviously legitimately pretty angry,” said Mr. Gingrich, who was forced out as speaker after Republicans lost the midterm elections during the drive to impeach Mr. Clinton. “Given that he’s a natural counterpuncher, he may decide to go after them.”

“That’s not his best strategy,” Mr. Gingrich said. “His best strategy is to assume that the Democrats are totally out of control, that they will not be able to keep fighting. If he appears conciliatory, they’re going to very badly damage themselves with average voters who are going to say these guys are pathological.”

“He has that option,” he added. “I’m not saying he’s going to take it.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Republicans Block Impeachment Witnesses, Clearing Path for Trump Acquittal

WASHINGTON — The Senate brought President Trump to the brink of acquittal on Friday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress, as Republicans voted to block consideration of new witnesses and documents in his impeachment trial and shut down a final push by Democrats to bolster their case for the president’s removal.

In a nearly party-line vote after a bitter debate, Democrats failed to win support from the four Republicans they needed. With Mr. Trump’s acquittal virtually certain, the president’s allies rallied to his defense, even as some conceded he was guilty of the central allegations against him.

The Democrats’ push for more witnesses and documents failed 49 to 51, with only two Republicans joining Democrats in favor. A vote on the verdict is planned for Wednesday.

As they approached the final stage of the third presidential impeachment proceeding in United States history, Democrats condemned the witness vote and said it would render Mr. Trump’s trial illegitimate and his acquittal meaningless.

“America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, when the Senate turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “If the president is acquitted, with no witnesses, no documents, the acquittal will have no value because Americans will know that this trial was not a real trial.”

Even as they prepared to vote against removing him, several Republicans broke with Mr. Trump’s repeated assertions that he had done nothing wrong, saying they believed he had committed the main offense of which he was accused: withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

Still, those Republicans said, they were unwilling to remove a president fewer than 10 months before he is to face voters.

“If you are persuaded that he did it, why do you need more witnesses?” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, a critical swing vote on the issue whose late decision to oppose considering new evidence all but sealed Mr. Trump’s swift acquittal. “The country is not going to accept being told that they can’t elect the president they want to elect in the week the election starts by a majority for a merely inappropriate telephone call or action.”

“You don’t apply capital punishment for every offense,” Mr. Alexander added.

The vote signaled the end of a saga that has consumed Washington and threatened Mr. Trump’s hold on the presidency for the past five months, since the emergence in September of an anonymous whistle-blower complaint accusing him of using the levers of government to push Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

Senators laid the groundwork for rendering their verdict on Wednesday afternoon, with plans to recess the trial for the weekend and return Monday for closing arguments. The timetable will rob Mr. Trump of the opportunity to use his State of the Union address, scheduled for Tuesday night, to boast about his acquittal, a prospect he has relished for several weeks. Instead, he will become only the second president to deliver the speech, before a joint session of Congress, during his own impeachment trial.

At the White House, Mr. Trump raged against a process he has dismissed from the start as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax,” preparing to make his defiance in the face of Democrats’ attempts to remove him a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.

“No matter what you give to the Democrats, in the end, they will NEVER be satisfied,” the president wrote Friday night on Twitter. “In the House, they gave us NOTHING!”

The outcome of the vote, however, was not in doubt. It would take a two-thirds majority — 67 senators — to convict Mr. Trump and remove him from office.

The president has insisted that he did nothing wrong, calling his telephone conversation with the president of Ukraine “perfect” and the impeachment inquiry a “sham.” For months, he has demanded that his allies deliver nothing less than an absolute defense of his actions. But even as they were poised to acquit him, several Republicans said that was not so.

Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said that “some of the president’s actions in this case — including asking a foreign country to investigate a potential political opponent and the delay of aid to Ukraine — were wrong and inappropriate.”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who challenged Mr. Trump for the Republican nomination in 2016, suggested that he did not necessarily consider the president innocent, either.

“Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office,” he said. “I will not vote to remove the president because doing so would inflict extraordinary and potentially irreparable damage to our already divided nation.”

Video

transcript

Impeachment Trial Highlights: A Showdown Over Calling Witnesses

Senators rejected a call for additional witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, dealing a fatal blow to efforts by Democrats to bring about new evidence.

“Mr. Blunt?” “No.” “No.” “Mr. Booker?” “Yes.” “Aye.” “Mr. Boozman?” “No.” “No.” “Are there any senators in the chamber wishing to change his or her vote? If not, the yeas are 49, the nays are 51. The motion is not agreed to.” “This will set a new precedent. This will be cited in impeachment trials from this point to the end of history. The documents the president is hiding will come out. The witnesses the president is concealing will tell their stories. And we will be asked why we didn’t want to hear that information when we had the chance.” “There is a way to decide right up front in some quick way whether there’s really a triable issue, whether you really need to go to all the trouble of calling in new witnesses and having more evidence in something like that.” “It’s not just about hearing from witnesses. You need documents. The documents don’t lie.” “The question here before this body is, what do you want your place in history to be? Do you want your place in history to be, let’s hear the truth? Or that we don’t want to hear it?” “You did hear evidence. You heard evidence from 13 different witnesses, 192 video clips, and as my colleague the deputy White House counsel said, over 28,000 pages of documents.”

Westlake Legal Group 31dc-mcconnell-videoSixteenByNine3000 Republicans Block Impeachment Witnesses, Clearing Path for Trump Acquittal United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Schiff, Adam B Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment Democratic Party Collins, Susan M Alexander, Lamar

Senators rejected a call for additional witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, dealing a fatal blow to efforts by Democrats to bring about new evidence.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Reflecting the depth of the country’s divisions, both sides were already looking past the trial to begin framing the fight over Mr. Trump’s conduct ahead of the November election, starting on Monday, when the Iowa caucuses will be held, marking the first voting in a contest that will deliver the final verdict on his fitness for office.

With the threat of conviction removed, Mr. Trump enters the election season as the first impeached president in modern history to face the voters for re-election, and damaged by the revelations about his conduct. But his expected acquittal is also likely to leave the president emboldened and more determined than ever to stoke voters’ anger and grievances, arguing that Democrats, unelected bureaucrats and the mainstream news media have targeted him because of their disdain for his core supporters, and that his fight for political survival is theirs as well.

“I don’t think he acted improperly,” said Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota. “For three-plus years, Democrats have been trying to parse every one of his words, add their traditional view and find themselves often perplexed. Part of the problem is that most of America likes the straight talk and occasionally forgives if he doesn’t say exactly the right thing.”

Democrats, too, planned to capitalize on the battle scars from the impeachment fight to target Republicans, appealing to voters to punish them for refusing to press for a more thorough trial and ultimately sticking with Mr. Trump despite evidence of his misdeeds. But they faced the risks of a potential backlash by voters to a process that highlighted deep partisan divisions.

After resisting impeachment for months, Speaker Nancy Pelosi embraced it after the Ukraine allegations last fall. In doing so, she calculated that her party could not fail to act against a president whose actions they saw as clearly beyond the pale. But she confronted what she knew to be an unmovable reality in the Senate, where Democrats were certain to fall far short of removing him.

Republicans in the Senate made a wager of their own that it was better to withstand the short-term criticisms of Democrats and potentially constituents to quickly put the trial behind them than, rather than allow the proceeding to stretch on risking damaging new revelations. In doing so, they are strapping their political fate to that of a polarizing president who enjoys unparalleled loyalty among conservative voters.

