McConnell says he doesn’t have enough votes to block new witnesses

The Senate majority leader privately told other senators Tuesday that he does not have the votes needed to block new witnesses from being called to the impeachment trial.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020.

In this image from video, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020.

Senate Television via AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators privately Tuesday he does not yet have the votes to block new witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

That’s according to a Republican familiar with a closed-door meeting of GOP senators and granted anonymity to discuss it.

McConnell convened the meeting shortly after Trump’s legal team made its closing arguments in the trial.

At this point, the GOP leader faces a handful of potential defections. But there are still several days before any potential witness vote would be taken.

A decision to call more witnesses would need 51 votes to pass. With a 53-seat majority, Republicans can only afford to lose three Republicans to prevent more debate over witnesses.

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