The Senate on Saturday is headed toward closing arguments in the impeachment trial, with senators weighing whether former President Trump is guilty of inciting a mob to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The Senate was initially expected to give its verdict on Saturday, but then voted to allow for witnesses — a stunning move that raised the prospect of delayed proceedings. The chamber reversed again hours later.
A two-thirds vote in the Senate is necessary to convict Trump, which would require at least 17 GOP senators to vote to convict.
Democrats have argued the Senate should vote to convict Trump and then vote to prevent him from ever running for office again for his actions that they say led to the violent riot. Trump's defense argues his remarks were covered by the First Amendment and that he did not incite the mob.
The Hill will be providing updates all day.
Senate strikes deal to bypass calling impeachment witnesses
House impeachment managers, former President Trump's legal team and top senators struck a deal on Saturday that will let the Senate bypass calling witnesses.
The agreement comes after senators were caught flat-footed by a request from Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the lead House impeachment manager, to depose Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), who has hammered Trump for his actions after the Capitol attack on Jan. 6.
Instead, the Senate entered a statement Herrera Beutler released on Friday night into the trial record.
Cruz says Democrats caved to 'leftist Twitter' by calling for witnesses
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemned Democrats on Saturday, saying they caved to “leftist Twitter” by briefly calling for witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial.
“I think what happened was leftist Twitter got really upset” about how the impeachment trial was going and the House Managers called for witnesses, Cruz told reporters.
Cruz noted that witnesses were not in the plans for the trial and that calling witnesses could drag out the trial for months.
“If we go down the road of witnesses, this impeachment trial could last all of February, all of March, all of April,” Cruz said.
While Democrats pushed to call on Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) as a witness, some Republicans indicated they would be interested in hearing from her.
Impeachment managers ultimately moved to include a statement from her in the trial record.
Lawmakers, impeachment teams scramble to cut deal on witnesses
Top senators, lawyers for former President Trump and the House impeachment managers are scrambling to try to cut a deal on witnesses after a surprise vote to pave the way for calling them in the trial.
The Senate voted 55-45 to allow for witnesses, a move that caught Trump World and senators off guard, with both expecting that the impeachment trial would wrap up on Saturday.
The vote threw the Senate into chaos, and now senators say there is a behind-the-scenes scramble to try to work out an agreement.
"Right now, they're just trying to work out some agreement. And if it doesn't work out, then we can have several amendments to the underlying resolution on other witnesses, so that's really the mechanics of what they're going through now. I suspect they'll work something out, but we won't know for probably an hour, hour and a half," Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) told reporters.
"I know the attorneys are working together," Stabenow said. "At this point, they're trying to work the whole thing out."
Senators and leadership teams are trying to craft a resolution that would outline how the Senate proceeds on witnesses, including details on how many individuals can be called.