Senator who Trump called on Jan. 6 hands over his phone records to impeachment managers

19 min ago

Senator who Trump called on Jan. 6 hands over his phone records to impeachment managers

From CNN’s Lauren Fox and Manu Raju

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) heads to the Senate Chamber before the fifth day of the Senate Impeachment trials on Saturday, February 13, 2021. Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, could be seen handing over various phone records to House impeachment managers.

CNN previously reported that former President Trump first called the personal cell phone of Lee shortly after 2 p.m. ET on Jan. 6. At that time, the senators had been evacuated from the Senate floor and were in a temporary holding room, as a pro-Trump mob began breaching the Capitol.

Lee picked up the phone and Trump identified himself, and it became clear he was looking for Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama, and had been given the wrong number. Lee, keeping the President on hold, went to find his colleague and handed Tuberville his phone, telling him the President was on the line and had been trying to reach him.

Tuberville spoke with Trump for less than 10 minutes, with the President trying to convince him to make additional objections to the Electoral College vote in a futile effort to block Congress’ certification of then President-elect Joe Biden’s win, according to a source familiar with the call. The call was cut off because senators were asked to move to a secure location. Tubervillle has said he told Trump Pence was being evacuated.

Lee said the call when Trump called happened at 2:26 p.m. ET on Jan. 6. This is two minutes after President Trump’s tweet attacking Vice President Mike Pence.

House managers maintained that the call happened before the tweet.

22 min ago

Read the full statement that was just entered into the record at the impeachment trial

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) arrives to a House GOP caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on February 3, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Moments ago, House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin read a statement from a House Republican describing a phone call between former President Trump and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy on the day of the riot.

After the Senate voted to allow witnesses at the impeachment trial, Senate leaders, the House managers and Trump’s legal team instead agreed to insert the statement of GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler from a CNN report into the trial record, rather than taking a deposition. 

Here’s her full statement:

“In my January 12 statement in support of the article of impeachment, I referenced a conversation House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy relayed to me that he’d had with President Trump while the January 6 attack was ongoing. Here are the details:

“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. 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.’

“Since I publicly announced my decision to vote for impeachment, I have shared these details in countless conversations with constituents and colleagues, and multiple times through the media and other public forums.

“I told it to the Daily News of Longview on January 17. I’ve shared it with local county Republican executive board members, as well as other constituents who ask me to explain my vote. I shared it with thousands of residents on my telephone town hall on February 8.

“To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time.”


27 min ago

House impeachment managers are delivering their closing arguments

Senate TV

House impeachment managers are now making their closing arguments.

It follows a day of surprise and confusion after a motion to seek witnesses passed.

The Senate then went into a break to discuss how to move forward.

They ultimately agreed to enter a statement from Rep. Herrera Beutler – describing a phone call between former President Trump and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy – into the record instead of calling her as a witness.

35 min ago

Senators settle on admitting a witness statement into Trump’s trial record instead of calling witnesses

House managers and Trump’s defense team agreed to enter a statement from Rep. Herrera Beutler describing a phone call between former President Trump and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy into the record.

House impeachment managers had asked the Senate this morning to call witnesses in former President Trump’s second impeachment trial. Instead, Senate and trial lawyers instead agreed hours later to insert the statement into the trial record, moving the trial toward a final vote later Saturday.

Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin read the statement from Herrera Beutler of Washington state into the trial record when the Senate resumed session on Saturday, admitting the statement into the trial evidence. The managers and Trump’s team then moved onto closing arguments without making any more calls for witnesses.

More on this: Herrera Beutler revealed details about an expletive-laced phone conversation between McCarthy and Trump on Jan. 6 as the Capitol riot was underway. In the call Trump is reported to have said the rioters cared more about the election results than McCarthy did.


48 min ago

Sen. Ted Cruz says negotiations “going on right now” to still end the trial today

From CNN’s Annie Grayer

Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, confirmed that there are discussions underway in which the impeachment trial still wraps up today, even as the Senate just voted to call witnesses in the impeachment trial.  

“We may see a resolution. There are negotiations going on right now that we could see this thing resolved and ended today,” Cruz told reporters.

He made clear that Republicans will not accept Democrats being able to call witnesses without Republicans getting the same opportunity. 

In what John King described as “bluster and bullying” by some GOP senators, Cruz told reporters that it is very likely Trump’s team calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi because they want her to testify about when she knew there was a threat at the Capitol and whether she was involved in a decision to not beef up security prior to Jan. 6. Cruz said he did not think Trump should be forced to testify.

However, rules agreed to by both parties ahead of the trial mandate that, in order for a witness to be called, the Senate would need a simple majority of votes. With Democrats holding a one-vote advantage, it is unlikely that Pelosi would ultimately be called. 