The Republican victory was sealed just moments after the debate was gaveled open on Friday when Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, issued a statement saying that a vote for additional witnesses would only extend what she called a “partisan” impeachment, even as she lamented that the Senate trial had not been fair and Congress had failed its obligation to the country. Her announcement followed a similar one by Mr. Alexander.

Two Republicans senators — Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine — broke ranks with their party and voted with Democrats in their demand for additional testimony from witnesses.

Ms. Murkowski did not indicate how she would vote on the final articles of impeachment, which she denounced as “rushed and flawed” by the House. But she offered an unusually sharp rebuke of the institution in which she serves, appearing to cast blame on both parties and both chambers of Congress for letting excessive partisanship overtake a solemn responsibility, even as she sided with her own party.

“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate,” she said in a statement Friday morning. “I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything.”

“It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed,” she added

Speaking from the well of the Senate, the Democratic House managers made a final, urgent appeal for additional witnesses during their two-hour presentation on Friday, warning senators that a refusal to hear new evidence would ensure that Mr. Trump is never held accountable even as it undermines the nation’s democratic order and the public’s faith in the institutions of government.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House manager, seized on a New York Times report published in the hours before the vote to hammer home his point. The story revealed that Mr. Trump had asked John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser, last may to assist in his pressure campaign on Ukraine.

“The facts will come — out in all of their horror, they will come out,” Mr. Schiff said. “The witnesses the president is concealing will tell their stories,” he said. “And we will be asked why we didn’t want to hear that information when we had the chance. What answer shall we give if we do not pursue the truth now?”

Mr. Trump’s defense team vigorously argued in the opposite direction, alternately telling senators they already had all the evidence they needed to dismiss thee charged before them and warning that calling new witnesses would set a dangerous precedent of its own by validating a rushed and incomplete case presented by the House.

“The Senate is not here to do the investigatory work that the House didn’t do,” said Patrick Philbin, the deputy White House counsel.

Reporting was contributed by Carl Hulse, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Catie Edmondson, Emily Cochrane and Patricia Mazzei.

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Giuliani Sought Help for Client in Meeting With Ukrainian Official

Westlake Legal Group 31Klitschko-facebookJumbo Giuliani Sought Help for Client in Meeting With Ukrainian Official Zelensky, Volodymyr United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United States Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Poroshenko, Petro Olekseyevich KIEV, Ukraine impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Foreign Aid Corruption (Institutional)

KYIV, Ukraine — When Rudolph W. Giuliani met with a top aide to Ukraine’s president last summer, he discussed the prospect of a coveted White House meeting for the president while seeking Ukraine’s commitment to certain investigations that could benefit President Trump politically.

Mr. Giuliani also threw in a request of his own: help the mayor of Kyiv keep his job.

The mayor, Vitaliy Klitschko, a professional boxer turned politician and longtime friend and former client of Mr. Giuliani’s, was on the verge of being fired from his duties overseeing Kyiv’s $2 billion budget.

Firing Mr. Klitschko would have fit with President Volodymyr Zelensky’s campaign promise to fight Ukraine’s entrenched interests and allowed him to replace a political adversary with a loyalist in one of the country’s most important posts.

But despite the fact that Mr. Zelensky’s cabinet approved Mr. Klitschko’s removal, he remains there today, leaving his adversaries in the murky and lucrative world of Ukrainian municipal politics to wonder whether Mr. Trump’s personal attorney may have tipped the scales in his favor.

“The coincidence in timing between Klitschko’s meeting with Giuliani and the developments in the governance of Kyiv was striking,” said Oleksandr Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament whom Mr. Zelensky had been expected to nominate as Mr. Klitschko’s replacement.

Mr. Giuliani’s effort to help his friend and former client, first reported in The Washington Post, shed fresh light on the former New York mayor’s mingling of personal, business and political interests with his role as personal attorney to the president of the United States.

In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Giuliani acknowledged discussing Mr. Klitschko’s position in a meeting with a senior aide to Mr. Zelensky, Andriy Yermak, in Madrid on Aug. 2.

“I said, ‘I don’t know, I’m from the outside, but he seems like one of the good guys,’” Mr. Giuliani said, recalling the conversation. “‘And I’m speaking, speaking, speaking as a personal friend, not as a representative of the government or anything else.’”

In the same meeting, Mr. Giuliani discussed a possible Oval Office visit by Mr. Zelensky that the Ukrainian president had been seeking, and asked for a commitment by his government to pursue investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his son, and Ukrainians who disseminated damaging information about Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The meeting took place at a time when Ukraine’s new president was looking to cement support from the United States, his country’s most powerful ally in the conflict against Russia, and to build a relationship with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Giuliani said that he made it clear that he was relating his personal view of Mr. Klitschko, not that of the administration. “I gave it as my opinion — not the government — and based on our personal relationships,” he said.

Mr. Yermak also acknowledged that the two discussed Mr. Klitschko’s fate.

“Giuliani asked for my opinion about Vitaliy Klitschko as a mayor,” Mr. Yermak said in a statement in response to an inquiry from The Times. “He immediately issued the disclaimer that I should not see his question as an attempt to influence me.”

Mr. Yermak said he told Mr. Giuliani that he had long known Mr. Klitschko and that he had the support of Kyiv’s citizens.

“That was the end of our conversation about Klitschko,” Mr. Yermak said. “As a result I reject any speculation that Mr. Giuliani in any way sought to influence my opinion or to make me accept some narrative regarding Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko.”

Given the complex and opaque nature of Ukrainian politics, it is not clear whether Mr. Giuliani’s intervention was the decisive force allowing the mayor to keep his job.

But it is clear that he tried.

Mr. Klitschko, a former heavyweight world boxing champion, first hired Mr. Giuliani as a consultant for his unsuccessful run for mayor of Kyiv in 2008.

Since 2014, Mr. Klitschko has held dual roles: both the largely ceremonial, elected position of Kyiv mayor and the powerful position of head of Kyiv’s city-state administration, an appointment made by the Ukrainian president. The latter position gives him oversight of matters such as the city budget, building permits and transportation funds, making him one of the most powerful people in the country.

Mr. Klitschko supported Mr. Zelensky’s opponent, the incumbent Petro O. Poroshenko, in last spring’s presidential election in Ukraine. Mr. Zelensky’s landslide victory appeared to augur Mr. Klitschko’s political demise.

Mr. Zelensky, a comedian, had frequently lampooned Mr. Klitschko on his Saturday Night Live-style variety show, portraying him as a dunderheaded member of Ukraine’s shadowy, corrupt elite. In one skit, Mr. Zelensky played a translator to a boxing-belt-wearing Mr. Klitschko, who is unable to string together an intelligible sentence.

After taking power in May, Mr. Zelensky had no way to remove Mr. Klitschko as mayor but could strip him of the more influential post as head of the Kyiv administration. Ukrainian politicians and analysts expected him to do so.

A confidante of Mr. Klitschko’s, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was concerned about harm to his business if he spoke publicly, said that by the end of July, “it was clear that only outside interference, say the president of the United States or anyone on his behalf,” could save Mr. Klitschko from dismissal. As the power struggle escalated, Mr. Klitschko flew to New York to meet with Mr. Giuliani.

On July 30, in an apparent prelude to the dismissal, Mr. Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Bohdan, called a news conference and accused Mr. Klitschko of allowing corruption to flourish in Kyiv. Without offering evidence, Mr. Bohdan said he had been offered a $20 million bribe for Mr. Klitschko to remain head of the Kyiv administration.

