The Senate, House impeachment managers, and former President Donald Trump’s counsels have agreed to enter a statement by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) into the record of Trump’s impeachment trial as evidence, with the trial moving to the closing arguments phase ahead of a vote on whether to convict.
Beutler said in recent tweets and a statement that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) spoke with Trump as a mob was storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and that the president hesitated to call off the riots at McCarthy’s request.
Trump allegedly believed it was Antifa that had breached the Capitol in the first place.
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump is reported to have told McCarthy after McCarthy reportedly refuted the Antifa narrative.
The Epoch Times could not independently verify Beutler’s statement.
Trump and McCarthy’s offices didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Epoch Times.
Before the Senate vote, lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) stated that they wanted to call witnesses because of the alleged phone call between McCarthy and Trump.
“We would like the opportunity to subpoena Congresswoman Herrera [Beutler] regarding her communications with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and to subpoena her contemporaneous notes that she made regarding what President Trump told Kevin McCarthy in the middle of the insurrection,” Raskin said. “We would be prepared to proceed by Zoom deposition of an hour or less just as soon as Congresswoman Herrera Beutler is available.”
Raskin further stated that the House impeachment managers would like to take depositions from anyone else who comes forward as Beutler had done.
Trump’s counsel Michael van der Veen responded that the call for witnesses is “inappropriate and improper.”
“After what happened here in this chamber yesterday, the House managers realize they did not investigate this case before bringing the impeachment. They did not give the proper consideration and they didn’t put the work in that was necessary to impeach the former president,” he said.
However, van der Veen said he would like to ask for “at least over 100 depositions” if the House impeachment managers want to subpoena witnesses.
“Do not handcuff me by limiting the number of witnesses that I can have,” van der Veen said.
He emphasized that the proposed subpoena is also irrelevant to the article of impeachment that he said should focus on what happened before the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
Raskin’s call on Beutler to testify prompted Republican lawmakers to issue calls for other witnesses, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), to give testimony.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a series of tweets that he believes it is “better for the country” for the trial to go to a final vote without calling witnesses.
“However, if the body wants witnesses, I am going to insist we have multiple witnesses,” Graham said in a tweet, adding, “We can start with Speaker Pelosi to answer the question as to whether or not there was credible evidence of pre-planned violence before President Trump spoke?”
“Whether Speaker Pelosi, due to optics, refused requests by the Capitol Hill Police for additional resources like the National Guard?” Graham said in another tweet. “Her testimony is incredibly relevant to the incitement charge.”
Other lawmakers made similar calls.
“If the House Managers call Rep. Herrera Beutler as a witness, the first witness Trump’s lawyers should call is Nancy Pelosi,” Rep. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a series of tweets.
“Several Qs she should answer: What did you know about threats to the Capitol? When? Did you turn down national guard because of ‘optics?’” he wrote, adding that the next witness that should be called is Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Following the decision not to have Beutler testify but to enter her testimony into the record, and given that no other witnesses have been called, the respective teams get two hours each for closing statements, meaning that a final vote on conviction is near certain to come on Saturday.
At least 17 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber would have to join all 50 Democrats to convict Trump, which a number of GOP senators have insisted is highly unlikely.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told CNN that, “I think you get at best six Republicans—probably five and maybe six,” who will cast votes in favor of a conviction.
The six Republicans could be the ones who broke with their GOP colleagues Tuesday in voting that the impeachment trial was constitutional: Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
Lawmakers from both parties have said they would like to wrap the trial up quickly so they could move on to other business, such as confirmation votes on senior Biden administration officials and COVID-19 relief.
Allen Zhong contributed to this report.