Lamar Alexander, Who Had Suggested He Might Vote for Witnesses, Just Caved to Trump

The Tennessee senator is not running for reelection.

Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Zuma

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

After two days of questions concluded in the Senate impeachment trial late Thursday night, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced that he would vote against having witnesses appear before the Senate in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

In the lead-up to Friday’s pivotal vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has urged the Senate to block witnesses and to quickly acquit Trump. To pass the motion, the 47-person Democratic caucus needs four Republicans to vote on their side. Shortly after Alexander announced his decision, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is facing a tough reelection battle, announced that she would vote in favor of having witnesses. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also have indicated that they will likely vote to hear witnesses,. But Alexander, the deciding vote, has until now been silent.

Alexander is retiring at the end of this year, meaning that unlike other senators, he does not risk alienating constituents with his vote. Speculations about his decision loomed over Thursday night’s Senate questioning of Trump’s legal team and the House impeachment managers, as he met with Murkowski during a dinner recess.

Democrats will most likely not have the votes to pass a motion to hear witnesses, allowing the Senate to vote to acquit Trump as early as Friday afternoon. In the unlikely event of a tie, Chief Justice John Roberts, who has been presiding over the Senate trial, may be called to cast the deciding vote. 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate