BREAKING: Trump set to be acquitted

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Democrats hoped four swing Republicans would vote for witnesses, which would have extended the impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump has been dashed.

The Senate vote on Friday to allow subpoenas for witnesses and documents failed 49-51, with two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, joining Democrats to back extending the trial.

The President’s team had argued there was no wrongdoing – but also that even if there was a quid pro quo, it was within the President’s rights if it was in the national interest.

The House managers, led by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, presented a detailed case arguing they had overwhelming evidence that Trump withheld $400 million in US security aid and a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky while he pressured Kiev to open investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The Senate will vote on Wednesday 5 February on whether to convict or acquit the president on the two articles of impeachment brought against him.

The Senate approved a resolution Friday evening from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laying out the final steps for the trial. The resolution includes closing arguments of two hours each for the House managers and the President’s legal team starting at 11 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday’s final vote – and the ability for senators to deliver their own speeches explaining their votes in between.

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