Democratic impeachment managers argued they were right not to call any witnesses after a Senate vote permitted them to do so during Saturday’s trial, which ended up with former President Donald Trump‘s acquittal.
‘We could have had 500 witnesses and it would have not have overcome the kinds of arguments being made by Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who were hanging their hats on the claim that it was somehow unconstitutional,’ head House impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, argued at a press conference after the Senate vote.
On Saturday morning, Raskin threw the impeachment trial into chaos when he said that the Democrats now wanted testimony and notes from Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who had information about a phone call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, which indicated the now ex-president refused to call off his MAGA mob.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, the House’s lead impeachment manager, said Democrats were right in not calling any witnesses after the Senate voted allowing them to do so
Raskin argued that they had gotten what they wanted, which is a statement about a call between President Donald Trump and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy into the record
Rep. Stacey Plaskett (center), said if Democrats had gone for a witness, such as former Vice President Mike Pence, they wouldn’t have know if he’d have helped their case
Trump’s legal team countered by saying they could call more than 300 witnesses.
On the Senate floor his lawyer, Michael van der Veen, said, ‘Nancy Pelosi’s deposition needs to be taken. Vice President Harris’ deposition, absolutely, needs to be taken. And not my Zoom. None of these depositions should be done by Zoom. We didn’t do this hearing by Zoom.’
‘These depositions should be done in person in my office in Philadelphia,’ he said.
His comments were so over-the-top that they prompted laughter from the Senate audience.
After more than an hour of uncertainty, both sides agreed to let Herrera Beutler’s statement about the phone call entered into evidence and moved on to closing statements.
Some Democrats on the left expressed disappointment that the House Democratic team didn’t take the opportunity to more doggedly pursue Trump – especially since five Republicans have voted in favor of witnesses.
‘I know people are disappointed,’ said Rep. Stacey Plaskett, another House impeachment manager. ‘I understand nobody wants to lose. I wanted to win this case along with all of the impeachment managers.’
Plaskett argued that what impeachment managers garnered from the debate was a win.
‘We came in this morning, made a motion for witness, that witness was heard, as you saw, and we wanted that statement on the record. We got that. Along with … the counsel for the president saying he possibly wanted 100 witnesses. He didn’t get that,’ Plaskett said Saturday night on CNN.
She also pointed out that additional witnesses could have damaged the Democrats’ case.
The Democrats were able to get an unprecedented seven Republicans to vote in favor of Trump’s conviction.
She said prosecutors generally don’t want to call witnesses when they don’t know what they’ll say.
‘I don’t know what Mike Pence is going to say, although he told the president he was not going to follow his last instruction to obstruct the constitutional powers of duty that he had to certify the election, he went along with him for almost four years prior to that in all the despicable things that this president did,’ Plaskett argued. ‘So would he have told the truth? Who knows.’
There were broader concerns about elongating a trial that likely would never end with a Trump conviction.
President Joe Biden has expressed that he wants his 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passed as soon as possible and a swath of his cabinet nominees still need to be confirmed.
Raskin denied the White House had exerted any pressure.
‘None of them no. And I made the call. So if you want to blame somebody, you know,’ he said, motioning to himself.
The Senate audience was also growing weary.
‘People want to get home for Valentine’s Day,’ offered Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, according to Politico.
Democrats ended up being 10 Republican votes shy of convicting Trump, with a number of lawmakers, including McConnell, saying they thought the ex-president was responsible for inciting the January 6 riot, but believed the trial was unconstitutional, since he was already out of office.