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Republicans Prepare to Call No Witnesses During Senate Impeachment Trial

Senator Lindsey Graham delivers an impassioned statement in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018. (Saul Loeb/Reuters)

Senate Republicans are preparing to forego calling witnesses during the likely Senate impeachment trial next month, saying they would instead like to see a speedy end to Democrats’s attempt to remove President Trump from office.

“At that point, I would expect that most members would be ready to vote and wouldn’t need more information,” said Senator John Barrasso, the third-ranking Senate Republican. “Many people have their minds pretty well made up.”

Senator Lindsey Graham agreed, saying he wants to avoid the Senate trial “going on longer than it needs to.”

“I want to end this,” the South Carolina Republican said.

Graham said Sunday he does not plan to call as a witness House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, whom House Republicans attempted to call before the House Judiciary Committee during last week’s impeachment hearings.

“I’m not going to participate in things that I think will destroy the country,” Graham explained. “We’re not going to turn the Senate into a circus.”

The House announced two articles of impeachment against Trump Tuesday morning, accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. A third charge based on information in the Mueller report, obstruction of justice, was not included. The House plans to hold a full vote on the articles before Congress leaves for Christmas break, after which the Senate will take up the matter in January.

Some Republicans had hoped the Senate would call as witnesses former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden as well as the anonymous intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint launched the inquiry. Trump himself said he wanted to call Schiff, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Bidens to testify, but Senate leaders have acknowledged that the votes to call those witnesses would be hard to garner even with the slim Republican majority.

Senate Republicans may also call a vote to acquit Trump immediately after the White House and House Democrats have presented their arguments.

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