(CNN) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to have the votes to set the ground rules of the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump — without Democrats’ support, according to Republican senators.
All McConnell needs is 51 senators — or a simple majority of the 100-member chamber — and several key Republicans. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah have said they back the leader’s approach.
This is different than the Senate trial for then-President Bill Clinton in 1999, when the ground rules were set by a 100-0 vote. This time it will likely be approved on a party-line vote.
Democrats want a deal up front to hear from witnesses and get documents, but McConnell says those matters should be dealt with later after opening statements.
McConnell is expected to discuss the matter at a Senate GOP lunch later Tuesday. Republicans won’t act until they get the two articles of impeachment from the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has held on to them since they were voted on in the House in December.