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The sudden announcement by House impeachment managers that they want to subpoena Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler to testify in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial potentially could open the floodgates for dozens of other witnesses.
Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) said Friday that she was present for a call between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and former President Trump during the Capitol riot.
It is not yet clear if she plans to fight the subpoena for her testimony and records. McCarthy has not yet commented on Herrera Beutler’s claims, which has led to calls for his own testimony.
But there are many more potential witnesses who could be callled and Trump adviser Jason Miller quikcly noted they have a list of “301 and counting.”
Speaking to reporters Saturday after the witness vote was cast, Sen. Angus King (I-Me.) said he would like to hear from McCarthy himself, who would be able to confirm or deny the accusations directly.
After being told of the additional witnesses decision, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.), who voted that the trial itself was constitutional, expressed interest in hearing from former Vice President Mike Pence.
“I think a lot of us are curious about the situation with the vice president,” the moderate senator told reporters Saturday morning.
In a tweet late Friday evening, before additional witnesses were considered to be a realistic possibility in the trial, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said he wanted to hear from McCarthy and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).
“Suspend trial to depose McCarthy and Tuberville under oath and get facts,” the tweet late Friday evening read. “Ask Secret Service to produce for review comms back to White House re VP Pence safety during siege. What did Trump know, and when did he know it?”
On the day of the riots, Tuberville says that he told the president by phone that Pence had been evacuated from the Senate chamber before Trump sent a tweet disparaging his veep for lacking “courage.”
Herrera Buetler — one of 10 House Republicans who voted last month to impeach Trump — said in a press release that she was not a direct witness to Trump’s remarks to McCarthy, but that the GOP leader “relayed to me” what Trump said.
“When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot, the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol,” Herrera Beutler said in her statement.
“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,’” the GOP congresswoman added.
All four Republican lawmakers’ testimony could provide more of a window into the danger faced by leaders in the party that day, as well as insight into the then-president’s thinking once he became aware that rioters had breached the Capitol.
Democratic managers calling witnesses will open the door for lawyers representing the president to be given the same opportunity.
Top Trump adviser Miller unleashed a list, which he said was “just getting started,” including such names as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Vice President Kamala Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hi.), as well as Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Joaquin Castro (D-Tx.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).
When Democrats had reached enough votes to call witnesses, they were joined by an unlikely ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
In a series of tweets explaining his decision, the Trump ally wrote Saturday morning, “It is my firm belief that the House Managers are trying to investigate the case AFTER it was brought to the Senate. It is better for the country to go to a final vote.
“However, if the body wants witnesses, I am going to insist we have multiple witnesses. We can start with Speaker Pelosi to answer the question as to whether or not there was credible evidence of pre-planned violence before President Trump spoke?
“Whether Speaker Pelosi, due to optics, refused requests by the Capitol Hill Police for additional resources like the National Guard?” he asked.
“Her testimony is incredibly relevant to the incitement charge.”
Graham has been fairly open about his intentions though, saying last week that Senate Republicans would call in the FBI to testify in the proceedings if Democrats opened “a can of worms” by calling witnesses.
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