US Senate reaches deal, closing arguments begin in Trump impeachment trial

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Feb 13, 2021, 11:53 PM(IST)

Donald Trump Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Senators had earlier in the day voted in favour of allowing witnesses in the impeachment trial, threatening to extend the procedure by days or even weeks.

The US Senate reached a deal Saturday that prevented witness testimony in Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Senators had earlier in the day voted in favour of allowing witnesses in the impeachment trial, threatening to extend the procedure by days or even weeks.

Instead of calling witnesses, the House impeachment managers and Trump's defence team agreed to admit into the record a statement by Republican congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler about a phone call in which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy implored then-President Trump to call off the rioters.

The four hours of final arguments will be split equally between both sides with the House prosecutors going first.

Also read |US Senate prolongs Trump's impeachment trial, allows calling of witnesses 

The agreement cleared the way for the beginning of closing arguments in the trial, and a final vote on whether to convict Trump is now expected later Saturday.

Herrera Beutler, a Republican from Washington state, was one of 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump in the House of Representatives.

In her statement, she said Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had called Trump while the attack was ongoing and implored him to call off the rioters.

Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House on January 13 for inciting the attack on the US Capitol by his supporters, who were seeking to block congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden's November 3 election victory.

A conviction in the 100-member Senate -- which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans -- would require a two-thirds majority and appears highly unlikely after McConnell said he would vote to acquit.

Trump's defence lawyers argued on Friday that the former president bears no responsibility for the attack on Congress and wrapped up their presentation in just three hours.

This followed two days of evidence from Democratic impeachment managers centered around harrowing video footage of the mob assault on the Capitol.

Also read | Trump’s lawyers deny he incited Capitol mob

Trump's defence lawyers called the impeachment unconstitutional and an "act of political vengeance."

The former US president, on January 6, staged a fiery rally near the White House, calling on the crowd to march on Congress, which was in the process of certifying Biden's victory.

The mob then stormed the Capitol, disrupting the certification. Five people, including a police officer and a woman shot during the unrest, died in the mayhem.

(with inputs from agencies)

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