The next day, Mr. Klitschko posted photographs on Facebook of his meeting with Mr. Giuliani, his “old friend and one of the most authoritative mayors in the world.” The two discussed “the situation in Ukraine,” he said, “future cooperation between the United States and Ukraine,” and the topic of “local self-rule” — an apparent reference to Mr. Klitschko’s battle to hold on to power at home.

Upon returning to Kyiv, Mr. Klitschko told his aides that his American allies would help him keep his job, according to several people who heard him make the comments in staff meetings and who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are still involved in municipal politics and were afraid to be identified when discussing issues related to Mr. Klitschko.

“That’s ridiculous,” Mr. Klitschko said in a statement on Friday. Asked about the meeting with Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Klitschko said, “I did not ask anyone for any assistance.”

Mr. Klitschko said he had never had a business relationship with Mr. Giuliani, a claim contradicted by Mr. Giuliani, who consulted for the former boxer’s 2008 campaign. Mr. Giuliani said that he had not formally represented Mr. Klitschko in years, “even though I still advise him.”

But two days later, Mr. Giuliani was speaking about Mr. Klitschko to Mr. Yermak in Madrid.

On Sept. 4, Mr. Zelensky’s cabinet approved the dismissal of Mr. Klitschko as head of the Kyiv administration.

But on Sept. 6, Mr. Giuliani fired off a tweet: “Reducing the power of Mayor Klitschko of Kiev was a very bad sign particularly based on the advice of an aide to the President of Ukraine who has the reputation of being a fixer. The former champion is very much admired and respected in the US.”

The tweet came as Mr. Zelensky was scrambling to stabilize his relationship with Mr. Trump after finding out that American military aid to Kyiv had been halted for unexplained reasons.

The last step needed to make the dismissal official was Mr. Zelensky’s signature on the dismissal — a formality, it seemed, since it was Mr. Zelensky’s office that had sought approval for the firing in the first place.

But the signature never came.

Asked by reporters in October, Mr. Zelensky said that he was still thinking about whether or not to sign.

“When a controversial issue arises, he tries to balance various interests,” a Kyiv political analyst, Volodymyr Fesenko, said of Mr. Zelensky’s unexpected reprieve. “He decided not to make a sudden move.”

Aside from any influence Mr. Giuliani may have had, Mr. Fesenko points to a power struggle within different factions in Mr. Zelensky’s administration as another factor, along with Mr. Zelensky’s own dwindling political capital amid intense criticism from domestic political opponents that he was too soft on Russia.

Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Klitschko declined to comment on the Madrid meeting between Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Yermak, or on why Mr. Zelensky decided to keep him in office. He described Mr. Giuliani as “a big friend of Ukraine and one of the most successful mayors of the world.”

Mr. Giuliani himself became a fraught figure in Ukraine as the impeachment investigation unfolded on Capitol Hill.

“Starting in late September, the Giuliani issue became very toxic,” Mr. Fesenko said. “It seemed Klitschko’s team stopped pushing the relationship with Giuliani.”

Ronen Bergman and Anton Troianovski reported from Kyiv, and Kenneth P. Vogel from Washington.

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3 Takeaways from Today’s Trump Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group 31dc-takeaways-facebookJumbo 3 Takeaways from Today's Trump Impeachment Trial Zelensky, Volodymyr Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schiff, Adam B Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Rubio, Marco Republican Party Putin, Vladimir V Presidential Election of 2020 Portman, Rob Murkowski, Lisa Kelly, John F (1950- ) impeachment House of Representatives Giuliani, Rudolph W Democratic Party Cipollone, Pat A Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — After 10 days of arguments and deliberations, the Senate voted against hearing from new witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, signaling a vote to acquit him would likely come in the coming days.

House impeachment managers and President Trump’s defense team made their final arguments for and against hearing from new witnesses as the Senate trial entered its final stages on Friday before the evening vote. Not long before the session started, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, announced that she would vote against a measure to hear new witnesses erasing any doubt that the Republicans would have the support to end the trial without considering new material.

Here are five key takeaways from the afternoon.

In a nearly party-line vote, the Senate decided not to hear testimony from witnesses or review evidence before it moves to vote on whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office.

The 51-49 outcome was not surprising and paved the way for the Senate to acquit Mr. Trump. Senate leaders are negotiating over the next steps to end the trial.

Many of the arguments from the House managers over the past two weeks have been centered on the importance of hearing from witnesses, like Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, who has firsthand accounts of Mr. Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine.

Two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, voted in favor of hearing witnesses, as they had signaled ahead of the trial.

Democrats have said that a trial without witnesses and documents is not a fair one. Republicans said that they did not need to hear any additional information and that the Democrats brought a weak case.

The top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, said the trial was a sham and a tragedy.

“To not allow a witness, a document — no witnesses, no documents — in an impeachment trial is a perfidy,” Mr. Schumer said after the vote. “America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities.”

In the hours before the vote, House impeachment managers made their final plea, citing a New York Times report that published about an hour before the trial started.

The report, which draws from new details from an upcoming book by Mr. Bolton, shows that Mr. Trump had a direct role in the Ukraine pressure campaign earlier than previously known, and senior White House advisers were aware of it.

“Yet another reason why we want to hear from witnesses,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead manager.

In the book, Mr. Bolton describes a meeting in early May at which Mr. Trump instructed him to call President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to press him to meet with Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. According to the book, one of Mr. Trump’s defense lawyers for the impeachment trial, Pat Cipollone, was also in the meeting, which took place months before Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky spoke by phone on July 25. That conversation ultimately set the impeachment proceedings in motion.

The fight over witnesses had largely been an argument about hearing testimony from Mr. Bolton, particularly as details about what he knows of Mr. Trump’s motives and his efforts to pressure Ukraine emerged in the past week.

Mr. Trump blocked Mr. Bolton from testifying in the House impeachment inquiry, but Mr. Bolton has said he would comply with a subpoena to testify during the Senate trial.

Even before the Senate trial resumed on Friday, some Republican senators announced their plans to vote to acquit Mr. Trump, and there was noticeably less note-taking in the Senate chamber compared with previous days of the trial.

“Can anyone doubt that at least half of the country would view his removal as illegitimate — as nothing short of a coup d’état?” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, wrote in a statement on Friday.

His decision, he said, was made out of concern of further dividing the country.

Mr. Rubio added that if the president was removed from office, it would be a victory for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“It is difficult to conceive of any scheme Putin could undertake that would undermine confidence in our democracy more than removal would,” he wrote.

Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said that he did find some of Mr. Trump’s actions “wrong and inappropriate,” but he wanted to leave it to voters decide on a verdict in November.

“Our country is already too deeply divided and we should be working to heal wounds, not create new ones,” Mr. Portman said in a statement.

“It seems it was half a trial,” said John F. Kelly, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, hours before the Senate officially voted.

“If I was advising the United States Senate, I would say, ‘If you don’t respond to 75 percent of the American voters and have witnesses, it’s a job only half-done,’” Mr. Kelly said, ahead of delivering a speech in New Jersey on Friday. “You open yourself up forever as a Senate that shirks its responsibilities.”

Mr. Kelly appeared to be referring to a recent national poll from Quinnipiac University, which found that 75 percent of independents think witnesses should testify. The independent vote is expected to be a critical one in November.

