A busy week in Washington ended Friday night with a major decision in the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump that takes the nation one major step closer to a conclusion.
Democrats allege Trump pursued a pressure campaign to get Ukraine to open investigations that would benefit him politically. He was also accused of withholding aid and a White House meeting from the ally nation in exchange for the investigations.
On Dec. 18, after a two-month inquiry in the Democratic-led House, the House approved two articles of impeachment against Trump – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Get caught up on where things stand and on what’s ahead.
What happened Friday night?
After several hours of deliberations on Friday, the Senate voted to reject introducing additional witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump.
Democrats wanted testimony from four officials, including former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, but fell short.
Trump’s defense team argued it wasn’t the Senate’s job to finish the investigation begun by the House.
The vote against witnesses went 51-49, largely along party lines.
What happens next?
The Senate will hold a final vote on whether to acquit or convict and remove Trump from office on Wednesday.
The final vote will occur at 4 p.m. EST and will cap a months-long saga over Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
The Wednesday vote will be on whether to convict or acquit Trump on those charges. It’s expected Trump will be acquitted because a conviction requires 67 votes in the 100-member Senate. That would mean all Democrats and at least 20 Republican senators would need to vote for conviction.
The Senate will hold closing arguments on Monday. There will be a total of four hours of arguments, equally divided among the parties. Senators can explain their votes in speeches Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Trump has State of the Union speech Tuesday
Trump has consistently and vehemently denied any wrongdoing during the House impeachment inquiry and Senate trial, calling the whole thing a “hoax” every chance he has gotten while accusing the Democrats of trying to divide the nation.
But White House officials say he will seek to strike an upbeat tone when he delivers his State of the Union speech next week.
Previewing the address on Friday, Trump administration officials said the working title of the annual address is the “Great American Comeback” and the tone will be one of “relentless optimism.”
In general, Trump will focus on five general areas: The economy and trade, working families, health care, immigration and national security. One specific part of the speech will deal with the “school choice” issue, aides said.
Will he mention impeachment? Aides wouldn’t say, adding that it depends in part on whether the trial is over by speech time on Tuesday night.