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Politics & Government

WATCH LIVE: Agreement Reached To Avoid Witnesses In Trump's Impeachment Trial

Former President Donald Trump's attorneys, including Bruce Castor Jr., left, and David Schoen begin their impeachment case defense on Friday.
Sarah Silbiger
/
Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump's attorneys, including Bruce Castor Jr., left, and David Schoen begin their impeachment case defense on Friday.

The Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump won't be hearing from witnesses after all.

Updated on Saturday, at 1:20 p.m. ET

After a two-hour break in the trial following a Senate vote to allow for witnesses, House managers and Trump's attorneys agreed to stipulate that a statement released Friday by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., could be entered into the trial record. The deal averted a showdown between the two sides over whether to call Herrera Beutler and possibly many other witnesses — a development that could have delayed the trial's conclusion and the Senate's other business for weeks.

In her statement, Herrera Beutler related a conversation she had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., about a call he had with President Donald Trump on Jan. 6.

"When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot," the statement reads, "the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol. McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters.

That's when, according to McCarthy, the president said: 'Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,' " she said.

That statement is now a part of the record, and the Senate quickly moved on to closing arguments in the trial.

Updated on Saturday at 10:45 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial appeared on track to conclude on Saturday after the defense wrapped up its arguments in a single day and senators had time to ask their questions on Friday.

But the direction of the proceedings shifted unexpectedly after the Senate voted 55-45 to hear from witnesses. The vote followed a call by House impeachment managers to subpoena at least one witness: GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler regarding her communication with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. Attorney's defending former President Trump said that if that was allowed, he would move to call upwards of 100 witnesses.

Trump is facing a single impeachment charge, incitement of an insurrection, for his role in urging a mob to attack the Capitol complex on Jan. 6.

Watch the closing arguments and the vote below beginning at 7 a.m. PT, and follow updates on the trial here.

The Senate began the trial Tuesday, a little more than a month after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Senators voted 56-44 that the trial was in fact constitutional, even though Trump has already left office.

The House of Representatives voted on Jan. 13 to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection with just a week left in his term, charging that he caused the riot that endangered hundreds of lawmakers and left five people dead, including a police officer. Two more police officers committed suicide in the days following the riot.

Trump has denied responsibility for stoking the mob on Jan. 6. His lawyers claim he did not encourage unlawful acts and that his comments to supporters that day are protected by the First Amendment. They also argue that he should not be on trial at all, as he is no longer president — though many constitutional experts disagree.

As Congress began counting the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, Trump called for his supporters to walk to the Capitol in protest of the election results. Trump falsely claimed the election had been "stolen," despite his clear loss to now-President Biden.

"You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated," he said. "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."

Hours later, multiple people were dead, the Capitol building was in a state of chaos, and still, Biden's election victory was certified by Congress.

House impeachment managers dissected those remarks and others made by Trump in the months prior to argue that his false election claims laid the groundwork for the violence far before that particular rally.

Trump is not expected to participate in the Senate trial. He also didn't participate in his first impeachment trial, which ended in an acquittal a year ago.

This page was originally published on Tuesday at 11:26 a.m. ET.

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