A retired four-star Marine general, Mr. Kelly was well-liked in the Senate — he was confirmed with bipartisan support to be Mr. Trump’s first homeland security secretary — which made his criticism on Friday even more pointed. He was later drafted to be the president’s chief of staff with the hope he would bring order to a White House defined by chaos.

Earlier this week, Mr. Kelly said he believed Mr. Bolton’s account of the president’s dealings with Ukraine, which the president has denied.

“If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton,” he said on Tuesday.

Mr. Kelly and Mr. Bolton overlapped at the White House for much of 2018 but were not always in lock step. On Friday, Mr. Kelly described Mr. Bolton as “an honest and an honorable guy,” and “a copious note-taker.”

Senators will vote at 4 p.m. on Wednesday to render a verdict in President Trump’s impeachment trial. But before then, they will vote on procedural motions on Friday and return at 11 a.m. on Monday to give closing arguments, senators said. They will also have a chance to give floor speeches on Tuesday before the Wednesday vote.

“I’d rather conclude it right away,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri. But the rules allowed for more time, and Democrats insisted, he added.

“It gives everybody the flexibility if they need to go somewhere over the weekend,” said Senator Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana.

The schedule means Mr. Trump would deliver the State of the Union address Tuesday night with his all but certain acquittal pending.

For the four senators running for the Democratic nomination to face Mr. Trump in November, it will be a busy few days as they rush to Iowa ahead of the caucuses there on Monday before needing to return to Washington for the closing phase of the trial.

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Lamar Alexander Says Convicting Trump Would ‘Pour Gasoline on Cultural Fires’

Westlake Legal Group 31dc-alexander1-facebookJumbo Lamar Alexander Says Convicting Trump Would ‘Pour Gasoline on Cultural Fires’ United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Schumer, Charles E Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Murkowski, Lisa impeachment Democratic Party Constitution (US) Alexander, Lamar

WASHINGTON — As he weighed the evidence against President Trump, Senator Lamar Alexander reached an unavoidable conclusion: Mr. Trump had done what he was accused of, pressuring a foreign power to investigate his political rival. But however inappropriate his conduct, another conviction overrode the first: Americans would not tolerate the Senate stepping in to substitute its own judgment for that of the voters fewer than 10 months before the next election.

“The Senate reflects the country, and the country is as divided as it has been for a long time,” Mr. Alexander said Friday during an interview in his Capitol office. “For the Senate to tear up the ballots in this election and say President Trump couldn’t be on it, the country probably wouldn’t accept that. It would just pour gasoline on cultural fires that are burning out there.”

With that logic, Mr. Alexander delivered a victory to Mr. Trump — and to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, with whom Mr. Alexander has been friends for more than a half-century. In announcing he would vote to block witnesses at Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, he set Mr. Trump on a quick course to his inevitable acquittal.

Many Republicans appeared to be following Mr. Alexander’s lead on Friday, saying the Tennessee senator had echoed the feelings of their caucus — and the country.

“Long story short, @SenatorAlexander most likely expressed the sentiments of the country as a whole as well as any single Senator possibly could,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a close ally of Mr. Trump’s, wrote on Twitter. “Those who hate Trump and wish to take the voters choice away in an unfounded manner, Sen. Alexander rightly rejected their arguments.”

Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, put it this way: “Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us.”

Mr. Alexander could easily have gone the other way. He is retiring from the Senate and free to vote as he pleases without political consequences. And he said in the interview that Mr. Trump had done exactly what Democrats had accused him of doing: He withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate his political rival — a move he could not condone.

“I think he did something that was clearly inappropriate,” Mr. Alexander said. “I think it is inappropriate for the president to ask the leader of a foreign nation to investigate a leading political rival, which the president says he did. I think it is inappropriate at least in part to withhold aid to encourage that investigation.”

“But that is not treason, that is not bribery, that is not a high crime and misdemeanor,” he added, listing the criteria enumerated in the Constitution for impeachable offenses.

It is hardly a surprise that Mr. Alexander is effectively coming down on both sides. Widely respected as a Senate “institutionalist” — a guardian of its traditions — he is a product of a bygone time in Republican politics: the pre-Trump era, when lawmakers worked across the political aisle to forge consensus on matters of national importance.

A former governor, university president and secretary of education, Mr. Alexander has modeled himself on Senator Howard R. Baker Jr., another Tennessee Republican, who turned against President Richard M. Nixon during Watergate. Mr. Baker, who died in 2014, introduced Mr. Alexander to Mr. McConnell in 1969, when Mr. Alexander was an aide in the Nixon White House and Mr. McConnell was a legislative assistant to a Kentucky senator.

Few friendships in the Capitol have been as enduring as theirs. Today Mr. McConnell calls Mr. Alexander “my best friend in the Senate.” But Mr. Alexander said he did not give Mr. McConnell — whom he described, aptly, as “a person of few words” — advance notice of his vote.

“I know what he thinks, and he knows that is not the way to influence my decisions,” Mr. Alexander said.

Yet Mr. McConnell did not really have to ask. Although Mr. Alexander was lumped in with three other Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — who had expressed openness to witnesses, it was clear early on that he was unlikely to vote to include them.

Those close to him say he does not relish shaking things up.

“I think that Lamar has been able to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the new administration because Lamar is very wise in how he shares, when he shares, any disagreement or policy difference he might have with the administration,” said Tom Griscom, a close friend of Mr. Alexander’s who worked as Mr. Baker’s press secretary. “He’s not looking to be out on the front edge of it.”

Another close friend, Tom Ingram, who ran Mr. Alexander’s Senate races and served as his chief of staff, said he was not surprised by Mr. Alexander’s decision. He said Mr. Alexander was troubled by what he regarded as a highly partisan impeachment process in the House, and wanted to assure that the Senate gave it thorough consideration, which was why he had expressed openness to witnesses.

“Knowing the reverence he holds for the presidency — the office, not the person — and for the Senate process and how seriously he takes impeachment, it was going to have to be very clear in his mind that the offense clearly fit the high bar set in the Constitution.”

With 47 Democratic votes (including those of two independents who caucus with them), Senate Democrats would need four Republicans to cross party lines in order to force the Senate to subpoena witnesses and fresh documents. In the end, it appears, they will fall short by two. Ms. Collins and Mr. Romney have said they will vote in favor of witnesses.

A little more than 12 hours after Mr. Alexander had declared his intentions, Ms. Murkowski said Friday that she, too, would vote against.

“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate,” she said in a statement. “I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything.”

“It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed,” Ms. Murkowski added.

Unlike Mr. Alexander, she did not pass judgment on Mr. Trump’s behavior. Mr. Alexander’s decision to do so gave Democrats a boost.

“He came to the wrong conclusions about hearing evidence in this trial, that’s clear,” Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, told reporters on Friday. “But Senator Alexander, a senior Senate Republican, a retiring member, said out loud what I think most Senate Republicans believe in private: That yes, the president did withhold military assistance to try to get Ukraine to help with his election.”

Even so, Mr. Alexander told NPR that he supported Mr. Trump’s re-election.

In the interview with The New York Times, he said voters should take the charges against Mr. Trump into account, but offered a pointed contrast between the president and his would-be Democratic challengers, specifically mentioning Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, an icon of the progressive left who is a leading contender in her party’s nominating contest.

“Whatever you think of his behavior,” Mr. Alexander said of Mr. Trump, “with the terrific economy, with conservative judges, with fewer regulations, you add in there an inappropriate call with the president of Ukraine, and you decide if your prefer him or Elizabeth Warren.”

