”Washington Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler released a statement Friday night describing a Jan. 6 phone call between former President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
After rioters had breached the Capitol, McCarthy got in touch with Trump and pleaded with him to tell his supporters to leave, according to Herrera Beutler. In response, Trump falsely blamed Antifa for the violence, and after being refuted by McCarthy, allegedly said, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
The Washington congresswoman, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January, added that she had previously shared these details among her colleagues, local Republican officials and in her local paper.
“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,” Herrera Beutler said.
Less than 24 hours later, the senators serving as jurors Trump’s second impeachment trial unexpectedly voted to call witnesses, possibly extending the trial for days and shocking most who expected Trump’s acquittal as soon as Saturday. Five Republicans voted for the measure, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. (RELATED: McConnell Says He Will Vote To Acquit Trump)
Herrera Beutler’s statement is seemingly further evidence for a part of the case that House impeachment managers have made throughout the week: that Trump ignored pleas from lawmakers trapped inside the Capitol to demand that his supporters go home. Further, the managers have alleged that Trump reveled in the attack that delayed the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
The congresswoman’s last-minute revelation aligns with earlier remarks made by Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who said that he told Trump around 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 6 that Vice President Mike Pence had been evacuated from the Senate floor. At 2:24 p.m. Trump attacked Pence on Twitter, criticizing him for lacking the “courage” to block the certification of Biden’s victory.
Following Herrera Beutler’s statement, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said late on Friday that there was enough evidence to “suspend” the trial to allow McCarthy and Tuberville to testify, adding that House managers could also ask the Secret Service to provide additional evidence regarding the communications between the White House and vice president.
Other Democratic senators echoed his calls ahead of the vote to call witnesses on Saturday morning.
The recent evidence contradicts Trump’s defense team, which has repeatedly said that the former president was “horrified” at the violence on Jan. 6 and acted quickly to end it.
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