As the Senate floor transformed into a state of confusion following the surprising vote to hear from witnesses in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) reportedly got into a heated discussion with his GOP colleague Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who along with four other Republicans joined Democrats in the 55-45 tally.
“… They were going back and forth with Sullivan in the middle of them. I heard Johnson tell Romney ‘Blame you.’ Voices were definitely raised.”
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) February 13, 2021
Johnson, like most everyone else, was apparently under the assumption the vote would go the other way, setting up a quick end to the trial on Saturday. But Democrats became more interested in hearing from witnesses after more details about a call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in the middle of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot emerged. And shortly after the Senate convened on Saturday morning, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a House impeachment manager, said he and the other managers wanted to hear from Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), who described McCarthy’s recounting of the call.
Trump was and still is headed toward acquittal, as it remains unlikely enough Republicans will be swayed by witnesses to reach the two-thirds majority required for conviction. For instance, it was reported earlier Saturday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who was at least publicly on the fence, had told colleagues in an email that he was prepared to vote to acquit. It doesn’t seem like that will change, since his reasoning was based on the fact that Trump is already out of office rather than on anything about Trump’s alleged role, or lack thereof, on Jan. 6. Other lawmakers are expected to move forward with the same rationale.