WASHINGTON: The Latest on former President Donald Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial (all times local):
The closing phase of Donald Trumps impeachment trial is putting new scrutiny on what actions the former president took when his supporters overwhelmed police and stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. It comes as Democrats consider whether to force a debate on calling witnesses for the trial, which would require a majority vote of the Senate.
Democrats argue Trump incited the riot and then refused to stop it, putting Vice President Mike Pence in danger. Pence was in the Capitol presiding over the certification of President Joe Bidens election victory and was rushed to safety as the Capitol was invaded.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, who was one of 10 Republicans to vote for Trumps impeachment in the House, said in a statement late Friday Trump rebuffed a plea from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to call off the rioters on Jan. 6. She said McCarthy had relayed the conversation to her.
Another Republican, Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, said he told Trump during a call on Jan. 6 that Pence was being evacuated from the Senate.
Several Republicans who are seen as wavering on whether to convict Trump pressed Trumps lawyers during questioning to account for Trumps actions on Jan. 6.
One of Trumps lawyers, Michael van der Veen, responded to those questions by saying that at no point was the president informed of any danger to Pence.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, said the Senate should suspend the trial to question McCarthy and Tuberville under oath, and to seek records from the Secret Service.
What did Trump know, and when did he know it? Whitehouse tweeted.
The trial resumes Saturday at 10 a.m. EST.
HERES WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S SECOND SENATE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL:
The Senate is meeting in a rare weekend session for closing arguments in Donald Trumps second impeachment trial. The evenly divided Senate is poised to vote on whether the former president will be held accountable for inciting the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol.
Close watch on tight-lipped GOP leader McConnells stand
Which GOP senators are seen as possible votes against Trump?
Rep. Herrera Beutler urges patriots to talk about Trump call
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
A little over a month ago, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress was voting to affirm Joe Bidens election as the 46th president.
On Saturday, the Senate is set to meet in a rare weekend session for closing arguments in Donald Trumps second impeachment trial. And the evenly-divided Senate is poised to vote on whether the former president will be held accountable for inciting the Jan. 6 siege.
It seems unlikely that the 100-member Senate will be able to mount the two-thirds vote needed to convict Trump. Acquittal could heavily influence not only Trumps political future but that of the senators sworn to deliver impartial justice as jurors.
Trump is the only president to be twice impeached and the first to face trial after leaving office.
House prosecutors have argued that Trumps rallying cry to go to the Capitol and fight like hell for his presidency just as Congress was convening Jan. 6 to certify Joe Bidens election victory was part of an orchestrated pattern of violent rhetoric and false claims that unleashed the mob.
Trumps lawyers say Trumps words were not intended to incite the violence and that impeachment is nothing but a witch hunt designed to prevent him from serving in office again.
Seldom has Mitch McConnell signaled so little about such a consequential vote.
Many expect the Senates top Republican to back acquitting former President Donald Trump of a charge of inciting rioters who assaulted the Capitol last month. But no one is really sure how McConnell will vote.
The Washington political universe and the world beyond will hold their collective breath when the Senate impeachment trial roll call reaches McConnells name. The suspense over how hell vote underscores how much is at stake for McConnell and his party, though it seems extremely unlikely that 17 GOP senators will join all 50 Democrats to convict Trump.
McConnell is the chambers most influential Republican and the longest-serving GOP leader ever, and a vote to acquit would leave the party locked in its struggle to define itself in the post-Trump presidency. A guilty vote could do more to roil GOP waters by signaling an attempt to yank the party away from a figure still revered by most of its voters.
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