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Trump impeachment trial: Blow for Democrats in witnesses battle

US Democrats were served a significant blow late on Thursday after a key Republican senator said he would vote against calling new witnesses in the impeachment trial of United States President Donald Trump.  Following hours of questions, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, considered a key holdout, said on Twitter he would oppose calling new witnesses.  “I worked…

Trump impeachment trial: Blow for Democrats in witnesses battle

US Democrats were served a significant blow late on Thursday after a key Republican senator said he would vote against calling new witnesses in the impeachment trial of United States President Donald Trump. 
Following hours of questions, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, considered a key holdout, said on Twitter he would oppose calling new witnesses. 
“I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the U.S. Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense,” Alexander tweeted. 
“There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.'” he added.
Following Alexander’s comments, it appeared that the best Democrats could hope for was a possible tie on the question of witnesses. But even a tie would likely lead to a defeat. 
More: 

Trump impeachment trial: Who are the key players?

What evidence has come out since Trump was impeached?

What happened in the Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton?

Republican Senator Susan Collins announced on Twitter she plans to vote for witnesses. Republican Senator Mitt Romney has suggested he too will vote for witnesses. 
The remaining holdout was Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who argued in a submitted question that additional witnesses could be necessary.
“The dispute about material facts weighs in favour of calling additional witnesses with direct knowledge,” Murkowski said. “Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?”

Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa [Leah Millis/Reuters] 

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