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Lamar Alexander, Key G.O.P. Senator, Plans to Oppose Move for New Evidence

WASHINGTON — Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said late Thursday that although he believed that Democrats had proved their case that President Trump acted “inappropriately” in his dealings with Ukraine, he did not think the president’s actions were impeachable and would vote against considering new evidence in the impeachment trial.

Mr. Alexander’s statement was a strong indication that Republicans had lined up the votes to block a call for more witnesses and documents on Friday and press toward a quick acquittal in the third presidential impeachment trial in history. His opposition was a significant victory for the White House and Republican leaders.

“The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did,” Mr. Alexander said in a late-night statement after the conclusion of a second marathon day of questioning by senators. “I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday.”

In announcing his stance, Mr. Alexander effectively conceded that the president had engaged in a corrupt effort to leverage taxpayer money to advance his own political objectives — the basis of the abuse-of-power charge against him — but said he had concluded such actions were not impeachable. He called the second charge, obstruction of Congress, “frivolous.”

“It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation,” he said in a statement released at 11 p.m. “When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.”

His announcement capped a day of intense lobbying both on the floor of the Senate and off as each side sought to appeal to a shrinking group of undecided Republicans. Shortly before Mr. Alexander declared his intentions, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, another moderate, became the second Republican to say definitively that she would vote in favor of considering new evidence, after Senator Mitt Romney of Utah.

Video

transcript

Questions at Impeachment Trial on Witnesses and Whistle-Blower

On their last day of questioning in the impeachment trial of President Trump, senators put Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the middle of the fray.

“Senator from Kentucky?” “I have a question to present to the desk for the House manager Schiff and for the president’s counsel.” “Thank you.” “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.” “The question from Senator Warren is for the House managers: At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?” “I don’t think a trial without witnesses reflects adversely on the chief justice. I do think it reflects adversely on us.” “Senators for both parties —” “Senator from South Dakota —” “The question from Senator Portman —” “The senator from Wisconsin —” “Senator Brown and Wyden —” “Mr. Chief Justice.” “Senator from Alaska?” “May I send a question to the desk?” “Thank you.” “Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?” “The House could have pursued Ambassador Bolton. The House considered whether or not they would try to have him come testify and subpoena him. They chose not to subpoena him. And it will do grave damage to this body as an institution to say that the proceedings in the House don’t have to really be complete — you don’t have to subpoena the witnesses that you think are necessary to prove your case, you don’t really have to put it all together before you bring the package here, even when you’re impeaching the president of the United States, the gravest impeachment that they could possibly consider.”

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168116028_c2803c0d-03b1-4ab8-81be-491741fcef9a-videoSixteenByNine3000 Lamar Alexander, Key G.O.P. Senator, Plans to Oppose Move for New Evidence United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Romney, Mitt Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Pelosi, Nancy McConnell, Mitch Johnson, Andrew impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Collins, Susan M Bolton, John R Biden, Joseph R Jr Barrasso, John Alexander, Lamar

On their last day of questioning in the impeachment trial of President Trump, senators put Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the middle of the fray.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Democrats would need four Republicans to join them in voting for a motion to consider additional witnesses and documentary requests. After Mr. Alexander and Ms. Collins made their positions clear on Thursday night, all eyes turned to a fourth possible Republican swing vote, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who said she would announce her decision on Friday.

Both parties deemed it nearly impossible that any other Republican senator would defect.

As the trial neared a critical turning point, both parties were already looking beyond the verdict and framing their arguments to voters ahead of the November elections.

“If the American people decide that they don’t like what’s happened here, that they don’t like the constitutional violations that have happened, that they don’t like the attack on a successful president for purely partisan political purposes, then they can do something about it, and they can throw them out,” said Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel.

Bracing for a likely defeat of their efforts to force witnesses to be heard at the trial, Democrats forecast what is likely to be their message after the verdict is reached, asserting that Mr. Trump’s acquittal would be illegitimate because the trial was flawed.

“He will not be acquitted,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, told reporters at her weekly news conference. “You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation.”

Even before Mr. Alexander announced his stance on witnesses, Senate Republican leaders projected confidence that they would line up the requisite votes, and privately plotted the trial’s endgame. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, spent much of Thursday toiling behind the scenes to cajole wavering moderates and stifle any move to prolong the trial by admitting additional evidence.

Asked about the looming vote as he arrived on Thursday morning to the Capitol, he told reporters: “I’m always confident.”

Ms. Murkowski appeared to be grappling with her position on Thursday evening. After the Senate broke for dinner, she submitted a question for Mr. Trump’s defense team asking why the Senate should not hear from John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser, who wrote in an unpublished book that Mr. Trump said he would not release the military aid for Ukraine until the country assisted in investigations of his political rivals.

She noted that account, reported on Sunday by The New York Times, contradicted Mr. Trump’s explicit denials that he had linked the military aid and investigations.

“This dispute about material facts weighs in favor of calling additional witnesses with direct knowledge,” Ms. Murkowski asked. “Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?”

But later, she joined with Mr. Alexander and other senators in asking Mr. Trump’s team if they agreed that even if Mr. Bolton’s account were true, the president’s conduct did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. They did.

The House Democratic prosecutors made their final pleas to call the former national security adviser as the vote drew closer.

“The truth is staring us in the eyes,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House manager. “We know why they don’t want John Bolton to testify: It’s not because we don’t know what really happened here, they just don’t want the American people to hear it in all its ugly, graphic detail.”

Mr. Alexander, a former education secretary and presidential candidate set to retire at the end of the year, met privately with Ms. Murkowski earlier Thursday evening when the trial broke for dinner and also informed Mr. McConnell of his decision.

He then returned to the floor and read a copy of “Impeachment: An American History” and hand-drafted a statement announcing a decision that even his staff did not yet know.

Mr. Alexander’s final statement made clear that he would vote to acquit Mr. Trump, as well, even if he did not condone his conduct.

“If this shallow, hurried and wholly partisan impeachment were to succeed, it would rip the country apart, pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions that already exist,” he said.

Ms. Collins gave far less insight into her thinking on the underlying charges, but said that she saw value in hearing more.

“I believe hearing from certain witnesses would give each side the opportunity to more fully and fairly make their case, resolve any ambiguities, and provide additional clarity,” she said in a statement released just before Mr. Alexander’s. “Therefore, I will vote in support of the motion to allow witnesses and documents to be subpoenaed.”

Earlier inside the Senate chamber, the usually scripted trial got off to a tense start on Thursday when Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, submitted a question that included the name of a person widely believed to be the C.I.A. whistle-blower whose anonymous complaint about Ukraine helped prompt the impeachment inquiry.

After studying the question card, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. refused to read it aloud, instead saying, “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.”

An indignant Mr. Paul then rushed out of the chamber straight to waiting television cameras to read the question aloud himself. He asked if the prosecution and defense teams were aware of reports that two government officials “may have worked together to plot impeaching the president before there were formal House impeachment proceedings.”

Mr. Paul’s move reflected how Mr. Trump’s conservative allies have sought to turn the tables on the entire inquiry, shifting the focus away from the president’s conduct and toward what they suggest was a conspiracy by his opponents to manufacture a basis for removing him.

The theme has been a favorite of the president’s, and is all but certain to figure prominently in his re-election campaign after his acquittal as he makes the case to voters that the impeachment effort was an affront to them as much as a challenge to him.

