The Senate was thrown into disarray and chaos Saturday after senators voted to consider allowing witnesses be called during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. The move had many in the Democratic base cheering as it brought an unexpected twist to what everyone had expected was going to be a quick acquittal on Saturday. But the excitement didn’t last long. Shortly after the vote, the House impeachment managers, Trump’s legal team, and leaders in the Senate all reached a deal to not call witnesses.
The agreement to eschew the consideration of witnesses came after Senate Democrats were caught off-guard by the call for witnesses from the impeachment managers. It seems the managers didn’t actually make the final determination to call for the vote until minutes before the session started Saturday morning. Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, said he wanted to subpoena GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who shook up Washington Friday night with a statement that said that mid-riot Trump had expressed sympathy for the rioters who stormed the capital Jan. 6 during an expletive-laden phone call with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who was asking for him to call them off. In the end, rather than call Herrera Beutler as a witness, senators decided to enter her statement into the trial record.
ORIGINAL STORY – The New York Daily News:
Democratic House managers Saturday won the right to call a Republican congresswoman as a witness as former President Trump’s impeachment trial was thrown into chaos by dramatic last-minute revelations about his failure to act to quell the Capitol riot.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) rocked the trial by pushing lawmakers to hear from GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.).
The Senate voted 54-46, including four Republicans, to allow the trial to hear from witnesses. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), who initially voted against witnesses, later sought to change his vote to agree.
Beutler, a Trump critic, rocked the trial by revealing that Trump knew Vice President Mike Pence was in grave danger when Trump tweeted attacks on him as his supporters rampaged through the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The Democrats who act as prosecutors in Trump’s trial say they want to call the lawmaker to testify by Zoom to detail what she was told by Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California about his conversation with Trump.
She revealed Friday night that McCarthy said Trump essentially rebuffed his pleas for help to protect Pence.
Trump’s lawyers furiously denounced the move, calling it a last-minute rule change that would deny Trump a fair trial.
Herrera Beuttler would testify under oath about what Trump did and didn’t do as a mob of his supporters marauded through the Capitol hunting down perceived enemies like Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).