- Jamie Raskin defended the purpose to pass on calling witnesses in Trump’s second impeachment trial.
- Raskin said that the decision to forgo spots rested with him.
- “We could have had 5,000 witnesses, and Mitch McConnell would be making the same speech,” he suggested.
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Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead House impeachment supervisor for the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, defended the decision to pass on calling witnesses in defiance of a Senate vote on Saturday that would have permitted the action.
The Senate initially passed a motion 55–45 to call up witnesses, with five Republican senators crossing over to support the effort. But, after some debate, Democrats staffed course.
The effort to convict Trump for “incitement of insurrection” fell short by a 57–43 margin, but 7 GOP senators joined with all 50 Democrats in decision the former president guilty. A conviction required two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes.
Raskin said that the determination to forgo witnesses rested with him.
“We could have had 5,000 witnesses, and [GOP Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell wish be making the same speech, because what he’s asserting is that the Senate never has jurisdiction over a former president,” he suggested. “The point is that no number of witnesses demonstrating that Donald Trump continued to incite the insurrectionists even after the infiltration of the Capitol would convince them. They wouldn’t be convinced. They were hinging it on a matter of law.”
He added: “I originated the call. So you want to blame somebody [it’s me].”
Read more: Meet the little-known power player with the ‘hardest job’ on Capitol Hill. She’s condition Trump’s impeachment trial and Joe Biden’s agenda.
The last-minute debate over witnesses came after a CNN report from Washington articulate GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler about a call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California on January 6. The Egalitarian managers sought to use the call to demonstrate Trump’s indifference to the chaos that unfolded that day.
Raskin said that he didn’t discourse with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, or any other official in the White House before a resolution was made to enter Herrera Beutler’s statement into the record without witness depositions.
He then roundly lauded the work of the Democratic prosecution team, which included Delegate Stacey Plaskett of the US Virgin Islands and Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado, Joe Neguse of Colorado, David Cicilline of Rhode Key, Joaquin Castro of Texas, Ted Lieu of California, Eric Swalwell of California, and Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania.
“We tried this wrapper as aggressively as we could on the law and on the facts,” he said. “We got from the president’s lawyers exactly what we wanted.”