Impeachment trial of President Trump

By Meg Wagner, Fernando Alfonso III and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:59 PM ET, Fri January 31, 2020
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8:28 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

Schumer: “It can’t get much worse”

From CNN's Clare Foran

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Schumer told reporters as he was on his way out tonight “I can’t wait to see my grandson.”

Asked by a reporter what he would say to his Republican colleagues, he said, “I say they really let down the Senate and the country. They know that Donald Trump is a vicious and vindictive president, but sometimes you’ve got to do the right thing.”

Asked how he’ll bridge the divide going forward, he said, “well, let’s hope it gets better. It can’t get much worse.”

8:24 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

Murkowski won't say how she'll vote tonight: "I’ve had so much drama today, I’m just gonna chill”

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

When asked by reporters how she was planning to vote on whether to find the President guilty or not, Senator Lisa Murkowski said she’d had enough drama for the day.

“Will I share it with you tonight? I’ve had so much drama today, I’m just gonna chill,” she said.

Murkowksi said she was “disappointed” in “all sides” and said a fair trial would have been one that “remedied the defects of the House.”

8:23 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

Closely watched Democrat says he'll announce his decision on whether to convict next week

From CNN's Manu Raju

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat from Alabama, says he will announce his decision on whether to convict next week.

“I want to make sure I get it right,” Jones said.

What are other swing voters saying: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, another swing Democrat, refused to answer any questions from a group of reporters, walking in silence for nearly 30 seconds as an aide said she wouldn’t respond.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he won't know how he’ll vote until he walks into the Senate chamber Wednesday.

“I won’t know until I walk in - I swear to God, I won’t know until I walk in," he said, adding that he's been going back and forth on his decision.

8:08 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

The Senate trial has adjourned for the day

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has ended today's impeachment trial proceedings.

Before doing do, he received unanimous consent for the following provisions for next week when the trial resumes:

  • The secretary is authorized to include statements of senators explaining their votes, either given or submitted during the legislative sessions of the senate on next Monday through Wednesday.
  • When the trial resumes Monday, senators are permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each.

As he left the Senate floor, McConnell was seen giving a thumbs-up.

7:59 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

As Senate trial nears the end, John Roberts finally says he won't break vote ties

From CNN's Dan Berman

Chief Justice John Roberts made crystal clear tonight that he has no intention of intervening in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump by casting a tie-breaking vote.

Speculation had mounted during the trial whether Roberts would act, as Democrats hoped the chief could help them force the Republican majority to allow witnesses to be called.

A chief justice had previously settled Senate ties in an impeachment trial — back in 1868 — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, noted.

But when asked directly about whether he would get involved, Roberts said he would not.

Here's the exchange:

  • Schumer: "Is the chief justice aware that in the impeachment trial of President Johnson, Chief Justice Chase, as presiding officer, cast tie-breaking votes on both March 31 and April 2, 1868?"
  • Roberts: "I am, Mr. Leader. The one concerned a motion to adjourn; the other concerned a motion to close deliberations. I do not regard those isolated episodes 150 years ago as sufficient to support a general authority to break ties. If the members of this body elected by the people and accountable to them divide equally on a motion, the normal rule is that the motion fails. I think it would be inappropriate for me, an unelected official from a different branch of government, to assert the power to change that result so that the motion would succeed."

8:00 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

McConnell's resolution laying out the trial timeline just passed

Senate TV
Senate TV

The Senate just voted 53-47 to approve Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's resolution which spells out how the rest of the impeachment trial will work.

The resolution calls for closing statements on Monday, and a 4 p.m. ET vote on the articles on impeachment on Wednesday.

There will not be a session tomorrow.

7:51 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

Senate votes to table Democrats' fourth amendment

A motion to table — or effectively kill — the Democrats' fourth amendment just passed.

The vote was 53-47.

All four amendments introduced by the Democrats tonight were voted down.

7:50 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

McConnell called Trump before announcing Wednesday vote

From CNN's Manu Raju, Phil Mattingly and Jim Acosta

Republican senators said tonight that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had no choice but to cut the deal for the Wednesday acquittal vote.

That's because, the senators said, Democrats could have used their power under the rules to drag it out past the State of the Union. And Democrats had no desire to let Trump be cleared by the time of the Tuesday SOTU as the White House wanted, according to senators from both parties.

So they decided to cut the deal, spare themselves late nights and a weekend session, and agree to have the vote on Wednesday.

"Democrats were willing to use any number of dilatory tactics, many of which would probably carry us into next week," Sen. John Thune said, adding that it could delay the vote until "potentially" beyond the State of the Union if Democrats used their "full arsenal of tools."

McConnell spoke by phone with President Trump before introducing the resolution that calls for the Wednesday vote, according to two people familiar with the call.

“Leader McConnell called President Trump before he introduced the resolution. They discussed the details and the President signed off," a source familiar with the call said.
7:43 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

A third amendment from the Democrats was just tabled

The Democrats' third amendment has been tabled. This amendment called for the Senate to subpoena John Bolton, and spend one day on his deposition and one day on live testimony — both of which must occur within five days.

The vote to table passed 51 to 49. Republican senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins voted for a second time tonight with the 47 Democrats against tabling the amendment to subpoena Bolton.