House impeachment managers, Trump defense team reach agreement to conclude without witnesses

Andrew Trunsky, DCNF

The House impeachment managers and team defending former President Donald Trump reached an agreement Saturday that will prevent additional witnesses from testifying.

The agreement followed revelations from Washington Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler that Trump rejected House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s pleas to demand that his supporters leave the Capitol on Jan. 6 and a subsequent, unexpected Senate vote to call witnesses. As a result of the agreement, the trial entered four hours of closing arguments, setting up a final vote later on Saturday.

Instead of calling Herrera Beutler and additional witnesses, which the House managers supported, her letter and the relevant evidence will be entered into the trial record. Though Senate Democrats voted overwhelmingly to call additional witnesses to testify, they were reportedly caught off-guard by the late revelations and the subsequent calls for additional testimony.

And while Senate Democrats are all but certain to vote unanimously to convict Trump on a charge of inciting the Capitol insurrection, they are eager to wrap up the trial as quickly as possible in order to finish confirming President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees and pass his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package before unemployment benefits lapse on Mar. 14.

Republicans have also been eager to end the trial as soon as possible, citing its perceived divisiveness and calling it a waste of time. Forty-five Senate Republicans voted that it was unconstitutional in January, and all but one voted the same way at the conclusion of its first day on Tuesday.

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