The Senate was planning to end Saturday’s second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump and hand him another acquittal. But then the news came out late Friday of a ruinous statement made by Trump to House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy after the January 6 Capitol rebellion that the House is accusing him of inciting.
The new specifics of Trump’s response to the Capitol attack could affect senators’ thought ahead of the vote and lead to a pause in the outcome of the trial whether the prosecutor, defense, or senators wish to call witnesses to affirm or deny the story.
During the Capitol breach, Trump replied to House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy urging the then-president on a phone call to encourage his followers to stop their attacks by reminding McCarthy that “the rebel is more confused about the polls than you are,” quoting McCarthy’s lawmakers briefed on the call.
Washington GOP Rep., who voted to impeach Trump, verified and commented on the account in a statement calling for others to come forward details on Trump’s January 6 reaction. On January 17, she had earlier conveyed the McCarthy-Trump call to her local newspaper, The Daily Press, but it did not attract national coverage.
On January 6, when McCarthy eventually reached the president and asked him to openly and forcefully call off the riot, the president initially reiterated the lie that it was Antifa that violated the Capitol,” she said. According to McCarthy, that’s when the president said, ‘Well, Kevin, I think these people are, um, those people.
Saturday at 10 a.m., the Senate is expected to reconvene the proceedings. Senators had wanted the House’s impeachment managers and the prosecution team of Trump to forgo calling witnesses or joining late motions to add new facts, as the trial rules permit, and to proceed immediately to a final vote and closing arguments.
During the question-and-answer section of the proceedings, the proposal appeared in the air with the latest announcement considering senators requesting more detail on the timeframe in which Trump heard that the Capitol had been compromised and how he reacted.
Adds Doubt to the Timeline
The timeline was of specific concern to Republicans weighing convictions, such as Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Mitt Romney of Utah. Most of them feel that the defense’s replies did not justify Trump’s response on January 6, so they are likely to be involved in the latest specifics of his McCarthy phone call.
Cassidy had asked about the House executives after Friday’s session, claiming that Trump learned Vice President Mike Pence was evacuated from the Senate by a phone call with Alabama GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville until he tweeted, “Pence did not have the courage” to avoid certifying the outcome of the election.