The possibility of a 50/50 deadlock on witnesses was fun but unlikely, since it probably would have achieved nothing and only annoyed Republicans. Roberts likely would have declined to cast a tiebreaking vote, throwing the trial into momentary chaos and handing Democrats a new way to add an asterisk to Trump’s eventual acquittal.
Murkowski opted to vote no to spare everyone that chaos, I bet. Collins needs to vote for witnesses because it’ll help her in Maine to do so and Romney needs to vote for witnesses because Romney is Romney, but Murkowski doesn’t need to vote for them. She’s not up until 2022 and her state is redder than Collins’s is. She might have voted for them if there were a 51st vote in the bank to actually make it happen. But if there isn’t, what’s to be gained by doing so? Better to spare everyone from a “What the hell happens now?” headache and earn some easy brownie points with Trump fans.
ABC reports that McConnell thinks it’s a done deal: