Reports: Senate Republicans lack votes to block witnesses from testifying in impeachment trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the chamber for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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UPDATED 11:48 AM PT — Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Senate Republicans have reached a roadblock in their efforts to stop witnesses from testifying in the impeachment trial. According to reports Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fears he does not have enough votes to block witnesses, such as former National Security Advisor John Bolton, from taking the stand.

If allowed to testify, Bolton is expected to say the president froze military aid to Ukraine in order to push Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden’s business ties. With the 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer believes he can attract votes from the other side of the aisle.

“I hope that we have just four Republicans, all we need is four, who rise to the occasion and say we need to find out the truth,” he stated.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to media at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan.28, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is remaining optimistic that Republicans will not vote in favor of witnesses. However, he suggested that he would will call more than just Bolton. Sen. Graham claimed he would also subpoena Hunter Biden and call him to the stand.

The Senate is expected to vote Friday on whether to call witnesses.

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Miss. governor calls for closing of prison cell block after ninth death and months of violence

Several attendees waved handmade posters calling for help for the inmates during a mass rally in front of the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, protesting conditions in prisons where inmates have been killed in violent clashes in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:30 AM PT — Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A wave of riots, death and corruption within a Mississippi prison has prompted statewide lockdowns. State officials are now taking action to stop the violence.

During a State of the State Address Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves said he’s starting the process of closing Unit 9 of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. “There are many logistical answers we are working through right now, but I have seen enough,” he stated.

The prison, which is located about two hours outside of Memphis, is one of many facilities in Mississippi that have seen a rise in prison violence and bloody brawls in the last few months.

According to the former Mississippi prison chief, the killings stem from gang violence as under staffed guards struggle to maintain control. Issues with overcrowding have reportedly lead to inmates of opposing gangs being forced to share living quarters.

Meanwhile, prisoners from within the facility have leaked photos taken on contraband cell phones of the deplorable living conditions many say add fuel to the fire.

Following multiple inmate deaths, rappers Yo Gotti and Jay-Z have filed a lawsuit against Mississippi Department of Corrections officials on behalf of 29 inmates who claim prison officials aren’t doing enough to stop the violence there.

In addition to calling for the cell block to be shut down, the governor has laid out a plan to help curtail the death and violence within the Mississippi prison system.

“We deployed maintenance teams from across the state of Mississippi to immediately began work to improve the physically conditions at parchment,” said Reeves. “We are brining senior leadership to the front lines, we are making sure a senior officer be present on the grounds at all times to prevent the leadership void that can lead to chaos.”

The Mississippi governor went on to say they will begin utilizing a new system to prevent contraband cell phones used by gang members to coordinate gang activity within the prison, which he said was a huge factor in what caused the violent killings.

Several protest attendees waved personalized posters calling attention to prison issues within the Mississippi Department of Corrections and at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, during a mass rally in front of the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. The rally called attention to conditions in prisons where inmates have been killed in violent clashes in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

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