The US Senate approves subpoenaing witnesses in Trump’s impeachment, which will lengthen the process

The US Senate has approved this Saturday to summon witnesses during the impeachment against former President Donald Trump for the assault on the Capitol on January 6, an unexpected move that could lengthen and change the course of this procedure.

Of the 100 senators, 55 have voted in favor of subpoenaing witnesses, all of them Democrats and five Republicans have joined: Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and Lindsey Graham, who at first was against, but he has changed his vote at the last minute. The vote of Graham, close to Trump, could seek to benefit the defense of the former president, who has refused to subpoena witnesses.

Before the vote, the former president’s lawyer, Michael van der Veen, responded with fury to the Democrats’ request to call witnesses and said that, if the Senate approved that proposal, he would need “100 testimonies and not just one” and insisted on that he would question those people at his law firm in the city of Philadelphia. That somewhat unusual proposal from Van Der Veen was met with mockery and laughter from the senators, which visibly angered the lawyer, who warned: “There is nothing to laugh about here!”

Today the Senate was expected to finish with the final arguments of the two sides and the vote of conviction or acquittal of Trump, but this unexpected decision could significantly lengthen the process. This Senate move comes after CNN published new details last night of a telephone conversation between Trump and Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the Lower House, which occurred during the assault on the Capitol on January 6.

According to these new details, when McCarthy contacted the president to ask his followers to call off the assault, he refused. “Well Kevin, I guess these people are more angry about the election than you,” Trump would have responded to McCarthy. In recent hours, Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler has corroborated the content of the call between Trump and McCarthy and, in a statement, has urged officials close to the former president to reveal all the details of what they know. Beutler was one of the 10 Republican congresswomen who voted in the lower house in favor of impeachment.

It is not yet clear if the Senate decision means that only Beutler would be summoned to testify, as requested today by Democratic legislator Jamie Raskin, who is leading the impeachment against Trump; or if, on the contrary, it implies that any witness could be summoned to testify. At this time, the senators are still speaking in the hemicycle to try to resolve this point. In principle, the two parties had opted for a speedy trial without witnesses, since the Democrats wanted to focus on the legislative agenda of the president, Joe Biden, and the Republicans wanted to turn the page on the assault as soon as possible. EFE

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