Update: the Senate, House impeachment managers, and former President Donald Trump’s counsels agree to put a statement from Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) into the record as witness evidence. The impeachment trial will enter closing arguments.
The Senate voted Saturday morning to allow the House impeachment managers and counsels for former President Donald Trump to call witnesses.
Five Republicans—including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)—joined Democrats to vote for calling at least one witness.
Graham initially voted against subpoenaing witnesses, but later changed his vote to an “aye.” He said earlier that Trump’s counsel will call many witnesses if the House impeachment managers decide to call witnesses.
It’s unclear how many witnesses the Senate will subpoena since it is subject to further debates and votes.
Some senators asked Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to clarify, but he said debate is not allowed during the vote. Leahy is presiding over Trump’s impeachment.
Trump’s office didn’t respond to a request 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 an alleged phone call between House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Trump on Jan. 6.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) alleged in a statement that Trump hesitated to call off the riots at the request of McCarthy during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
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,” he reportedly told McCarthy after McCarthy reportedly refuted the Antifa narrative.
The Epoch Times could not independently verify Herrera Beutler’s statement.
Trump and McCarthy’s offices didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Epoch Times.
According to the various court documents, the people who breached the Capitol mostly have right-wing ideologies, but some affiliated with Antifa or similar agendas also participated.
“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 like Herrera Beutler.
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.
It’s not clear if the House impeachment managers had knowledge about the alleged McCarthy-Trump phone call, with Raskin saying Saturday that it was “breaking.”
However, Beutler said in her statement that she shared the information about the call widely after she first mentioned it in a Jan. 12 statement.
“I told it to the Daily News of Longview on Jan. 17,” she said. “I’ve shared it with local county Republican executive board members, as well as other constituents who ask me to explain my vote. I shared it with thousands of residents on my telephone town hall on Feb. 8,” she said in the statement.
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.