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House impeachment manager: ‘We needed more senators with spines,’ not witnesses

There was a moment Saturday when it looked like former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial would extend into next week. The Senate had surprisingly voted to consider hearing from witnesses, and it appeared as if both sides were going to call people into testify. But after a quick recess, the Democratic House impeachment managers entered one final piece of evidence into the record, and the trial moved into the closing argument phase before Trump was acquitted by the upper chamber, as many expected.

Democrats were criticized for caving, but several impeachment managers pushed back on that idea Sunday. Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) told CNN’s Jake Tapper that she understands some of the frustration, but said gathering testimony from individuals who were near Trump on Jan. 6 during the Capitol riot would have required a lengthy subpoena process, and many of them would have “hostile witnesses.” Plaskett argued that the impeachment managers had put forth “sufficient evidence” to prove Trump incited an insurrection, either way. “We didn’t need more witnesses,” she said. “We needed more senators with spines.”

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Her colleagues, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), agreed. Raskin told NBC’s Chuck Todd that even if “a thousand witnesses” had testified, he doesn’t think they would have been able to persuade enough Republican senators to flip their vote. Dean put it simply to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “America witnessed this. We were in a room full of witnesses and victims.”