The US Senate voted Saturday to acquit former President Donald Trump on impeachment charges of incitement of insurrection. The charges stem from the January 6 coup attempt in which Trump organized a violent mob to storm the US Capitol with the aim of overturning the 2020 presidential election.
While lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin declared that the trial would determine "Will we be a democratic nation?" the Democrats acted throughout to cripple the prosecution, seeking to shield Trump's Republican co-conspirators and other forces within the state that aided the former president.
The Democrats refused to call witnesses despite winning a vote to do so after the release of new evidence that Newsweek called the "smoking gun" in the trial.
On Friday night, Washington Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican, released a statement making clear that Trump actively supported the insurrectionists in a phone conversation with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
"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.'"
In the most significant portion of her statement, Herrera Beutler urged other witnesses to come forward, adding, "To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening" if you have something to add here, now would be the time."
Herrera Beutler's statement followed another from Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville, a Republican ally of Trump, that he had spoken with Trump as the coup was in progress, informing him that Vice President Mike Pence had been removed from the chamber. "I said, 'Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I've got to go.'"
The two statements demolished the lie put forth by Trump's lawyers that he was "horrified" about the events at the Capitol and was not informed about the imminent danger to Pence.
These revelations sparked demands within the Democratic Party to call witnesses in the trial. After calling for a vote to bring witnesses, which succeeded, 55-45, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Democrats had decided not to call witnesses and instead to merely read into the trial record part of Beutler's statement.
Within a matter of hours, the trial had concluded.