Everyone thought day five of the impeachment trial against former-President Donald Trump was going to be over on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. Still, the hearing was unexpectedly delayed when House Managers requested Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) be allowed to testify before Congress. Hours later, the senators voted to acquit him — 57 guilty to 43 not guilty.
Only 34 nay votes were needed to acquit since impeachment trials require a majority to decide. Seven Republicans voted alongside all of the Democrats, finding him guilty.
Trump’s acquittal is not much of a surprise; it was more or less expected. His supporters have reason to party; Democrats not so much. Average Americans are relieved the former president’s 2nd impeachment trial is over.
Trying to find something good about the impeachment trial’s outcome other than Congress’s official record might prove difficult. However, Lead House Manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) is grateful that President Joe Biden’s election was validated.
Decision About Calling Impeachment Witnesses Causes Unexpected Delays
Rep. Raskin announced Beutler would produce evidence based on her copious notes about his actions after the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, during her conversation with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). She would recount his telling of his phone conversation with Trump.
The impeachment lawyer for the defense, Michael von der Veen, lost his cool when it was time for his response to calling witnesses. His demeanor was hostile when he responded to the request for a witness.
Von der Veen said he would be compelled to call Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Vice President Kamala Harris, Washington D. C. Mayor Muriel Bowser; hundreds to be deposed for the impeachment trial.
Immediately after senators voted in favor of witness testimony — 55-45 — a recess was called to discuss how to proceed. Ultimately the House Managers and defense lawyers mutually agreed to allow Beutler’s statement into the record.
It appears as though the prosecution heeded Von der Veen’s threats that could extend the trial for weeks, if not longer. However, another factor warranting discussion is having to vote for each proposed witness during their discovery process. “Congress must vote on each witness motion must be majority votes 51 to approve witnesses,” according to CNN.
Trump’s first impeachment trial was over as fast as it began. Whereas former-President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial lasted 37 days with only three witnesses.
Brief Account of Beutler’s Statement
McCarthy urged then-president Trump to defuse the attack, to make a public statement to forcefully call off the rioters. After trying to deflect the importance of the attack on the U.S. Capitol building, he shifted the conversation tone. In Beutler’s statement, Trump says:
Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.
Before the impeachment trial began today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told various media outlets he would be voting to acquit. Nonetheless, he holds Trump responsible. After the hearing had concluded, the senator said Trump is morally accountable for the outcome of Jan. 6’s attack on the United States Capitol.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Hill: Senate votes to hear witnesses in Trump trial; by Mike Lillis
CNN: Trump’s second impeachment trial: Day 5; by Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN
AP: Herrera Beutler urges ‘patriots’ to talk about Trump call
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Anthony Crider’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Kate Nisbet’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License