WASHINGTON – Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler would have testified under oath if she would have been subpoenaed during former President Donald Trump's Se
WASHINGTON – Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler would have testified under oath if she would have been subpoenaed during former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, a spokesman told USA TODAY Saturday.
Herrera Beutler confirmed reports late Friday that said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., spoke with Trump as a mob was attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and that the former president seemed unconcerned about the riot.
The statement was a catalyst to the Senate voting to call witnesses earlier. However, after hours of negotiating, Trump’s defense team and the Democratic lawmakers acting as managers, or prosecutors, ultimately agreed to instead place Herrera Beutler’s statement into the record, and the six-term congresswoman did not testify.
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During the debate to call on witnesses, Trump’s defense attorney, Michael Van der Veen called her claims of the phone call a “rumor.”
Craig Wheeler, Herrera Beutler’s communications director, told USA TODAY that “She’s already offered all the information she has, and she would have testified under oath.”
The House managers initially wanted Herrera Beutler to testify, arguing her claim that Trump didn’t want the assault to stop – a notion his legal team disputed – proved his guilt on the charge that he incited the riot.
The Washington Republican said McCarthy had told her that when he reached Trump by phone as the Capitol was breached, McCarthy “asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot.”
That statement, and the reporting around it, was entered into the trial and included details that Trump initially tried to blame the attack on leftist members of “antifa” during the phone call with McCarthy.
But when McCarthy insisted the mob was comprised of the president’s supporters, Trump told the top House Republican, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
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Herrera Beutler said she has shared “these details in countless conversations with constituents and colleagues, and multiple times through the media and other public forums” and referenced McCarthy’s unheeded appeal to Trump in a January statement explaining her decision to vote for impeachment.
Trump was ultimately acquitted Saturday evening. A 57-43 majority of the Senate voted to convict him, but fell short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction. Seven Republicans joined the 50 lawmakers who caucus with Democrats in voting to convict.
Herrera Beutler was one of 10 GOP lawmakers in the House that voted to impeach Trump Jan. 13.
Contributing: William Cummings and Ledyard King