McConnell says Senate trial will go forward without decision on witnesses

McConnell says Senate trial will go forward without decision on witnesses originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald would begin without deciding the question of witnesses as Democrats had demanded.

"We have the votes," McConnell said, for the Senate to follow the precedent of the Clinton impeachment trial in which the question of whether to call witnesses was voted on after arguments from the prosecution and the defense.

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a closed meeting with fellow Republicans about the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 7, 2020. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a closed meeting with fellow Republicans about the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 7, 2020. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a closed meeting with fellow Republicans about the impeachment trial of President Donald , at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 7, 2020. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

"What's good for President Clinton is good for President ," he said. "We'll get around to a discussion of witnesses."

"51 senators determine what we do," McConnell said, after leaving the weekly luncheon where Republicans discuss strategy and count votes.

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Key moderate Republican senators, including Utah Republican Mitt Romney and Maine's Susan Collins, had said while they would be interested or open to hearing from witnesses, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton, they agreed with McConnell that a decision could wait until the middle of a trial.

MORE: Bolton emerges as impeachment trial wild-card, putting pressure on GOP to allow witnesses: ANALYSIS

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had insisted that it made no sense to have senators hear arguments before all the witness and documentary evidence had been presented.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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