Senate Acquits Trump On House Charge He Incited Insurrection At The Capitol 7 Republicans Voted To Convict
WASHINGTON Donald Trump was acquitted Saturday of inciting the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, concluding a historic impeachment trial that spared him the first-ever conviction of a current or former U.S. president but exposed the fragility of Americas democratic traditions and left a divided nation to come to terms with the violence sparked by his defeated presidency.
Barely a month since the deadly Jan. 6 riot that stunned the world, the Senate convened for a rare weekend session to deliver its verdict, voting while armed National Guard troops continued to stand their posts outside the iconic building.
The quick trial, the nations first of a former president, showed in raw and emotional detail how perilously close the invaders had come to destroying the nations deep tradition of a peaceful transfer of presidential power after Trump had refused to concede the election. Rallying outside the White House, he unleashed a mob of supporters to fight like hell for him at the Capitol just as Congress was certifying Democrat Joe Bidens victory. As hundreds stormed the building, some in tactical gear engaging in bloody combat with police, lawmakers fled for their lives. Five people died.
The outcome after the uprising leaves unresolved the nations wrenching divisions over Trumps brand of politics that led to the most violent domestic attack on one of Americas three branches of government.
Trump Attorney Quit On Thursday Night Rejoined After Trump Called Him
President Trump’s attorney David Schoen quit on Thursday night over a dispute in strategy about how to use the videos that aired during the defense team’s arguments on Friday, a source close to Mr. Trump’s legal team said. He rejoined the legal team after Mr. Trump called and asked him to, the source said.;
The news was first reported by The New York Times.
Schoen participated in the defense’s arguments Friday afternoon, but will not be present at the trial on Saturday because he observes the Jewish Sabbath.
Senate Republicans Block Bill To Suspend Debt Limit And Avert Shutdown In Key Vote
Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed bill to suspend the debt limit and avert a government shutdown from advancing in the Senate on Monday.
The move comes after Republicans had insisted that Democrats act alone to address the debt limit and leaves Congress without a clear plan to keep the government open with the threat of a potential shutdown looming by the end of the week.
Government funding is set to expire on September 30, and the stopgap bill the House approved last week would extend funding and keep the government open through December 3. In addition, the measure includes a debt limit suspension through December 16, 2022. The clock is ticking to address the debt limit and Congress may only have until mid-October to act before the federal government can no longer pay its bills.
The Senate voted on a procedural motion to advance the legislation, which needed 60 votes to succeed. Since Democrats control only 50 seats in the chamber, they would have needed 10 Senate Republicans to vote in favor.
In the end, the bill failed on a 48-50 party-line vote with no Republicans voting with Democrats in support of the measure. After he voted to advance the bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer switched his vote from a yes to a no so he could preserve his procedural ability to bring it up again.
After the failed vote, Schumer promised further action this week to prevent a shutdown but did not outline a plan.
Raskin Makes Concluding Remarks
Raskin took a few minutes to respond to van der Veen’s final arguments, saying that he would show restraint and “resist the opportunity to rebut every single false and illogical thing you just heard.”
Raskin noted that Castor said yesterday that the attack on the Capitol was not “insurrection,” but van der Veen said today that “everyone agrees” that there was an insurrection. He also pushed back against the argument that impeachment was “constitutional cancel culture,” pointing out that Mr. Trump would not face any criminal consequences.
“When has his speech ever been stifled? he says exactly what he wants whenever he wants. Even when you convict him for incitement of insurrection, he will continue to say whatever he wants,” Raskin said, adding that impeachment is a “simple remedy to protect all of us.”
Raskin said that Mr. Trump had tried to overturn the election, which he lost by 7 million votes.
“The first amendment is on our side. He tried to overturn the will of the people, the voice of the people,” Raskin said. “He must pay the price.”
Dean Makes Appeal To Senators: I Ask That You Not Look The Other Way
Congresswoman Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania laid out the managers case for how Mr. Trump incited the violence at the Capitol with remarks he made in the months, days and hours before the insurrection.
Donald Trump invited them. He incited them. Then he directed them, Dean said.;
She then played a montage of clips featuring the president speaking at rallies and on television, arguing his rhetoric led to the attack.
The violence on January the 6th was demonstrably foreseeable, Dean said.
The managers arguments were interrupted on two occasions when objections were raised about content included in the presentations by Dean and Cicilline before her. Leahy, who is presiding over the trial, said new evidence is not allowed during closing arguments.
Donald Trump was acting as our commander in chief. He was our president. He used his office and the authority it commands to incite an attack. And when Congress and the Constitution were under attack, he abandoned his duties, violated his oath, failing to preserve, protect and defend, Dean said.
Drawing on her own experience January 6, Dean conceded she was unaware of the extent of Mr. Trumps involvement and just how close the rioters came to lawmakers.;
We know what Donald Trump did. We know what he failed to do, she said. Though it is difficult to bear witness and face the reality of what happened in these halls, what happens if we dont confront these facts? What happens if there is no accountability?
