Impeachment trial – live: Democrats argue Trump ‘wilfully betrayed us’ in final arguments

Tom Embury-Dennis,Louise Hall and Oliver O’ConnellSat, 13 February 2021, 7:27 pm

Ex-president’s lawyers say Mr Trump should not be impeached  (Getty Images)
Ex-president’s lawyers say Mr Trump should not be impeached (Getty Images)

In a dramatic morning at the US Capitol, the Senate initially voted to allow witnesses in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in a “game changing” move that threw proceedings into chaos. Frantic negotiations brought the trial back on track — without witnesses — and it is again expected to wrap up today.

The Trump defence team was seemingly caught off guard by the move by Democrat House managers who specifically requested Republican congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler be called to testify. Republicans threatened to call more than 300 witnesses in retaliation for the move.

The motion to have witnesses testify passed 55-45 on Saturday morning, with a handful of Republican lawmakers, including Lindsey Graham, siding with Democrats.

Ms Beutler’s testimony — an account of a chilling conversation between House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Mr Trump during the assault on the US Capitol in which the president reportedly refused to call off rioters loyal to him — was instead read into the record.

Closing statements are now underway.