The United States Senate began this Saturday the reading of the final arguments of the impeachment against Donald Trump, after the congressmen reached an agreement to avoid calling witnesses, which opens the way to conclude the process, with a probable acquittal of the Ex leader.
The head of the indictment, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin took the floor at 1:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. GMT) to deliver his closing statement, which will be followed by the arguments of Trump’s defense on the charge for “incitement to insurrection” by the assault on the Capitol on January 6.
Each of the parties has two hours for their arguments and then the senators may withdraw for their deliberations, before issuing the verdict.
The objective of the Democrats is for him to be convicted and then be politically disqualified, but for this they need 17 Republican votes to reach a two-thirds majority, something very unlikely given that this Saturday it was leaked that the head of the Republican caucus will vote for favor of absolution.
Confusion reigned in the Senate for two hours after Raskin indicated that he wants access to the testimony of Republican legislator Jaime Herrera Beutler and her communications with the Republican minority leader of the House, Kevin McCarthy.
She also asked for the notes the legislator took about a conversation between Trump and McCarthy during the assault on Congress.
Herrera Beutler – one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the House of Representatives – said in a statement that McCarthy told her that Trump expressed approval for the mob that stormed the Capitol.
– A “Pandora’s box” –
The congresswoman indicated that on January 6 when McCarthy “finally” spoke with Trump to ask him to speak out publicly against the riots, at first the president repeated the “falsehood” that it was members of the Antifa movement who had entered the Capitol.
“McCarthy rejected this and told him they were Trump sympathizers and then, according to McCarthy, the president said, ‘Well Kevin, I think these people are more upset about the election than you are,'” the legislator said on Twitter Friday in the night.
Five Republicans voted along with the 50 Democratic senators in favor of allowing witnesses in the process, which generated chaos in the hemicycle, opening the possibility that witness subpoenas would multiply and the process would be lengthened.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz warned that this could open a “Pandora’s box.”
Finally, an agreement allowed the legislator’s statement to be read before the hemicycle and incorporated into the minutes.
Both Democrats and Republicans want to end the process. Democratic President Joe Biden wants the Senate to be available to vote on the priority proposals on his agenda, including the economic relief plan.
– A “difficult” decision –
This Saturday, a letter from the leader of the Republican minority of the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, was leaked, in which he told his co-religionists that he will vote in favor of acquittal.
“The impeachment is a process to dismiss and therefore there is a lack of jurisdiction in this regard,” said the Republican leader in the letter quoted by the media, in which he affirmed that it was a “difficult” decision. “Taking into account these conclusions, I am going to vote to acquit,” he said.
Defense attorneys concluded their arguments in just three hours on Friday, accusing Democrats of launching a “witch hunt” against Trump and an “act of political revenge.”
During the week lawmakers serving as prosecutors alleged that Trump deliberately stirred political tension after losing re-election to Biden on Nov. 3 with a campaign of unsubstantiated claims denouncing electoral fraud.
The seizure of the Capitol – which left five dead – took place moments after a massive rally organized by Trump near the White House, in which he asked to march on Congress.
Trump’s lawyers maintain that his speech was rhetorical and that his calls to “fight” cannot be read literally.
Raskin underscored that Trump had been encouraging extremism even before Election Day, constantly undermining public confidence in the electoral process, noting that it is imperative that the Senate convict Trump and prohibit him from running for the White House again in 2024.
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