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Trump impeachment trial live updates: Senate votes to block witnesses amid new Bolton bombshell

uschools/iStock(WASHINGTON) —  Before Friday’s session of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial began, the spotlight was on four moderate Republican senators Democrats hoped would vote with them on allowing new witnesses, but by evening, after days of arguments meant to persuade them, Democrats had lost the crucial issue by a vote of 51-49.A member of the Senate’s GOP leadership, Sen. Roy Blunt, said a final vote on acquittal was set for 4 p.m. Wednesday, the day after Trump is scheduled to come to the Capitol to deliver his State of the Union Address. He had left the White House before the Friday vote for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.The ABC News team of correspondents and producers is covering every aspect of this story.Here is how the day is unfolding. Please refresh for updates.


5:42 p.m. Senate defeats Democrats’ effort to call new witnesses

As expected, by a vote of 49-51, Republicans defeat the Democrat’s effort to call additional witnesses, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announces the Senate will be recess subject to a call of the chair. It’s unclear what the Senate will do next and when. An angry Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tells reporters the Senate will rue the day it took this vote and goes to plot strategy with fellow Democrats.

5:36 p.m. Senate votes on allowing witnesses After an extended break, the Senate begins voting Friday evening on the question of whether to call witnesses, all 100 senators announcing their votes while sitting at their desk as the clerk called the roll.


3:19 p.m. Schumer: Don’t want votes ‘in the dark of night’During a break Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says there is no agreement with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on how to proceed in the final votes of the impeachment trial, casting some doubt on earlier expectations the  Senate could vote on the articles late Friday night or even in the early hours of Saturday morning.Schumer says they want all senators to have the chance to put their views and explain their vote on the record.”We have stood for one thing, we do not want this rush through. We do not want it in the dark of night. Members have an obligation to tell the American people and to tell the people of their states why they are voting,” he tells reporters.2:48 p.m. Schiff: ‘The facts will come out’ Schiff emphasizes the same point as House managers wrapped up their arguments in favor of more witness testimony.”Even over the course of this trial, we have seen so many additional facts come to light. The facts will come out. In all of their horror, they will come out,” Schiff says.”And there are more court documents and deadlines under the Freedom of Information Act, witnesses will tell their stories in future congressional hearings, and books, and in the media, this week has made that abundantly clear.””And we will be asked why we didn’t want to hear that information when we had the chance,” he says, asking “what answer will we give?”He argues that senators’ decision on witnesses is even more important than the ultimate vote on whether the president is guilty or innocent.”Rob this country of a fair trial and there can be no representation that the verdict has a clear meaning, how could it if the result is baked into the process? Assure the American people that whatever the result may be that they got a fair shake.” he says. 2:16 p.m. Crow: Bolton testimony could address GOP concerns about Trump’s state of mindHouse manager Jason Crow argues that John Bolton could corroborate the testimony of other witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, some of whom Republicans have criticized for being cited without having firsthand knowledge of the president’s state of mind.”The truth will come out and it’s continuing to,” Crow says, citing The New York Times report this morning with additional information from Bolton’s unpublished manuscript.”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,” Crow asks senators.


1:24: New Bolton book report lands like bombshell as witness debate beginsAs he opens the debate over witnesses, lead House Manager Adam Schiff quickly brings up a new report in The New York Times referencing more of the manuscript of former national security adviser John Bolton’s book.Bolton is one of the key witnesses Democrats are demanding he heard.The report says Bolton writes in his manuscript that Trump instructed him at a May 2019 meeting to help Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, set up a meeting with Ukraine’s president. The account says acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — who is leading the president’s defense on the Senate floor – were also present.The White House and Giuliani deny the conversations described in the Times report. ABC News has not independently reviewed Bolton’s manuscript.


1:17 p.m. Murkowski announces she’s a ‘no’ on witnesses’As Friday’s Senate trial session is getting underway, Sen. Lisa Murkowski announces she will vote against having the Senate allow new witnesses.Her statement is below:“I worked for a fair, honest, and transparent process, modeled after the Clinton trial, to provide ample time for both sides to present their cases, ask thoughtful questions, and determine whether we need more.”“The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena.“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. 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.“It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort. We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another.“We are sadly at a low point of division in this country.”That word comes as The New York Times reports new excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton’s new book. According to the account, Trump instructed Bolton in May to help the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, set up a meeting with Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy. That would be two months before Trump’s controversial July 25 phone call.–ABC News’ Trish Turner

11:50 a.m. Alexander: Concerned about Senate as institutionABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports from Capitol Hill:GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander says he was most swayed by concerns for the institution of the Senate in making his decision he announced last night to vote against witnesses.The founders said there “should never be a partisan impeachment,” he tells me. “I was concerned about the Senate as an institution being created as a weapon of perpetual impeachment.”Should a censure be on the table?“I don’t see a need for that. This is an inappropriate act by a president,’ he says. “The remedy for that is the election. The American people starting on Monday on Iowa can say what they think about it. They can take the phone call with Ukraine and add it to the good economy and whatever they think of the president behavior and decide between him or Elizabeth Warren.”Alexander has not yet heard from Trump. He says the last time they spoke was in December.

11:15 a.m. Schumer: ‘The president’s acquittal will be meaningless’Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, at a morning news conference, says, “the result of today’s vote is still an open question” but he and other Democrats seemed resigned to losing the battle.”The president’s acquittal will be meaningless,” he says, “because it will be the result of a sham trial.”Schumer said “there will be “a permanent asterisk next to the acquittal of President Trump — written in permanent ink.””Every Republican who voted to hide the truth in an impeachment trial of the president” will have to answer for that, he says. “The truth — the truth — will come out.””Republican senators who decide to go against the will of the people will have to reckon with them,” he says. “If my Republican colleagues refuse to even consider witnesses and documents in this trial, this country is headed towards the greatest cover-up since Watergate.”Besides Alexander and Murkowski, the two other moderate Republicans Democrats had set their hopes on — Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — both broke with their party late Thursday, issuing statements in support of hearing new testimony. But without four Republicans joining Democrats, their votes likely won’t make a difference.Chief Justice John Roberts remains the wild card. As the presiding officer, essentially assuming the ceremonial role of the vice president, he could — in theory — break a tie vote and Democrats are pushing for him to get more involved, but that seems unlikely.Senators raised the issue of adding witness testimony to the trial several times in their questions for the House managers and the White House defense counsel.At one point late Thursday at the Senate trial, Sen. Murkowski, essentially asked Trump’s lawyers point-blank: Why not call John Bolton to testify?”I think the primary consideration here is to understand that the House could have pursued Ambassador Bolton,” White House Deputy Counsel Patrick Philbin responded, noting that the House chose not to subpoena Bolton.He said admitting Bolton would set a lower standard of what the House is required to do in pursuing impeachment, sending a message that, “you don’t have to do all of that work before you get to this institution.””That’s not the way that this chamber should allow impeachments to be presented to it,” Philbin said.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.