The twists and turns of President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial just kept coming on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, the Senate surprised everyone by voting to consider witness testimony, which likely would have extended the trial into next week, at least. There was reportedly a lot of confusion, and even some harsh exchanges, on the Senate floor in the wake of the vote, and reports suggested those in Trump’s orbit were stunned at the last-minute development. His legal team, meanwhile, seemed prepared to call a host of witnesses to counter the Democratic House impeachment managers, who wanted to bring in Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) to testify about a Jan. 6 phone call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the contents of which she said McCarthy relayed to her.
But it wasn’t meant to be. During a brief recess the two sides reportedly reached a deal, and once the upper chamber reconvened Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) simply read Herrera Beutler’s statement about the call. That was entered into the Senate record, no further witnesses will be called, and closing arguments are underway.
Democrats were quickly accused of caving despite seemingly having momentum on their side, even if Trump’s acquittal remained the most likely outcome. It’s unclear why exactly they didn’t follow through, but attorney Daniel Goldman, the lead counsel for the House’s first impeachment inquiry into Trump last year, said he was told that the impeachment managers weren’t able to round up the witnesses they wanted, especially on short notice.
I’m told that multiple witnesses near Trump and Pence were approached by the House team to provide testimony about Trump’s state of mind and the threat to Pence and no one wanted to cooperate.
Too risky to call someone cold, particularly when the case is so powerful as is.
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) February 13, 2021