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Democrats’ last-minute decision to abstain from calling witnesses in former President Donald Trump’s now-concluded trial have made them the target of much ire, with left-wingers relentlessly slamming them for “caving” to Republicans.
The Democrats’ lead impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, nevertheless tried during a press conference held after the conclusion of the trial Saturday to explain away the decision, which he at least had the courtesy to take responsibility for.
“We could have had 5,000 witnesses, and Mitch McConnell would be making the same speech, because what he’s asserting is that the Senate never has jurisdiction over a former president,” the Maryland Democrat argued.
“The point is that no number of witnesses demonstrating that Donald Trump continued to incite the insurrectionists even after the invasion of the capital would convince them. They wouldn’t be convinced. They were hinging it on a matter of law.”
He added, “I made the call, so you want to blame somebody, [it’s me].”
Listen below to some of what he’d said:
While his argument may have been valid, the move still provoked criticism.
Look (*Language warning):
Putting Republican witnesses on the stand testifying under oath before the American people is playing the long game.
Something that Dems, with the exception of Pelosi, AOC and I suspect, Raskin, are spectacularly bad at, and always have been.
— Terry Dresbach (@draiochta14) February 13, 2021
Nobody expected witnesses this morning. So, in practice, all Raskin’s move achieved was getting the base’s hopes up for a few hours, setting them up for disappointment later https://t.co/qhitFtS7AB
— Andrew Prokop (@awprokop) February 13, 2021
Before the main takeaway would have been that Republicans let an assault on democracy go unpunished.
Now the takeaway is Democrats caved.
Everything is optics.
— ⚓️🚢Imani Gandy 🚢⚓️ (@AngryBlackLady) February 13, 2021
Impeachment trials are BIG FUCKING DEALS.
A big fucking deal DESERVES WITNESSES.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) February 13, 2021
The gravity + unseriousness of it all is just…
— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) February 13, 2021
What an unbelievable cave by Democrats here.
They cleared the first witness vote — and then decided that they wouldn’t call witnesses.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) February 13, 2021
Why were witnesses not brought in?
While it is true that it likely would not have made a difference in the outcome, we at least would have seen the extent of Republican involvement in the insurrection.
Why did you deny the American people this satisfaction?
— GADFLY (@GADFLY12321) February 14, 2021
Nope….this guy caved to Mitch and let Trump free!
Clinton’s blowjob impeachment lasted 37 days!
Raskin wanted to go home after 5 days!
He went from hero to loser in minutes! pic.twitter.com/mmx2AdJl1Y
— Thomas Mater-JUST BECAME AN EX- DEMOCRAT! (@MrTomTamale) February 14, 2021
— Johnny J. Nalbandian (@Johnny_Congress) February 14, 2021
The problem is that there’d originally been no plan to call witnesses, but after word emerged Saturday morning that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell intended to acquit Trump, Raskin suddenly began making demands for witnesses.
This ginned up the Democrat Party base’s hopes, and so when Democrats reversed course later that afternoon, the move naturally angered the base.
And sadly for Raskin, it appears no amount of tears will save him from criticism:
.@RepRaskin tears up while talking with fellow impeachment managers and staff after the Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump at his second Senate impeachment trial, on capitol hill in Washington on February 13. pic.twitter.com/7OHtoVdUAx
— Erin Schaff (@erinschaff) February 13, 2021
What remains unclear is why Democrats made a last-minute about face. Some sources have claimed Senate Democrats pressured the impeachment managers to drop it.
“Multiple sources close to the impeachment managers [say] it was significant pressure from Senate Democrats that resulted in their decision to change course,” Politico reported.
Why? Allegedly because Senate Democrats wanted to return home for Valentine’s Day …
What’s known for certain is that Trump’s lawyers had claimed they had a list of 300 witnesses whom they were ready to call upon to testify.
This morning democrats voted for witnesses.
Trumps lawyers then decided to call 300 witnesses.
Democrats then decide to end the trial, and hold a vote.
Question if Trump is so guilty, why were democrats afraid of the witnesses?
— Tom Norton For Congress (MI-03) (@ForNorton) February 13, 2021
Something scared them. Could that “something” have been a suggestion that additional witnesses would have to be called? Witnesses like, for instance, Nancy Pelosi?
— Neal Boortz beep/bop/boop (@Talkmaster) February 14, 2021
The White House for its part responded to the controversy by saying only that it had nothing to do with the Democrats’ last-minute decision.
A Biden administration official tells me, “White House was not involved in discussions over calling witnesses, or the deal that was made.”
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) February 13, 2021
Meanwhile, as of Sunday morning House Democrats were busy doing their best to defend their Senate colleagues’ decision to “cave” at the last minute.
“What we didn’t need was more witnesses. We needed more Republicans to care; Republican senators to uphold their oath and recognize the truth,” Rep. Madeleine Dean said on NBC’s “Sunday TODAY.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 14, 2021
But how can Republicans or anyone, for that matter, recognize the “truth” if they’re not allowed to question witnesses … ?
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