Sabtu, 13 Februari 2021

Donald Trump's second impeachment trial sees US Senate vote to call witnesses - ABC News

The US Senate has reached a deal to skip witness testimony in the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump, averting a prolonged process and setting up closing arguments from both sides.

Senators agreed to accept new information from a Republican congresswoman about Mr Trump's actions on the day of the deadly Capitol siege.

After a delay of several hours, the trial is back on track with closing arguments and the session heading toward a vote on the verdict.

Mr Trump's trial was thrown into confusion as senators voted to consider hearing witnesses, a step that could have significantly extended the proceedings and delayed a vote on whether the former president incited the deadly Capitol insurrection.

A final vote on impeachment is expected within the next couple of hours, with

The developments came after news that Mr Trump told a top congressional Republican during the deadly assault by his supporters last month that the mob was "more upset" about his election defeat than politicians.

Mr Trump's attorney Michael van der Veen balked at the request to call witnesses, indicating he would call 100 witnesses and saying it was not necessary.

"If you vote for witnesses, do not handcuff me by limiting the number of witnesses that I can have," Mr Van der Veen said, crossing his arms and then then raising them in the air for emphasis.

Much of the trial has focused on how much Mr Trump knew about the rioters' actions as they rampaged through Congress on January 6 seeking to prevent the certification of Joe Biden's victory in the November presidential election.


Jaime Herrera Beutler, one of 10 in her party who voted last month in the House of Representatives to impeach Mr Trump, recounted in a statement late on Friday (local time) the details of a call between Mr Trump and the top House Republican, Kevin McCarthy.

Ms Beutler said Mr McCarthy recounted Mr Trump saying: "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."

She said Mr Trump initially denied his supporters were involved in the attack, claiming the mob were members of the loosely organised left-wing Antifa movement, a false claim that Mr McCarthy rejected.

Mr Trump, who left office on January 20, is the first US president to be impeached twice and the first to face trial after leaving office.

If convicted, he could be barred by the Senate from running for office again.

Conviction is seen as unlikely, however, as at least 17 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber would have to join all 50 Democrats to find the former president guilty.

McConnell to side with Trump, acquittal appears likely

An aerial shot of a full senate chamber shows people sitting at benches as a man stands in the middle of the floor and speaks.
To convict former US president Donald Trump, two thirds of the 100 Senators must vote in favour.(AP: Senate Television)

Meanwhile, Republican leader Mitch McConnell made clear he would vote to acquit Mr Trump, according to a person familiar with his thinking.

Closely watched, the GOP leader's view could influence others in his party.

While most Democrats are expected to vote to convict the former president, acquittal already appeared likely in the chamber split 50–50 with Republicans. A two-thirds majority is required for conviction.

The trial has highlighted the extraordinary danger politicians faced on January 6, when Trump followers marched on the Capitol in an effort to overturn his election loss.

Then-vice president-Mike Pence and politicians had to be rushed into hiding for safety. Five people died in the chaos.

Mr Trump's words that day followed months in which he repeated false claims that Biden's victory was the result of widespread fraud.

A lengthier trial could stymie efforts by Mr Biden to move past the controversies surrounding his predecessor and push forward his own legislative agenda on COVID-19 relief and economic revival.


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The Capitol was a mess after Trump supporters stormed the building.

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2021-02-13 15:59:00Z

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