The impeachment trial enters the second day of Q&As from senators. Expectations are this phase will end sometime Friday before moving to the all important vote on witnesses. Here are some of the Thursday morning headlines:
Reuters: Trump impeachment trial nears end of initial phase in Senate
The U.S. Senate is expected to wrap up the initial phase of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial before turning on Friday to the explosive question of whether to call witnesses such as former national security adviser John Bolton.
FoxNews: Justice Roberts blocks Sen. Paul from naming whistleblower, source says – and Paul may force the issueImpeach
Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts blocked Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul from posing a question during the Senate impeachment trial Wednesday that would have named the alleged whistleblower at the center of the case, Fox News is told — and Paul may try to force the issue during the question-and-answer session that begins Thursday afternoon.
New York Times: Republicans Move to Block Impeachment Witnesses, Driving Toward Acquittal.
The White House and Senate Republicans worked aggressively on Wednesday to discount damaging revelations from John R. Bolton and line up the votes to block new witnesses from testifying in President Trump’s impeachment trial, in a push to bring the proceeding to a swift close.
Axios: Republicans increasingly confident they’ll sink witness vote
As the Senate prepares for another long day of Q&A, Republicans seem increasingly confident that at least 51 senators will vote Friday to prevent bringing additional witnesses into President Trump’s impeachment trial.
The bottom line: The whip count is still fluid, but GOP senators are far more optimistic after yesterday’s eight-hour session than they were following their closed-door meeting on Tuesday.
NPR: Impeachment Trial Q&A Enters Last Day Before Moving To Vote On Witnesses
Senators weighing impeachment charges against President Trump will spend Thursday firing off questions to trial lawyers, as they did the day before, just as the specter of John Bolton’s appearance as a witness continues to stoke speculation.
Republicans would like Trump to be acquitted as soon as Friday, but Democrats are working behind-the-scenes to recruit enough conservatives to support bringing in witnesses to testify.
NYPost: Trump’s defense team expects cliffhanger in Senate witness vote
President Trump’s impeachment defense team expects a Friday cliffhanger when senators vote on whether to call witnesses in Trump’s trial.
If Democrats find four Republicans to vote for witnesses, the trial could stretch until March. If they fail, Trump likely would be quickly acquitted.
Politico: Trump allies see witness-swap scheme as impeachment messaging coup. Because the proposal is likely to fail, strategists say it allows Republicans to blame Democrats for blocking impeachment witnesses without actually having to allow testimony.
President Donald Trump’s allies are relishing the political benefits of a plot to offer an equal number of impeachment witnesses for both parties, even though it likely won’t go anywhere.
But that’s the point.