“I think if the Democrats want to open this Pandora’s box, I don’t think it’s going to work out well for them,” Cruz said.

Cruz described the House Managers call for witnesses a “hail Mary” and said the only reason the managers are making the call for witnesses is because of “leftist Twitter.”

“I think what happened is leftist Twitter got really upset last night that they weren’t calling witnesses, and I think that this is a political theater. And I think the House managers were feeling heat on their left flank and so they decided they surprised Schumer and the Democrats by saying they wanted witnesses. At this point nobody knows what is going to happen.”

Cruz described the change of course from unanimous consent of not calling witnesses to the last minute move by the House managers to call witnesses as “chaos.” 

He outlined that even if witnesses are called, it will not change the outcome of the trial. He said it is most likely only 55 senators will vote to convict, “plus or minus 2,” which is not near the two-thirds majority needed for conviction. 

Cruz said the prospect of this trial lasting until March is not good for Democrats who just took control of committees and have a lot to do in terms of passing legislation around their agenda, a prospect he believes Schumer is trying to avoid.

“I just came from the Republican cloakroom. There are a lot of Republican senators that are saying all right fine if you want to drag this out every day we’re in this trial is a day that the Democratic majorities are not destroying the country are not passing policies that are killing jobs and putting people out of work and keeping kids out of school. I think Schumer is trying desperately to get out of this dam, into which they’ve driven themselves” Cruz said. 

“I don’t think Joe Biden wanted to go down the road of impeachment. I don’t think Schumer and most of the Democratic senators wanted to go down the road of impeachment,” he added.

Cruz said GOP Rep. Herrera Beutler’s account that spurred the House managers wanting to call witnesses is based on “hearsay” or “double hearsay” which would not hold up in the court of law.

47 min ago

The Senate is back in session

Senate TV

The Senate has just reconvened after taking a break.

The break followed a period of confusion on the Senate floor after a vote to call witnesses passed.

Lawmakers had been expecting to vote as soon as this afternoon on whether to convict Trump for inciting the insurrection at the US Capitol last month, but the vote to allow witnesses means the trial is likely to extend – though senators must vote to approve any witnesses or subpoenas.

43 min ago

The witness who House managers want to call took “copious notes”

From CNN’s Adrienne Vogt

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP

At the start of today’s trial, impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin announced that House managers were seeking to subpoena Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler.

This followed a report by CNN’s Jamie Gangel last night that former President Trump had an expletive-laced phone call with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on the day of the Capitol riot, in which Trump refused to call off the rioters.

Gangel discussed her reporting and said Herrera Beutler kept “copious notes” about the call.

“What Congresswoman Herrera Beutler told me yesterday was that actually since the insurrection, and through the impeachment, she started keeping copious notes. She has a spiral notebook,” Gangel reported. “And she was keeping the notes all along because she was trying to come to a decision whether or not to vote for impeachment.”

“So when she was talking to Kevin McCarthy, they had a phone call. And he told her directly about what President Trump had said. She had that notebook, and she took copious, careful, realtime notes,” Gangel told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

A comment from Trump about the would-be insurrectionists caring more about the election results than McCarthy was confirmed to CNN by Herrera Beutler and other Republicans briefed on the conversation.

“I think it’s important to note it wasn’t just that she was taking notes on that particular phone call. She had really been memorializing everything that she knew about the insurrection. And to help her make a decision about how to vote on impeachment,” Gangel said. 

Hear more from CNN’s Jamie Gangel:

1 hr 7 min ago

Intense talks are underway about next steps, but nothing has been resolved

From CNN’s Manu Raju

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

According to multiple sources involved directly in talks to resolve the issue of witnesses, there are intense discussions involving all parties right now: Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, along with former president Trump’s team and the House impeachment managers. 

They’re all having different discussions and proposing different ideas. There’s talk about crafting a resolution that will draft rules for how to handle witness testimony. And there’s talk about having specific vote on a motion for testimony. 

As CNN reported there are also discussions ongoing about avoiding witness testimony at all and dropping it directly in the record.

1 hr 16 min ago

Trump’s legal team was hanging by a thread before this witness drama

From CNN’s Kaitlan Collins

In the backdrop of the unfolding confusion over whether witnesses will be called is the already tenuous status of former President Trump’s defense team. They had been essentially hanging by a thread for the last several days, according to multiple people, who described internal deliberations as chaotic, disorganized and strained. 

The attorneys and advisers have been arguing constantly over disagreements about how to move forward for days.

They were irritated by Trump’s criticism and unprepared for how to deal with his outbursts. He has mainly been angry about their performance, though he liked Michael van der Veen and praised him last night. The attorneys have argued with each other and were annoyed by GOP senators telling them what to do do on the floor. 

And now that there’s the threat of witnesses, they are trying to figure out how much longer they will be doing this job they believed was coming to an end.