The move will likely prolong the trial.
The Senate voted to allow witnesses to testify in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, after the House prosecutors said they would seek the testimony of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) about her knowledge of a call between the ex-president and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy as violence escalated at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The decision could prolong the Senate’s impeachment trial of Trump for inciting the insurrection that day. Herrera Beutler has indicated that McCarthy related to her the details of the phone call in which Trump denied a demand to call off the rioters despite McCarthy’s pleas.
Late Friday, a previously revealed anecdote took on new life when Herrera Beutler pleaded with Pence and others close to Trump to reveal what they know. Herrera Beutler, one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment, reiterated an account of a conversation that Trump had with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy while rioters ransacked the Capitol.
Herrera Beutler said that in McCarthy’s telling, he pleaded with Trump to call off his supporters. Trump initially responded by denying they were his backers and attributing the breach to left-wing extremists. McCarthy, per Herrera Beutler, rejected Trump’s claim, to which Trump purportedly responded “I guess these people are just more angry about the election and upset than you are.”
Both Tuberville and Herrera Beutler’s anecdotes have revived the witness debate, prompting one Senate Democrat — who just hours earlier on Friday said calling witnesses would be unnecessary — to suggest pausing the trial to depose McCarthy ad Tuberville.
“One way to clear it up? Suspend trial to depose McCarthy and Tuberville under oath and get facts,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). “Ask Secret Service to produce for review comms back to White House re VP Pence safety during siege. What did Trump know, and when did he know it?”
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