Trump Impeachment Trial: Closing Arguments

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats began wrapping up their impeachment case against Donald Trump on Saturday after a chaotic morning in which they gave up a last-minute plan for witness testimony that could have significantly prolonged the trial and delayed a vote on whether the former president incited the deadly Capitol insurrection.

An unexpected vote in favor of hearing witnesses threw the trial into confusion just as it was on the verge of concluding. But both sides ultimately reached a deal to instead enter into the record a statement from a Republican House lawmaker about a heated phone call on the day of the riot between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that Democrats say established Trump’s indifference to the violence.

Republicans are anxious to get the trial over with and discussion of Trump and the Capitol invasion behind them. Democrats, too, have a motive to move on since the Senate cannot move ahead on President Joe Biden’s agenda including COVID-19 relief while the impeachment trail is in session.

While most Democrat were expected to vote to convict the former president, acquittal appeared likely with a two-thirds majority required for conviction and the chamber split 50-50 between the parties. Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he would vote to acquit Trump, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Closely watched, the GOP leader’s view could influence others in his party.