Former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial came to an abrupt standstill after a majority of senators voted to consider calling witnesses about the deadly storming of the Capitol.
Even senators seemed confused by the sudden turn of events Saturday. The quick trial had been racing toward closing arguments and a vote on whether to acquit or convict Trump.
Under Senate rules for the trial, it appears debate and votes on potential witnesses could be allowed, potentially delaying the final vote.
House prosecutors want to hear from a Republican congresswoman who has said she was aware of a conversation Trump had with the House GOP leader as rioters were ransacking the Capitol over the election results.
Five Republican senators joined all Democrats in voting 55-45 on a motion to consider witnesses and testimony.
Senators are in a brief recess as leaders confer on next steps.
The Senate is meeting in a rare weekend session for closing arguments in Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. The evenly divided Senate is poised to vote on whether the former president will be held accountable for inciting the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol.
– Rep. Herrera Beutler urges ‘patriots’ to talk about Trump call
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
The proceedings in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial have come to an abrupt halt, with senators seemingly confused about the next steps.
Senators were huddling on the floor of the chamber as leaders spoke to the clerks at the dais.
Impeachment trials are rare, especially for a president, and the rules are negotiated for each one at the outset.
For Trump’s trial, the agreement said if senators agree to hear witnesses, votes to hear additional testimony would be allowed.
It’s unclear if there will be support in the evenly split Senate for calling witnesses.
Senators have voted to consider witnesses in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
Closing arguments were expected Saturday with no witnesses called. But lead Democratic prosecutor Jamie Raskin of Maryland asked for a deposition of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler over fresh information.
Raskin said it was necessary to determine Trump’s role in inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot. There were 55 senators who voted to debate the motion to subpoena, including Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who changed his vote in the middle of the count.
Trump impeachment lawyer Michael van der Veen is telling senators that if Democrats wish to call a witness, he will ask for at least 100 witnesses and will insist they give depositions in person in his office in Philadelphia.
His animated statement was met with laughter from the chamber, which visibly angered van der Veen.
“There’s nothing laughable here,” he said. The trial is being held in person, but lawmakers are wearing masks and the coronavirus pandemic has halted most normal activity, including close contact in offices for depositions. In many civil and criminal cases, such work is handled via conference call.
Closing arguments are expected Saturday in the impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump. But lead Democratic prosecutor Jamie Raskin of Maryland has asked for a deposition of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler over fresh information.
House impeachment prosecutors say they will be preparing a deposition of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler over fresh information in Donald Trump’s trial over the deadly attack at the Capitol.
Lead Democratic prosecutor Jamie Raskin of Maryland said Saturday he would seek to hear from the Republican congresswoman, who has widely shared a conversation she had with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy over Trump’s actions Jan. 6 as the mob was rioting over the presidential election results.
It’s unclear if she or any other witnesses will be called.
Raskin said he would pursue a virtual interview with the Washington lawmaker.
Senators are meeting in a rare Saturday session in what is expected to be the final day in Trump’s historic trial.
Senators were speeding toward an expected vote in the rare Saturday session on whether to convict or acquit the former president on the charge of incitement of insurrection in the Jan. 6 attack.
Some senators want to consider witnesses, but it’s unclear if any will be called to testify, or if there would be enough support in a vote to do so.
The weeklong impeachment trial is the first of a former president.
That’s according to a source granted anonymity to discuss the leader’s thinking.
McConnell’s decision was made public Saturday ahead of what is expected to be a final day in the trial. Trump, the only president to have been impeached twice, is charged with inciting an insurrection in the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
The Republican leader’s views carry sway among GOP senators and are likely to influence others weighing their votes.
While most Democrats are expected to convict the former president, acquittal is likely in the evenly divided Senate.
Senators are meeting for a rare Saturday session as the weeklong trial wraps up.
__ Alan Fram
The closing phase of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is putting new scrutiny on what actions the former president took when his supporters overwhelmed police and stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. It comes as Democrats consider whether to force a debate on calling witnesses for the trial, which would require a majority vote of the Senate.
Democrats argue Trump incited the riot and then refused to stop it, putting Vice President Mike Pence in danger. Pence was in the Capitol presiding over the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory and was rushed to safety as the Capitol was invaded.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, who was one of 10 Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment in the House, said in a statement late Friday Trump rebuffed a plea from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to call off the rioters on Jan. 6. She said McCarthy had relayed the conversation to her.
One of Trump’s lawyers, Michael van der Veen, responded to those questions by saying that at “no point” was the president informed of any danger to Pence.
“What did Trump know, and when did he know it?” Whitehouse tweeted.
The trial resumes Saturday at 10 a.m. EST.
A little over a month ago, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress was voting to affirm Joe Biden’s election as the 46th president.
On Saturday, the Senate is set to meet in a rare weekend session for closing arguments in Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. And the evenly-divided Senate is poised to vote on whether the former president will be held accountable for inciting the Jan. 6 siege.
It seems unlikely that the 100-member Senate will be able to mount the two-thirds vote needed to convict Trump. Acquittal could heavily influence not only Trump’s political future but that of the senators sworn to deliver impartial justice as jurors.
Trump is the only president to be twice impeached and the first to face trial after leaving office.
House prosecutors have argued that Trump’s rallying cry to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” for his presidency just as Congress was convening Jan. 6 to certify Joe Biden’s election victory was part of an orchestrated pattern of violent rhetoric and false claims that unleashed the mob.
Seldom has Mitch McConnell signaled so little about such a consequential vote.
Many expect the Senate’s top Republican to back acquitting former President Donald Trump of a charge of inciting rioters who assaulted the Capitol last month. But no one is really sure how McConnell will vote.
The Washington political universe and the world beyond will hold their collective breath when the Senate impeachment trial roll call reaches McConnell’s name. The suspense over how he’ll vote underscores how much is at stake for McConnell and his party, though it seems extremely unlikely that 17 GOP senators will join all 50 Democrats to convict Trump.
McConnell is the chamber’s most influential Republican and the longest-serving GOP leader ever, and a vote to acquit would leave the party locked in its struggle to define itself in the post-Trump presidency. A guilty vote could do more to roil GOP waters by signaling an attempt to yank the party away from a figure still revered by most of its voters.
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