Trump ‘getting angrier’ as trial continues amid questions over his legal team, reports say

Defence has reportedly struggled through the week over internal strategy and ex-president’s criticism

Alex Woodward
New York
Saturday 13 February 2021 18:25
Trump lawyers demand over 100 depositions in impeachment witness argument

Donald Trump has grown “angrier” as his second impeachment trial for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol has continued into a fifth day, as his attorneys sought to secure a verdict, according to reports.

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman reported that the former president “has been getting angrier as the trial played out” following two days of arguments from House impeachment managers acting as prosecutors in the trial, followed by a brief defence mounted by his legal team, which repeatedly refused to say when the former president knew about the violence in the halls of Congress, and whether he knew his vice president Mike Pence was close to danger.

On Saturday, senators – acting as jurors in the trial – voted 55-45 to allow impeachment managers and Mr Trump’ s counsel to call witnesses, although they later decided not to and moved on to closing arguments.

Democratic impeachment managers had requested testimony from Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera-Beutler, among 10 House Republicans who broke from the party to impeach then-president Trump in the House, following her description of a phone conversation between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Mr Trump on 6 January as his supporters mounted an assault inside the Capitol building.

Read more: Follow live updates from Trump’s impeachment trial

Five Republicans – Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina – voted to support witnesses in the trial.

In a statement on Friday night, Congresswoman Herrera-Beutler said: “To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former Vice President: if you have something to add here, now would be the time.”

Impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said the team believes “we’ve proven our case,” adding that the late-breaking statement from Ms Herrera Beutler introduced “an additional critical piece of corroborating evidence, further confirming the charges before you.”

Mr Trump, who was playing golf in Florida this week while the trial was underway, has effectively rejected any call to appear.

CNN has previously reported that Mr Trump was “basically screaming” during his legal team’s meandering opening statements.

The defence has reportedly struggled to continue through the week, as attorneys faced chaotic internal deliberations after damning evidence and criticism from their client, with growing legal costs that could extend into the following days and weeks.

On Saturday, Mr Trump’s lawyer Michael van der Veen threatened to call dozens of witnesses in order to delay the proceedings and drag Democratic lawmakers into the process.

“Now is the time to hear closing arguments,” he said, as the threatened to depose as many as 100 witnesses.

The former president’s attorney Jason Miller, who is at the Capitol, has drawn up a document that says “witness list 301 (so far)”.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz told reporters on Saturday that “if we do call witnesses, it’s not going to be one-sided.”

“The reason you’re seeing this Hail Mary is everybody knows the outcome of this proceeding,” he said. “If we go down the road of witnesses, this impeachment trial could last all of February, all of March, all of April.”

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