House impeachment manager, Rep. Stacey Plaskett, continued to defend Democrats’ turnaround on witnesses, which created several hours of drama during Saturday’s conclusion of President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.
‘We didn’t need more witnesses. We needed more senators with spines,’ Plaskett told Jake Tapper Sunday on ‘State of the Union.’
Tapper aggressively pushed Plaskett on why the Democratic House managers seemingly caved after the Senate voted 55-45, approving their last-minute witness request.
Impeachment manager, Rep. Stacey Plaskett, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that ‘We didn’t need more witnesses. We needed more senators with spines’
CNN’s Jake Tapper (left) pressed Rep. Stacey Plaskett (right) on why the House Democratic impeachment managers caved on witnesses, noting, ‘there were unanswered questions’ about former President Donald Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection
Head impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, threw the impeachment trial into chaos when he said that the Democrats now wanted testimony and notes from Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler
On Saturday morning, lead impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie 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.
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.
‘I think we didn’t back down,’ Plaskett explained. ‘I think what we did was we got what we wanted, which was her statement, which was what she said, and had it put into the record, and being able to say it on the record out loud so others would hear.’
Tapper pressed again, pointing out ‘there were unanswered questions.’
The CNN anchor asked, ‘were you being pressured by Senate Democrats because they wanted to get on with confirmations and the Covid relief bill?’
Plaskett didn’t directly answer that question.
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.
On Saturday, 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.
On Sunday, Plaskett said they moved on because ‘we had sufficient evidence to prove the president did what we said he did.’
She also acknowledged that House Democratic team had heard they might lose some of their Republican votes, including North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, if they kept the trial going for additional weeks.
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
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
‘We heard that,’ Plaskett told Tapper, adding ‘it’s possible’ they would have lose some of the seven Republican senators who voted alongside Democrats to convict had they spent weeks deposing witnesses.
‘It’s clear that these individuals were hardened,’ she said of the Republicans who voted for Trump’s acquittal.
‘That they did not want to let the president be convicted or disqualified. They are afraid of his base. They are afraid of losing power, of losing their seats. They made a calculation that retaining power, remaining a senator was more important than their country,’ Plaskett stated.
Plaskett echoed comments Raskin had made during a press conference Saturday, directly following the Senate vote that acquitted Trump.
‘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,’ the Maryland Democrat argued to reporters.
Plaskett spoke to CNN Saturday as well, and acknowledged that some Democrats were grumbling about the managers’ about-face on witnesses.
‘I know people are disappointed,’ Plaskett told CNN’s Dana Bash and Abby Phillip Saturday night. ‘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.
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.’
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.