Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to move quickly to acquit President Trump if a closely-watched vote planned Friday to compel witnesses and documents for Trump’s impeachment trial is defeated, according to Sen. John Thune, who is the number two GOP Senate Republican.
“In the end it’s going to be up to the leader, but my view would be at that point you would want to start bringing this thing to a conclusion,” Thune said tonight. “I’m not sure there would be any value or any point in keeping it going.”
Thune noted that after the question of witnesses is resolved, the organizing resolution for the trial allows for an open-ended number of procedural motions to be made by senators, something that might slow a quick end to the trial especially if Democrats demand a large series of debates and votes on motions.
Each motion is debatable for two hours as are any amendments to them, according to Alan Frumin, a former Senate parliamentarian.
A top Democratic aide declined to speculate how many motions Democratic senators might offer.
Thune said McConnell, as majority leader, has the right of first recognition, giving him the chance to move to go to closing arguments, possible closed-door deliberations, and then votes on the two articles of impeachment.
“If that vote were defeated on Friday, you’d be through the part where the organizing resolution governs what happens and then it’s pretty much open motions. The leader would have the right of first recognition and if he wanted to move to closing arguments I suspect we’d do that,” Thune said.
GOP leaders have not said how much time is expected for each side to make closing arguments nor if they expect the Senate to go into closed-door deliberations before casting final votes on the impeachment articles.
A final vote on the articles could happen as early as Friday or could slide to Saturday or later depending on how events play out.