In some 11th hour drama worthy of Perry Mason, the House Saturday morning (Feb. 13), including five Republicans, voted 55 to 45 to potentially subpoena witnesses--or at least one witness--and documents in the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
That will mean depositions will need to be set up, witnesses agreed on, and almost certainly no vote Saturday (Feb. 13) on the former President's guilt or innocence.
The Impeachment managers and Trump lawyers had ended their cases Friday and were expected to present closing arguments, followed by a vote Saturday. But late Friday, the story broke of a phone call between Trump and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in the midst of the Capitol insurrection during which McCarthy asked for the President's help in quelling the riot and the President's response was: "Well Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."
That call details were revealed by Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who Impeachment managers asked to be subpoenaed, along with her contemporaneous notes, saying it was material to their case. Trump's attorney said it was immaterial since it came after the insurrection began and the impeachment article is only about speech that allegedly incited the initial attack.
There was some confusion about what the vote on a witness/witnesses meant, but one thing it appeared to mean was that the trial will not end for a few more days and could include multiple witnesses.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny, describing the confusion around a hasty quorum call and 11th hour request for a witness (or witnesses) a "C-SPAN moment."
The 11th hour witness request was prompted by the following statement from Rep. Herrera Beutler.
“In my January 12 statement in support of the article of impeachment, I referenced a conversation House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy relayed to me that he’d had with President Trump while the January 6 attack was ongoing. Here are the details:
“When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot, 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. That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.’
“Since I publicly announced my decision to vote for impeachment, I have shared these details in countless conversations with constituents and colleagues, and multiple times through the media and other public forums.
“I told it to the Daily News of Longview on January 17. I’ve shared it with local county Republican executive board members, as well as other constituents who ask me to explain my vote. I shared it with thousands of residents on my telephone town hall on February 8.
“To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time.”
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