Asked about his previous forecast that the trial will end before the president’s address, Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), the No. 4 Republican in the Senate, laughed and said, “Obviously I was wrong.”
Pressed if he thought Feb. 4 was no longer a realistic deadline, he added: “I don’t.”
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, didn’t rule out the possibility of the trial concluding by Feb. 4 but warned that it would be a “fairly tight deadline given what we’re facing.”
Senate Republicans say they want a relatively quick impeachment trial, with few or no witnesses for either Trump’s legal team or House impeachment managers
Republicans have said they expect the first phase of the impeachment trial — opening arguments and questions from senators — will last approximately two weeks.
If opening arguments don’t start until Jan. 21, that would put the end of the initial two-week timeline right up against the State of the Union.
After the first phase senators still need to decide whether they will call additional witnesses, and ultimately need to vote to convict or acquit Trump.