In a rare bipartisan question — one of only three out of more than 170 submitted — Ms. Murkowski and Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, asked that given the actions of any president are to some extent inherently political, how should senators distinguish between permissible political actions and impeachable ones.

Patrick Philbin, a deputy White House counsel, said trying to discern a politician’s motive “is very dangerous.”

“There is always some eye to the next election,” he said, “and it ends up becoming a standard so malleable that in reality really is a substitute for a policy difference: If we don’t like a policy difference, we attribute it to a bad motive.”

Mr. Schiff countered that impeachment was the appropriate “political punishment for a political crime” involving corrupt activity.

“If we go down that road” of ignoring a corrupt motive, Mr. Schiff said, “there is no limit to what this or any other president can do.”

The vote on Friday does not deal directly with individual witnesses or sets of documents. Rather, it will resolve whether the trial should even consider calling additional witnesses and evidence.

If a majority of senators vote no, Republican leaders could move the proceeding to final deliberations and a speedy up or down vote on each article of impeachment, possibly as early as Friday. If they vote yes, the trial would blow open and could become a free-for-all in which any group of 51 senators could band together to issue subpoenas for testimony and records of their choosing.

But senators in both parties were also bracing for the distinct possibility that the witness and documents vote could end in a 50-50 tie. Such an outcome would put Chief Justice Roberts in a difficult position. There is precedent, drawn from the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, of a chief justice casting a tiebreaking vote on a procedural motion. But despite Democratic hopes, Chief Justice Roberts is unlikely to want entangle himself in a dispute that has been so thoroughly politicized.

If the chief justice abstained from breaking a tie, the motion would fail.

Michael D. Shear, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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Alexander, Conceding Case Against Trump, Announces Vote to Block Witnesses

WASHINGTON — Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said late Thursday that although he believed that Democrats had proved their case that President Trump acted “inappropriately” in his dealings with Ukraine, he did not think the president’s actions were impeachable and would vote against considering new evidence in the impeachment trial.

Mr. Alexander’s statement was a strong indication that Republicans have lined up the votes to block a call for more witnesses and documents on Friday and press toward a quick acquittal in the third presidential impeachment trial in history. His opposition was a significant victory for the White House and Republican leaders.

“The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did,” Mr. Alexander said in a late-night statement after the conclusion of a second marathon day of questioning by senators. “I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday.”

In announcing his stance, Mr. Alexander effectively conceded that the president had engaged in a corrupt effort to leverage taxpayer money to advance his own political objectives — the basis of the abuse of power charge against him — but said he had concluded such actions were not impeachable. He called the second charge, obstruction of Congress, “frivolous.”

“It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation,” he said in a statement released at 11 p.m. “When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.”

His announcement capped a day of intense lobbying both on the floor of the Senate and off as each side sought to appeal to a shrinking group of undecided Republicans. Shortly before Mr. Alexander declared his intentions, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, another moderate, became the second Republican to say definitively that she would vote in favor of considering new evidence, after Senator Mitt Romney of Utah.

Video

transcript

Impeachment Trial Highlights: Questions on Witnesses and the Whistle-Blower

On their last day of questioning in the impeachment trial of President Trump, senators put Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the middle of the fray.

“Senator from Kentucky?” “I have a question to present to the desk for the House manager Schiff and for the president’s counsel.” “Thank you.” “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.” “The question from Senator Warren is for the House managers: At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?” “I don’t think a trial without witnesses reflects adversely on the chief justice. I do think it reflects adversely on us.” “Senators for both parties —” “Senator from South Dakota —” “The question from Senator Portman —” “The senator from Wisconsin —” “Senator Brown and Wyden —” “Mr. Chief Justice.” “Senator from Alaska?” “May I send a question to the desk?” “Thank you.” “Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?” “The House could have pursued Ambassador Bolton. The House considered whether or not they would try to have him come testify and subpoena him. They chose not to subpoena him. And it will do grave damage to this body as an institution to say that the proceedings in the House don’t have to really be complete — you don’t have to subpoena the witnesses that you think are necessary to prove your case, you don’t really have to put it all together before you bring the package here, even when you’re impeaching the president of the United States, the gravest impeachment that they could possibly consider.”

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On their last day of questioning in the impeachment trial of President Trump, senators put Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the middle of the fray.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Democrats would need four Republicans to join them in voting for a motion to consider additional witnesses and documentary requests. After Mr. Alexander and Ms. Collins made their positions clear on Thursday night, all eyes turned to a fourth possible Republican swing vote, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who said she would announce her decision on Friday.

Both parties deemed it nearly impossible that any other Republican senator would defect.

As the trial neared a critical turning point, both parties were already looking beyond the verdict and framing their arguments to voters ahead of the November elections.

“If the American people decide that they don’t like what’s happened here, that they don’t like the constitutional violations that have happened, that they don’t like the attack on a successful president for purely partisan political purposes, then they can do something about it, and they can throw them out,” said Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel.

Bracing for a likely defeat of their efforts to force witnesses to be heard at the trial, Democrats forecast what is likely to be their message after the verdict is reached, asserting that Mr. Trump’s acquittal would be illegitimate because the trial was flawed.

“He will not be acquitted,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, told reporters at her weekly news conference. “You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation.”

Even before Mr. Alexander announced his stance on witnesses, Senate Republican leaders projected confidence that they would line up the requisite votes, and privately plotted the trial’s endgame. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, spent much of Thursday toiling behind the scenes to cajole wavering moderates and stifle any move to prolong the trial by admitting additional evidence.

Asked about the looming vote as he arrived on Thursday morning to the Capitol, he told reporters: “I’m always confident.”

Ms. Murkowski appeared to be grappling with her position on Thursday evening. After the Senate broke for dinner, she submitted a question for Mr. Trump’s defense team asking why the Senate should not hear from John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser, who wrote in an unpublished book that Mr. Trump said he would not release the military aid for Ukraine until the country assisted in investigations of his political rivals.

She noted that account, reported on Sunday by The New York Times, contradicted Mr. Trump’s explicit denials that he had linked the military aid and investigations.

“This dispute about material facts weighs in favor of calling additional witnesses with direct knowledge,” Ms. Murkowski asked. “Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?”

But later, she joined with Mr. Alexander and other senators in asking Mr. Trump’s team if they agreed that even if Mr. Bolton’s account were true, the president’s conduct did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. They did.

The House Democratic prosecutors made their final pleas to call the former national security adviser as the vote drew closer.

“The truth is staring us in the eyes,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House manager. “We know why they don’t want John Bolton to testify: It’s not because we don’t know what really happened here, they just don’t want the American people to hear it in all its ugly, graphic detail.”

Mr. Alexander, a former education secretary and presidential candidate set to retire at the end of the year, met privately with Ms. Murkowski earlier Thursday evening when the trial broke for dinner and also informed Mr. McConnell of his decision.

He then returned to the floor and read a copy of “Impeachment: An American History” and hand-drafted a statement announcing a decision that even his staff did not yet know.

Mr. Alexander’s final statement made clear that he would vote to acquit Mr. Trump, as well, even if he did not condone his conduct.

“If this shallow, hurried and wholly partisan impeachment were to succeed, it would rip the country apart, pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions that already exist,” he said.

Ms. Collins gave far less insight into her thinking on the underlying charges, but said that she saw value in hearing more.

“I believe hearing from certain witnesses would give each side the opportunity to more fully and fairly make their case, resolve any ambiguities, and provide additional clarity,” she said in a statement released just before Mr. Alexander’s. “Therefore, I will vote in support of the motion to allow witnesses and documents to be subpoenaed.”

Earlier inside the Senate chamber, the usually scripted trial got off to a tense start on Thursday when Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, submitted a question that included the name of a person widely believed to be the C.I.A. whistle-blower whose anonymous complaint about Ukraine helped prompt the impeachment inquiry.

After studying the question card, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. refused to read it aloud, instead saying, “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.”

An indignant Mr. Paul then rushed out of the chamber straight to waiting television cameras to read the question aloud himself. He asked if the prosecution and defense teams were aware of reports that two government officials “may have worked together to plot impeaching the president before there were formal House impeachment proceedings.”

Mr. Paul’s move reflected how Mr. Trump’s conservative allies have sought to turn the tables on the entire inquiry, shifting the focus away from the president’s conduct and toward what they suggest was a conspiracy by his opponents to manufacture a basis for removing him.

The theme has been a favorite of the president’s, and is all but certain to figure prominently in his re-election campaign after his acquittal as he makes the case to voters that the impeachment effort was an affront to them as much as a challenge to him.

In a rare bipartisan question — one of only three out of more than 170 submitted — Ms. Murkowski and Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, asked that given the actions of any president are to some extent inherently political, how should senators distinguish between permissible political actions and impeachable ones.

Patrick Philbin, a deputy White House counsel, said trying to discern a politician’s motive “is very dangerous.”

“There is always some eye to the next election,” he said, “and it ends up becoming a standard so malleable that in reality really is a substitute for a policy difference: If we don’t like a policy difference, we attribute it to a bad motive.”

Mr. Schiff countered that impeachment was the appropriate “political punishment for a political crime” involving corrupt activity.

“If we go down that road” of ignoring a corrupt motive, Mr. Schiff said, “there is no limit to what this or any other president can do.”

The vote on Friday does not deal directly with individual witnesses or sets of documents. Rather, it will resolve whether the trial should even consider calling additional witnesses and evidence.

If a majority of senators vote no, Republican leaders could move the proceeding to final deliberations and a speedy up or down vote on each article of impeachment, possibly as early as Friday. If they vote yes, the trial would blow open and could become a free-for-all in which any group of 51 senators could band together to issue subpoenas for testimony and records of their choosing.

But senators in both parties were also bracing for the distinct possibility that the witness and documents vote could end in a 50-50 tie. Such an outcome would put Chief Justice Roberts in a difficult position. There is precedent, drawn from the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, of a chief justice casting a tiebreaking vote on a procedural motion. But despite Democratic hopes, Chief Justice Roberts is unlikely to want entangle himself in a dispute that has been so thoroughly politicized.

If the chief justice abstained from breaking a tie, the motion would fail.

Michael D. Shear, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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Spotlight Falls on Democrats From Trump-Friendly States

Westlake Legal Group 30dc-dems1-sub-facebookJumbo Spotlight Falls on Democrats From Trump-Friendly States United States Politics and Government Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sinema, Kyrsten Senate Peters, Gary Manchin, Joe III Jones, Doug (1954- ) impeachment Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — Nothing would please President Trump more than to wrap up his impeachment trial with support from a handful of Democrats. He might get his wish.

As the Senate nears a vote on Mr. Trump’s fate, possibly as early as Friday, attention has focused on the few moderate Republicans who might break ranks by voting to hear from witnesses or perhaps even to convict. But Democrats have their own list of possible defectors who could vote to acquit.

They are focusing on four Democrats from states won by Mr. Trump: Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Doug Jones of Alabama and Gary Peters of Michigan. Should one or more vote to clear the president on either of the charges he faces, it would hand him a coveted talking point during an election year — and deliver a blow to Democrats, who lost two votes in the House when Mr. Trump was impeached in December.

“Every one of us knows — and if our leadership didn’t know, we would tell them — that this is an individual decision every senator has got to make,” Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, said in an interview, adding that Democrats’ closed-door meetings did not include discussions of how members would vote. “So I don’t know how that plays out, or what the numbers will be.”

Mr. Jones suggested Wednesday morning that he was open to acquitting Mr. Trump on one of the charges, obstruction of Congress, though he said the president’s behavior was strengthening the case against him. Mr. Trump is accused of abusing his oath of office and obstructing Congress in connection with his decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine while pressuring that country’s leader to investigate his political rivals, and concealing his conduct from lawmakers.

“I’m still looking at that very closely,” Mr. Jones said, without elaborating. “There are some things that trouble me about it. But I will tell you this about the obstruction charge: The more I see the president of the United States attacking witnesses, the stronger that case gets.”

Later, after a spate of news articles about him, Mr. Jones backtracked: “Don’t go putting some damn headline in there, ‘Still open to acquit.’ I’m open to acquit. I’m open to convict. I want to hear all the evidence. I want to hear witnesses.”

Mr. Jones won a special election in 2017 in deeply conservative Alabama after defeating a Republican, Roy S. Moore, the former chief justice of the state Supreme Court who was accused of sexually assaulting teenagers when he was in his 30s. Now Mr. Jones faces re-election and a crowded Republican primary race that includes Mr. Moore and Jeff Sessions, Mr. Trump’s former attorney general.

His voting record is largely with his party — he has sided with Mr. Trump only 37 percent of the time, according to the website FiveThirtyEight — and he has been vocal in his demand for witnesses, including in an opinion piece in The Washington Post that raised questions about whether his colleagues would commit to finding “the whole truth.”

But there will be a backlash against Mr. Jones at the ballot box in November if he votes to convict the president, said Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist and former adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

“I know that if I’m the senator from Alabama and I vote to throw Donald Trump out of office and off the ballot,” Mr. Jennings said, “my chances drop from whatever they were to zero.”

For his part, Mr. Manchin said on Wednesday that he was frustrated with what he called the “hypocrisy” of Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, and Mr. McConnell. Both have reversed positions they took in 1999 during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, when Mr. McConnell was for impeachment and Mr. Schumer was against it.

The West Virginia senator has spoken strongly in favor of having witnesses testify. But he has irked fellow Democrats by saying that Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose work for a Ukrainian energy company has been an issue in the trial, might be considered a relevant witness. Asked about that on Wednesday, Mr. Schumer grew testy.

“We have had total unity on the issue that will be before us,” he said. “It’s not up to Joe Manchin whether to call Hunter Biden.”

Mr. Manchin is hard to predict. At the outset of the administration, Mr. Trump courted him and tried to persuade him to become a Republican. But Mr. Manchin stuck with Democrats in voting against repeal of the Affordable Care Act and against Mr. Trump’s tax bill. Then he crossed party lines to become the lone Democratic vote in favor of confirming Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

He has been using his Twitter feed to encourage his constituents to call or email a new address his office has created: impeachment@manchin.senate.gov.

“It’s not as simple as saying, ‘It’s a red state, he’s a conservative Democratic senator, therefore he’ll do X or Y,” said Mike Plante, a Democratic strategist in West Virginia. “This is history. It’s not simply politics.”

Ms. Sinema’s intentions are even more difficult to determine. She issued a statement at the outset of the trial saying she would “treat this process with the gravity and impartiality that our oaths demand” and has refused to talk to reporters ever since. She has been virtually silent on social media about impeachment.

