CHICAGO (EJ) In a nearly party-line vote after a bitter debate, Democrats failed to win support from the four Republicans they needed. With Mr. Trump’s acquittal virtually certain, the president’s allies rallied to his defense, though some conceded he was guilty of the central allegations against him.
he Democrats’ push for more witnesses and documents failed 49 to 51, with only two Republicans, Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, joining Democrats in favor. A vote on the verdict is planned for Wednesday.
Even as they prepared to vote against removing him, several Republicans challenged Mr. Trump’s repeated assertions that he had done nothing wrong, saying they believed he had committed the main offense of which he was accused: withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats.
Still, those Republicans said, they were unwilling to remove a president fewer than 10 months before he is to face voters.
“If you are persuaded that he did it, why do you need more witnesses?” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, a critical swing vote on the issue whose late decision to oppose considering new evidence all but sealed Mr. Trump’s swift acquittal. “The country is not going to accept being told that they can’t elect the president they want to elect in the week the election starts by a majority for a merely inappropriate telephone call or action.”
“You don’t apply capital punishment for every offense,” Mr. Alexander added.
The vote signaled the end of a saga that has consumed Washington and threatened Mr. Trump’s hold on the presidency for the past five months, since the emergence in September of an anonymous whistle-blower complaint accusing him of using the levers of government to push Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.
Senators recessed the trial for the weekend and will return Monday for closing arguments, with a vote on the verdict on Wednesday.
Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine are and should be remembered as traders