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Raskin Says They Want To Subpoena Congresswoman Who Recalled Mccarthy Call With Trump
Lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said he wants the Senate to subpoena Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who confirmed in a statement Friday night that McCarthy urged the president to call off the riot on January 6, Mr. Trump balked and backed the rioters.;
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” he said, according to the congresswoman’s account of what the minority leader told her.;
In her statement, Herrera Beutler also urged others who know more to come forward.;
Raskin said he wants the Senate to subpoena the congresswoman and her contemporaneous notes.
“We believe we’ve proven our case,” Raskin said, before adding that he would like to hear from Herrera Beutler.
Grace Segers and Kathryn Watson ;
House Managers Begin Their Closing Arguments
Before moving to his closing arguments, Raskin underscored the importance of Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s statement and argued the former president’s conduct while the violence at the Capitol was ongoing is relevant to the charge he incited an insurrection.
“After he knew that violence was underway at the Capitol, President Trump took actions that further incited the insurgents to be more inflamed and to take even more extreme, selective and focused action against Vice President Mike Pence,” Raskin said.
That conduct, he said, is “obviously part and parcel” of the constitutional offense Mr. Trump was impeached by the House for, incitement of insurrection.
Raskin shot down the defense’s claim that Mr. Trump’s actions before and after the riot are irrelevant.;
“Of course your conduct while a crime is ongoing is relevant to your culpability, both to the continuation of the offense but also directly relevant, directly illuminating to what your purpose was originally, what was your intent,” he said.
Turning to his closing arguments, Raskin then offered a spirited defense of Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was one of 10 GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Mr. Trump and whose post as the House’s No. 3 Republican was threatened because of her support for impeachment.
“Think, imagine, is there another president in our history who would urge supporters to come to Washington for a wild time?” Raskin said.
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How Democrats And Republicans Voted On Witnesses In The Trump Impeachment Trial
More than 50 votes will ensure passage
The Senate on Friday rejected a measure to consider calling new witnesses and evidence in President Trumps impeachment trial. The vote, 51 to 49, was largely along party lines. See how every senator voted below.
The vote came after eight days of presentations and questioning. The Senate was divided over whether to compel testimony from additional witnesses including John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser.
Democrats needed four Republicans to join them in supporting the motion. Only two Republican senators, Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, broke with their party and supported the proposal.
Did Republican Witnesses Help Democrats More
Later on Tuesday, the lawmakers heard from former National Security Council official Tim Morrison and US ex-special to Ukraine Kurt Volker. They had been listed as two men Republicans wanted to talk to during the public impeachment hearings.
It turns out they hurt Donald Trumps defence as much as they helped it.
Morrison did say there was nothing illegal or concerning about Donald Trumps 25 July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and no ill motive for moving the rough transcript of that call to a more secure government server.
He also, however, corroborated reports that US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland pressured Ukraine to open investigations that could prove politically helpful to Donald Trump and that Sondland was in regular contact with the president.
Volker said he recalled past instances where the US had held up aid to a foreign nation and saw no evidence of bribery in this case, but he also turned out to be a character witness for Joe Biden.
Not only did he assert that there was nothing untoward about the former vice-presidents dealings with Ukraine, but he expressed dismay to learn that when Trump administration officials were calling for investigations into Ukrainian energy company Burisma, they were really looking to damage the Democratic presidential hopeful.
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What Did Trump Officials Tell Omb About The Holdup Of The Aid
Democrats also had Duffey, the politically appointed OMB official, on their witness wish list. In July, Duffey took over control of the Ukraine aid from the career official assigned to handle it something that TIME reported in December no one in the division remembered happening before.
Democratic lawmakers, government watchdog groups and journalists have all tried to obtain key internal communications between Duffey and White House aides discussing the Ukraine aid freeze.
Of particular interest are some 40 pages of emails between Blair and Duffey. OMB has refused to turn them over, even with redactions. All 20 emails are being withheld, the agencys Freedom of Information Act officer said in a terse letter in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York Times.
Two Democratic Senators Call For Deposing Tuberville And Mccarthy
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse called for suspending the impeachment trial to depose Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The Democrat from Rhode Island tweeted his suggestion on Friday night, as Tuberville and McCarthy had conversations with Mr. Trump on January 6.
Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler confirmed in a statement on Saturday that McCarthy had told her about a conversation he had with Mr. Trump on January 6, when the former president told McCarthy that the rioters who had stormed the Capitol “are more upset about the election than you are.”