But after Mr. Trump’s defense team wrapped up its opening statements on Tuesday, Ms. Sinema remained in the Senate chamber for more than 10 minutes, deep in conversation with Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee and a close ally of Mr. McConnell. On Wednesday, during the question-and-answer portion of the trial, she asked a question that seemed intended to undercut the president’s defense: Why was the aid to Ukraine withheld in secret?

“Kyrsten is in an interesting spot because she ran in her campaign as a moderate but also really stayed away from the partisan politics — she always referred to what Arizonans want, making it very local,” said Mike Noble, a Republican strategist in Arizona. “So she’s kind of doing this balancing act.”

Then there is Mr. Peters, who has cut a low profile in the Senate — and at home, which is one reason he faces a tough race. “I am in the undecided category,” he told reporters in the Capitol. “I’m going to listen, give it a fair hearing.”

Mr. Trump already promotes the House’s vote to impeach him as bipartisan vindication, citing the two Democrats (Representatives Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who has since become a Republican, and Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota) who voted against. The president’s allies caution that he does not expect a repeat in the Senate, though he would be pleased to see it.

“While it would be ideal to have a Democrat or two cross over and oppose impeachment like we saw in the House vote, I don’t think it matters in the grand scheme of things,” said Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist and former adviser to Mr. Trump, adding, “Most Americans outside of the Beltway have tuned this entire impeachment circus out of their minds.”

Mr. Schumer has said he is not counting votes and is instead encouraging each senator to follow his or her conscience. On Thursday, he brushed aside a question about possible Democratic defections, saying he was solely focused on getting the four Republican votes he needed to force the Senate to subpoena witnesses.

“That’s where the focus will be,’’ he said. “Our caucus is totally united on that issue, which will determine where we go from there.”

Democrats do appear largely unified on the question of whether to have witnesses, and they may get some Republican support. Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, has said he will vote to have witnesses, and Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, has said she is “very likely to do so.”

Mr. Jennings said at least one thing was nearly certain: “Trump is going to claim exoneration no matter what.”

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Why Block Impeachment Witnesses? Republicans Have Many Reasons

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WASHINGTON — In trying to fend off Democratic demands for new witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Trump, Senate Republicans have offered an array of reasons for rejecting them. Democrats have just as vigorously contested the Republican arguments.

The debate will play out on the Senate floor on Friday as House Democratic prosecutors and the president’s defense team make their respective cases on the pivotal question of whether to subpoena new witnesses and documents in what could be the climactic moment of the trial.

A vote to summon witnesses for the Senate trial could prolong the proceeding and inject an element of uncertainty, while the defeat of the effort would pave the way for the quick acquittal eagerly awaited by Mr. Trump and his allies in Congress.

Nearly all Senate Republicans are expected to oppose hearing from new witnesses such as John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser who has said he is willing to testify about his knowledge of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. If the Democratic demand for additional testimony falls short, Republicans intend to move to swiftly conclude the trial.

Here is a look at some of the chief Republican claims and Democratic counterclaims surrounding the witness issue.

Republicans say the Senate’s role is simply to make a judgment based on the case developed by multiple House committees, not to undertake its own fact-finding inquiry. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has repeatedly criticized the Democratic-led House for conducting what he calls a “slapdash” partisan investigation and then expecting the Senate to do the House’s “homework” by filling in gaps in the House case.

“The House chose this road,” Mr. McConnell said in December. “It is their duty to investigate.”

Democrats respond that the Constitution in no way limits the Senate’s power to perform its own inquiry, and that the articles of impeachment are similar to a grand jury indictment that is, in criminal law, followed by a trial complete with testimony. They note that the Trump administration refused to cooperate with the House, and argue that the Republican-led Senate should now use its authority to compel appearances by current and former administration officials.

They also point out that the Senate has called witnesses in every previous impeachment trial, including those of Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. In refusing new witnesses, they say, Senate Republicans are shirking their duty and aiding in a cover-up instigated by Mr. Trump.

“To blame the House for not having all the witnesses and documents when it was Donald Trump who stopped them and with the snap of his finger can have them all is the ultimate hypocrisy,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

Fearing a prolonged legal fight, House Democrats chose not to pursue the testimony of Mr. Bolton in court after he initially declined to cooperate voluntarily at the direction of the White House.

Republicans say that the House, as in most previous clashes over appearances by executive branch officials, should have sued to compel his testimony and exhausted its legal options to do so before moving ahead with articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump. In not doing so, they say, Democrats made a crucial error that they should not expect the Senate to correct.

But since the House approved the articles of impeachment, Mr. Bolton has indicated that he would testify if subpoenaed. Disclosures from a draft of his forthcoming book suggest that he has firsthand knowledge that would contradict Mr. Trump’s claim that he did nothing improper in withholding military aid from Ukraine.

Democrats say that for Republicans to willfully refuse to hear from Mr. Bolton after his change of heart amounts to an attempt to conceal Mr. Trump’s misconduct, particularly after complaining that the House’s charges against the president are built mainly on testimony from those without direct interaction with Mr. Trump.

Republicans like to point out that the House impeachment managers, led by Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, have repeatedly bragged that they developed an “ironclad” case against Mr. Trump, and compiled more than enough evidence to justify removing him from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. If their case is so strong, Republicans argue, there should be no need to hear from witnesses.

Democrats do believe that their case is strong and that the reconstructed transcript of Mr. Trump’s July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in which he asked for a “favor” of investigating the Biden family, is evidence enough. But witnesses could bolster their case and remove any lingering uncertainties about the president’s intentions. They also say the American public deserves a full account of the president’s conduct.

With the expectation that the White House would resist Senate efforts to call reluctant witnesses such as Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, Republicans say an agreement to depose witnesses could extend the trial for months — an unhappy prospect for most Republicans — without changing the ultimate outcome.

They also say they fear that a legal battle could end up defining separation of power issues and executive privilege in ways detrimental to Congress, and they would rather avoid that outcome if witnesses will make no difference in the trial.

Democrats say that Republican claims of a prolonged trial are exaggerated. They say having Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. sign and issue any subpoenas should limit any court review since lower courts will defer to him.

“We could get the whole thing done in a week or two,” Mr. Schumer said. The Senate could also potentially recess the trial to await testimony as it did in the Clinton case.

A growing number of Republicans argue that putting a major effort behind investigating what they see as flawed and thin accusations against the president will encourage future leaders of the House to pursue impeachment not only to unseat the president, but to paralyze the Senate as well.

Mr. McConnell raised the possibility of the House weaponizing impeachment against the Senate from the moment the articles were delivered. Other leading Republicans such as Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri and John Cornyn of Texas have begun emphasizing it, saying it is a real institutional concern.

Senate rules require that if the House approves articles of impeachment, the Senate must convene as a court of impeachment, meeting every afternoon — six days a week — until the trial is completed, crowding out legislative business.

“This is shutting the Senate down,” Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia and a close Trump ally, said on Fox News.

Democrats scoff at the idea that members of the House would routinely send impeachment articles across the Rotunda to torment the Senate.

Mr. Schumer has also noted that the Senate can do its regular business during the morning hours and that committees were continuing to meet this week. Besides, he noted wryly, the Senate was doing very little legislative business at any hour of the day even before the trial began, because Mr. McConnell has brought very few major pieces of legislation to the floor.

In an argument that thoroughly irritates Democrats, Republicans say that House prosecutors have produced no new information crying out for corroboration by witnesses and that the Senate should move on as a result.

Democrats consider this line of defense ridiculous, saying there is no new information because the White House blocked testimony and Republicans are refusing to call any witnesses who could provide crucial facts.

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