(*This post has been updated to include comment from U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.)
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted largely along party lines Friday evening to block additional witnesses and documents from being introduced in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
Two Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah — broke ranks to vote to allow witnesses in the Senate, but the chamber’s remaining GOP members blocked the Democrats’ effort to force new testimony. The resolution to allow witness testimony failed 49-51.
Pennsylvania’s two United States senators, Democrat Bob Casey, and Republican, Pat Toomey, each voted with their respective caucuses.
“The purpose of a witness is to shed light on an important fact that could resolve a disputed issue and help determine the final outcome of the case,” Toomey said in a statement released by his office on Friday night. “In my view, the House has brought forward articles of impeachment that do not justify removing President Trump from office, nullifying the results of the 2016 election, and denying Americans the right to vote for him in the next election. As a result, additional witnesses beyond the 17 who testified in the House proceedings, are not necessary.”
Democratic @SenBobCasey slams GOP lawmakers as President Trump is poised to be acquitted: “It is clear to me that Donald Trump is now just not only in charge of the Republican Party generally, he's pretty much running the Senate.” https://t.co/jqfLUg6rWZ pic.twitter.com/5ow2MDWtfo
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) January 31, 2020
*In a statement released around 8:20 p.m., Casey that “by blocking relevant witnesses and relevant documents, Senate Republicans have denied the American people the fair trial they deserve. This proceeding was rigged from the start to protect the president.”
The vote on Friday night signals that the chamber will soon wrap up the Senate impeachment trial, where Trump is all but certain to be acquitted. Still, Democrats are sure to highlight Republicans’ votes against additional witnesses leading up to the 2020 elections.
Ahead of Friday’s vote, House Democrats made last-minute pleas to the Senate, even as it became clear that the push for witnesses was likely to fail. They warned Republicans against setting a dangerous precedent in future impeachment trials and allowing inappropriate behavior to go unchecked.
“The evidence confirms that if left in office, President Trump will continue to harm our — America’s — national security,” said U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., one of the House impeachment managers. “He will continue to seek to corrupt the upcoming election, and he will undermine — he will undermine our democracy, all to further his own personal gain. But this is a fundamental question that must be addressed: is this a fair trial?
Without the ability to call witnesses and produce documents, the answer is clearly and unequivocally no.”
Trump wrote on Twitter Friday: “The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats keep chanting ‘fairness’, when they put on the most unfair Witch Hunt in the history of the U.S. Congress. They had 17 Witnesses, we were allowed ZERO, and no lawyers. They didn’t do their job, had no case. The Dems are scamming America!”