US Senators have voted to consider hearing from witnesses in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
The vote could potentially extend proceedings that had been expected to end with a vote on Saturday.
Heading into Saturday, senators appeared close to resolving the impeachment trial that laid bare the fragility of the nation’s tradition of a peaceful transfer of presidential power. But that process may be at least temporarily slowed by a debate over whether to hear from a House Republican who on Friday night offered new details about a heated phone call on the day of the riot between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that Democrats say establishes Trump’s indifference to the violence.
Closing arguments were expected with no witnesses called. But lead Democratic prosecutor Jamie Raskin of Maryland asked for a deposition of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler over fresh information.
She has widely shared a conversation she had with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy over Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 as the mob was rioting over the presidential election results.
Raskin said it was necessary to determine Trump’s role in inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot. There were 55 senators who voted to debate the motion to subpoena, including Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who changed his vote in the middle of the count.
Trump’s attorney Michael van der Veen balked at the request, saying he’d then call 100 witnesses and said it was not necessary.
While most Democrat are expected to convict the former president, acquittal already appeared likely in the chamber that is split 50-50 with Republicans. A two-thirds majority is required for conviction.