BREAKING: Senate Votes 55-45 (Final Update: Deal to Call No Witnesses, Enter Statement)

The WaPo is reporting that the Senate will call wtinesses:

The Senate voted Saturday to call witnesses in Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, in a surprise move that comes one day after a Republican congresswoman’s account of the former president’s actions on Jan. 6 received national attention.
Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Saturday that he wanted to subpoena Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.).

Beutler will be able to confirm that call from McCarthy to Trump where Trump made it explicit that he was on the side of the insurrection and wouldn’t do anything to stop it.

In her statement Friday night, Beutler said that when McCarthy “finally reached the president on Jan. 6 and asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot, the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol.”
“McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters. That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said, ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,’” Beutler said.

It seems the House managers initially decided against calling witnesses. If they changed their mind, it would partly be because of Beutler’s statement last night.

“Last night this was breaking news,” Raskin said.

Now here is an interesting twist:

Five Republicans joined Democrats in voting in favor: Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), who initially voted “no” but later switched to “yes.”

Graham had previously warned against calling witnesses, saying the defense would call plenty of their own and it would be embarrassing.

Graham focused on the idea that Trump’s defense would then call witnesses that could reinforce that certain elements of the Capitol siege planned and coordinated the attack beforehand.
“There’s mounting evidence that the people came to Washington preplanned the attack before the president ever spoke,” Graham said. He added: “If you open up that can of worms, we’ll want the FBI to come in and tell us about how people preplanned this attack and what happened with the security footprint of the Capitol. You open up Pandora’s box if you call one witness.”

Graham’s line of argument strikes me as wishful thinking, given that the FBI is accumulating more and more evidence that Trump was involved in the planning. If he thinks the FBI will indict Antifa, he is even more deluded than usual (which is saying something).

  • February 13, 2021
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