There’s a reason Mitch McConnell has been Senate Majority Leader for the past 13 years: He gets the job done.
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And the biggest part of that job is keeping the GOP caucus, however necessary. At this point, he appears to have pulled off the feat once again.
On Wednesday, McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — always a wavering and unreliable GOP vote — met in the morning. After that meeting, The Hill reported, it was clear “that the question of having additional witnesses is settled, and the Senate will vote Friday to wrap up the impeachment trial of President Trump.”
There was no discussion of witnesses at a Senate GOP lunch meeting Wednesday, which was held a couple hours after McConnell and Murkowski met for about 20 to 30 minutes.
That was seen as a sign by several senators that Democrats will fail to convince four Republicans to join them in calling for witnesses. Without a vote to hear from witnesses, the trial could end as soon as Friday.
“We’re going to get it done by Friday, hopefully,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said following the meeting.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), emerging from the lunch, said, “I think I can say the mood is good.”
Braun expressed confidence that McConnell will be able to keep his conference unified enough to defeat a motion to consider subpoenas for additional witnesses and documents.
“If I had to guess, no witnesses,” he said.
“We’ll be in a place where I think everyone is going to have their mind made up and I believe that we’ll be able to move to a verdict, and the witness question will be clear at that point,” Braun added.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), another wavering vote on the GOP side and who has called for calling witnesses, would not talk to reporters as he left the lunch. Sen. Susan Collins (R-MN) has also been named as a Republican who may support witnesses.
What a difference a day makes. On Tuesday, McConnell said he didn’t think he had the necessary votes to prevent the calling of witnesses, according to the Wall Street Journal. But NBC News and Politico, a liberal website in Washington, D.C., also say McConnell now appears to have held his GOP majority in line and a vote to end the sham trial could well take place on Friday. It all could be over by Friday night, or at the latest on Saturday. Nice SOTU!