Tags: Trump Impeachment | witnesses | senate | trial | vote | democrat | manager

5 Republicans Vote to Allow Witnesses in Impeachment Trial

(C-SPAN)

By    |   Saturday, 13 February 2021 12:45 PM

UPDATE: Former President Donald Trump was acquitted in his second impeachment trial Saturday.

Seven Repubicans joined all 50 Democrats to vote 57-43 in favor of guilt. That was 10 votes shy of the 67 votes needed for a guilty verdict.

The seven Republicans voting to convict were: Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Richard Burr, R-N.C.; and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY. THIS IS THE PREVIOUS STORY:

 The U.S. Senate agreed on Saturday to admitting a statement by Republican lawmaker Jaime Herrera Beutler into evidence in former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

In the statement, the lawmaker said the top House Republican, Kevin McCarthy, had told her about a call he had with Trump on Jan. 6, during a riot when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, in which Trump said, "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."

Under the agreement, the information that a Republican congresswoman has made public about Trump’s actions on the day of the riot will be entered into the record of the trial in exchange for Democrats dropping plans to deposition testimony from the congresswoman, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington no witnesses would be called to testify.

That allowed the trial to resume Saturday with closing arguments and a vote on the verdict.

The Senate came to a standstill shortly after convening for the rare Saturday session when a majority voted to consider calling witnesses.

Herrera Beutler’s account of Trump’s call with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy as rioters were breaking into the Capitol on Jan. 6 sparked fresh interest in Trump’s actions that day.

Earlier Saturday the Senate voted 55-45 to allow witnesses in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump with five Republicans joining all 50 Democrats.

Republicans joining Democrats were Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; and Lindsey Graham; R-S.C. Graham initially voted against witnesses, then switched his vote.

As Saturday's session of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial began, House Democrat impeachment managers immediately called for witnesses following Friday night media reports Trump told a top congressional Republican during the deadly assault by his supporters on the Capitol last month the mob was "more upset" about his election defeat than lawmakers.

Former President Donald Trump's attorney Michael van der Veen argued vehemently against a call from lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., about calling a witness to testify about a phone call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., that reportedly took place while the riot was occurring in the Capitol on Jan. 6.

"As of late yesterday afternoon, there was a stipulation going around that there weren't going to be any witnesses," van der Veen argued. "After what happened here in this chamber [Friday], the House managers realize they did not investigate this case before bringing the impeachment they did not give the proper consideration and work. They didn't put the work in that was necessary to impeach the former president."

Rep. Raskin argued Friday night, Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., issued a statement confirming, in the middle of the riots, when McCarthy called Trump to ask for help and the president reportedly replied to him, "I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."

"Needless to say, this is an additional critical piece of corroborating evidence, further confirming the charges before you as well as the president's willful, dereliction of duty and desertion of duty," Raskin said.

Trump's attorney argued Trump was not being tried on charges of dereliction, and if one witnesses would be called, "I'm going to need at least over 100 depositions, not just one" from people who were charged with rioting that Democrats claimed all blamed Trump for encouraging them to take action.

"The only thing that I ask if you vote for witnesses do not handcuff me, limiting the number of witnesses that I can have," he said. "I need to do the 9/11 style investigation that [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi called for. It should have been done already. It's a dereliction of the House managers duty that they didn't."

Van der Veen also drew laughter, which was quickly rebuked by Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., Senate pro tempore, who is overseeing the trial, when he demanded if Rep. Beutler is to be deposed, it not be done over Zoom, but in his office in Philadelphia.

Much of this week's trial focused on how much Trump knew about the rioters' actions as they rampaged through Congress on Jan. 6 seeking to prevent lawmakers from certifying Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the November election.

Beutler, one of 10 in her party who voted last month in the House of Representatives to impeach Trump, recounted in a statement late Friday the details of a call between Trump and the top House Republican McCarthy.

"'Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,'" Beutler quoted Trump as saying.

She said Trump initially denied his supporters were involved in the attack, claiming the mob were members of the left-leaning antifa movement, a claim McCarthy rejected.

Trump, who left office Jan. 20, is the first U.S. president to be impeached twice and the first to face trial after leaving office. If convicted, the Senate could then bar him from running for office again.

Conviction is seen as unlikely, however, as at least 17 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber would have to join all 50 Democrats to find the former president guilty. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will vote to acquit Trump, a source familiar with the situation said Saturday.

The trial has highlighted the extraordinary danger lawmakers faced Jan. 6, when Trump urged his followers to march on the Capitol and "get wild" in an effort to overturn his election loss. Then-Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers had to be rushed into hiding for safety. Five people died from the ensuing chaos.

Trump's words that day followed months in which he repeated claims Biden's victory was the result of widespread fraud.

"Trump's lawyers are likely under ethics obligation to clean this up," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. "One way to clear it up? Suspend trial to depose McCarthy and [Republican Sen. Tommy] Tuberville under oath and get the facts."

Fellow Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., told reporters they too wanted to hear from witnesses.

"Trump's call with McCarthy is another powerful piece of evidence that Trump was on the side of the rioters attacking the Capitol," Merkley tweeted. "He utterly failed his oath to protect and defend our nation."

McCarthy enraged Trump by saying he bore responsibility for the Capitol riot shortly after the violence, but he later backtracked, saying he did not believe Trump provoked the assault.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Headline
The Senate voted Saturday 55-45 to allow witnesses in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump with five Republicans joining all 50 Democrats.
witnesses, senate, trial, vote, democrat, manager, jamie raskin, jaime herrera beutler
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2021-45-13
Saturday, 13 February 2021 12:45 PM
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