Following a surprise vote and intense negotiations over calling witnesses, House impeachment managers and former President Trump's defense team agreed on Saturday afternoon to push forward with the conclusion of the impeachment trial.
The latest: In their closing arguments, House impeachment managers allege that former President Trump egged on his supporters for months, culminating in the deadly attack on Jan. 6. Trump then sat by during the riot, waiting hours as his vice president and members of Congress were under siege, to tell his supporters to go home, the managers claim.
Driving the news: Their closing statements come after lead House impeachment manager, Rep. Jaime Raskin, unexpectedly announced Saturday morning that his team would seek testimony from Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) to talk about her knowledge of a conversation between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump during the Capitol attack.
- Beutler — one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump — said McCarthy told her he pleaded with Trump to go on television and call off the riots, but the president refused to do so for hours.
- The Senate then voted 55-45 to call at least one witness. All Democrats and five Republicans voted in favor of seeking witness testimony.
- The five GOP Senators included: Susan Collins (Maine), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Mitt Romney (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Lindsey Graham (S.C).
- Trump’s defense team was furious with the 11th-hour decision and threatened to subpoena House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a series of other witnesses. Other Republicans also said they'd drag out the trial if the House managers decided to move forward with subpoenas.
The trial then recessed as both sides hashed out a deal. They agreed that, rather than calling for witnesses to testify before the Senate — which likely would have dragged out the trial for several more days, if not weeks — that they would instead submit a statement from Beutler for the record.
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The big picture: The Senate was expected to wrap up the trial and cast a final vote by the end of the day.
Of note: Shortly before reconvening for the trial on Saturday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote in an email to his GOP colleagues that he will vote to acquit Trump.