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The rebuke was the Senate's first major vote since acquitting Trump on impeachment charges last week.
Trump has told confidants in recent days that he felt both vindicated and strengthened by his acquittal in the Senate.
The delay in timing showed the weight of a historic vote bearing down on senators
A vote on witnesses, expected Friday, could lead to an abrupt end and assured acquittal in only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.
Any four Republicans could join with Democrats to demand taking more time for testimony.
Trump's defenders relied on retired professor Alan Dershowitz, a member of their team, who told senators that every politician conflates his own interest with the public interest.
Doug Jones faces the greatest career risk.
Several Republicans apparently are ready to join Democrats in considering in-person testimony from former National Security Adviser John Bolton and perhaps others.
Donald Trump's defense team argued against a guilty verdict for a total of almost 12 hours.
“We have heard plenty,” according to the Senate’s No. 3 Republican.