Senate votes to call witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial

  • The Senate approved a motion to call witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial.
  • House managers want to subpoena GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler for her testimony.
  • Five Republicans voted with Democrats to call witnesses.
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The Senate passed a motion Saturday to subpoena witnesses in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial over the Capitol siege.

The final vote was 55 in favor and 45 against. Five Republican senators broke ranks and sided with Democrats to vote on calling witnesses. They were:

  • Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.
  • Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
  • Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Graham initially voted against subpoenaing witnesses but later changed his vote to yes. Next, the Senate will debate which and how many witnesses to call. The development has once again thrown the schedule of Trump’s impeachment trial up in the air. The proceedings were originally set to wrap up by Saturday evening but will now almost certainly extend into the next few days.

The vote to call witnesses came after CNN reported on new details of a phone call between Trump and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy on January 6, as the deadly Capitol insurrection was underway.

According to the report, Trump and McCarthy got into a shouting match because Trump refused to call off the rioters. He then suggested that the insurrectionists cared more about the election results than McCarthy did.

“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump said, CNN reported. McCarthy then told Trump that rioters were breaking into his office, adding, “Who the f— do you think you’re talking to?”

Herrera Beutler first revealed the details of the phone call at a town hall earlier this week and confirmed them to CNN.

“You have to look at what he did during the insurrection to confirm where his mind was at,” she told CNN. “That line right there demonstrates to me that either he didn’t care, which is impeachable, because you cannot allow an attack on your soil, or he wanted it to happen and was OK with it, which makes me so angry.”

Herrera Beutler also asked any witnesses who had more information about Trump’s actions to come forward.

“To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time,” she said in a statement.

Herrera Beutler was one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection related to the riot. Her revelation goes directly to the question of what, when, and how much Trump knew about the Capitol siege as it was happening.

On Friday, several senators asked the House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense lawyers to describe in detail how the then president responded to the siege. One of the defense attorneys, Michael van der Veen, repeatedly refused to answer and placed the blame on the House managers for not investigating his own client’s actions.

After CNN reported on the Trump-McCarthy phone call and detailed Herrera Beutler’s recollection of it, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager, said his team wanted to subpoena the Washington lawmaker for her testimony.

Van der Veen pushed back, saying that if the Senate voted to call witnesses, he would seek to depose more than 100 witnesses, including Vice President Kamala Harris, and added that he wanted them to take place in his office in Philadelphia, which prompted laughter from several Democrats in the room.

The laughs appeared to irritate van der Veen, who shot back, “I don’t know why you’re laughing.”

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