(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "I wanted to make sure that you understood that we have the votes..." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he had enough support from his fellow Republicans to proceed with a vote to set the rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial... without an agreement with Democrats to call new witnesses, saying the Senate would follow a similar model used during the 1999 impeachment trial of then-President Bill Clinton.
(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "All we're doing here is saying we're gonna get started in exactly the same way that 100 senators agreed to 20 years ago.
What's good for President Clinton is good for President Trump.
We'll get around to the discussion of witnesses.
We got around to the discussion of witnesses after we got through phase one 20 years ago." While Republicans are divided over whether the Senate should eventually hear from more witnesses, McConnell said 51 of the 53 of them will vote to leave that decision until later in the trial.
(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, SAYING: "Who ever heard of a trial without witnesses?" The announcement was a blow to Democrats, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the fight to hear from witnesses is not over.
(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, SAYING: "We are telling our Republican colleagues: You can run, but you can't hide.
There will be votes on the four witnesses that we have asked for... We've known for a while - said it in the last four weeks - McConnell will never go for it.
But will four of his Republican colleagues?... Will they stand for a fair trial?
Will they stand for bringing evidence forward?
Or will they be engaging in a coverup?" Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton this week said he would be willing to testify at the trial if subpoenaed, putting some pressure on Republicans to vote on allowing witnesses.
(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, SAYING: "We will not let them avoid the vote.
They can delay it.
They can't avoid it." The Senate cannot proceed with a trial until the House submits the articles of impeachment, and Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi has given no sign she will hand over the charges to the Senate anytime soon.
On Tuesday, Schumer supported the strategy of holding onto them for the time being.
(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, SAYING: "She's already accomplished two things which we fully support.
One, Mitch McConnell couldn't do what some thought he might want to do... right before Christmas or after Christmas, just dismiss.
Second, in the last two weeks, there's been a cascade of evidence that strongly bolsters the case for witnesses and documents." Still, the trial is likely to lead to Trump’s acquittal, as no Republicans have voiced support for removing him from office.