Senate GOP leaders want to end the trial quickly once the witness vote goes down. But they need 51 votes to do anything.
What’s happening right now is leadership is trying to gauge how quickly they can end without drawing objections from several members of the conference, specifically on the issue of deliberations, according to two sources.
We’ve long noted that deliberations — which would take place in closed session — are a wild card, with GOP leaders saying they’d like to move without them. But they’d need 51 votes to do that.
Add into that uncertainty about how many motions Democrats will offer and the timing for the final vote is very fluid at the moment.
Part of what’s happening right now is a warning shot: If you want these things, it means this could run into the Iowa caucuses and and beyond the State of the Union.
The ongoing GOP and Democratic lunches should add some more clarity to things, and McConnell will likely address this at some point.
More context on Cornyn's warning: Moments ago, Sen. John Cornyn warned that the trial could extend past today.
One of his aides explained that Cornyn is saying that if Democrats choose to drag this out super late tonight, Republicans will adjourn for the day and come back Saturday. If Democrats do the same dilatory tactics on Saturday, Republicans will adjourn and come back Monday — which is Iowa caucus day.
Right now we don’t know how late Democrats want to drag things out, nor what the GOP’s threshold is for triggering adjournment.