Tuberville spoke with Mr. Trump shortly after 2 p.m. on January 6, after Vice President Mike Pence had been evacuated from the chamber. It is unclear whether Tuberville spoke with Mr. Trump before the president sent a disparaging tweet about Mr. Pence at 2:24 p.m. Senator Mike Lee, who fielded the call, later claimed on Friday evening that the call between Tuberville and Mr. Trump happened at 2:30 p.m. However, Lee did not provide evidence of that timeline.
Whitehouse said in a tweet on Friday evening that the way to clear up confusion would be “to depose McCarthy and Tuberville under oath and get facts,” and ask the Secret Service to produce communications to the White House about Pence’s safety during the siege.
Democratic Senator Ed Markey expressed his agreement in a tweet on Saturday.
The Senate will vote on whether to call witnesses on Saturday.
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Congresswoman Backs Claim That Trump Told Mccarthy Well I Guess These People Are More Upset About The Election Than You Are
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler issued a statement late Friday backing reports that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had reached President Trump by phone on January 6.
According to Herrera Beutler, McCarthy told her that when he spoke to Mr. Trump that day and asked him to “publicly and forcefully” call off the Capitol assault, “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,” Beutler’s statement said. “That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.'”;
Herrera Beutler, a Republican from Washington, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump. She referenced the call in her statement of support of impeachment.
Vote Comes After Surprise Call For Witnesses
Closing the House managers argument, Raskin played to senators sense of history in urging them to convict the former President for inciting the rioters to attack the Capitol and failing to stop them after the violence unfolded.
This is almost certainly how you will be remembered by history, Raskin said. That might not be fair. It really might not be fair. But none of us can escape the demands of history and destiny right now. Our reputations and our legacy will be inextricably intertwined with what we do here, and with how you exercise your oath to do impartial justice.
Van der Veen argued that Trump did not incite a riot that had been preplanned, again repeating the falsehood that the rioters represented both left and right fringe groups, when video evidence and court documents conclusively show that the riot was perpetrated by Trump supporters.
The final vote came quickly on the fifth day of the Senate trial after a surprise Democratic request for witnesses earlier Saturday threw the trial briefly into chaos.
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Concerns That Calling Witnesses Would Backfire
House Democrats ultimately decided to cut a deal over witnesses because of the unpredictability of how that would turn out and fears that doing so could backfire and undermine their case, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the discussions.
Democrats didnt make a decision to call Herrera Beutler to testify until shortly before the proceedings began Saturday morning, sources said. The managers debated until nearly 3 a.m. ET Saturday morning about whether to call witnesses following news of the McCarthy call, including consulting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Managers had their eyes set on at least two possible witnesses Herrera Beutler and Rep. John Katko of New York who also voted to impeach, according to a source with direct knowledge of the deliberations. A spokesman for Herrera Beutler said she would have been willing to testify.
Among the variety of reasons they did not go forward, they were warned bluntly by Senate Democrats that moving forward on witnesses could stall the Senate since the Trump team could move forward with any number of motions for witnesses. Each motion would require two hours of debate. That warning was delivered Saturday to the Democratic impeachment managers by Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, who said he was conveying what Republicans had told him, according to the source along with a Coons aide.
Sen Whitehouse: Congress Examining Role Of Some Gop Officials In Capitol Riot
If these shocking allegations are true, then taken together, prosecutors may be able to link rioters to GOP senators and link GOP senators to the president, a pattern that would place them all in the same, massive conspiracy. Such a plot to overthrow the U.S. government by American citizens would suggest that our democracy is facing a peril graver than any we have seen since the Civil War.
Impeachment, of course, does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. For most senators watching, more proof that Trump incited a violent riot is not needed. For others, notably the 44 GOP senators who have indicated they will vote to acquit, the question of causation phrased as whether there was indeed incitement still offers an off-ramp.
As one of us urged with the last impeachment, given the critical importance to the country of the outcome of the trial, the Senate should not be in a hurry. Calling witnesses would likely require issuing subpoenas and then having the patience to enforce them. But given that the Democrats hold the bare majority needed to make that call, the choice is theirs.
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Democrats Hopeful To Convict Trump
The ball is in the court of the Republicans as a minimum of 17 GOP senators would have to join all the Democrats to reach the two-thirds majority required to find Trump guilty of incitement of insurrection.
While the Republican vote seems like an unlikely scenario, Democrats hope;they can win over enough Republican senators to convict Trump for his role in Januarys Capitol riots.
Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Susan Collins of Maine;are some of the names the Democrats could seek to persuade.;
These four;are frequent critics of Trump and have said in the past that he incited the insurrection. They have also joined with Democrats twice to vote against the Republican efforts to dismiss the impeachment trial.
But in what appears to be a shock for the Democrats, Senates top Republican Mitch McConnell said Saturday he will vote against convicting the former president.
While describing the vote on whether to convict as a close call, McConnell told colleagues in a letter that I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we, therefore, lack jurisdiction.
I will vote to acquit, McConnell added, leaving it highly likely that the Senate will fail to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to convict Trump.
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