House, Senate Democrats Trade Blame over Witnesses at Impeachment Trial

(From L) US Senators' Michael Bennet (D-CO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) walk during dinner break in the second day of former US President Donald Trump's impeachment trial before the Senate on Capitol Hill February 10, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Democrats present the case against Donald Trump …

Senate Democrats blamed House impeachment managers for not informing them they wanted to vote for witnesses until Saturday morning.

Politico reported that once the two groups decided to move forward, they had no plan for what to do next.

While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his fellow senators had prepared to vote on witnesses, they got no warning that the head House prosecutor was about to force a vote that could have extended the trial for days or even weeks.

The impeachment managers spent Friday night into Saturday morning debating how to proceed.

Then, Senate Democrats held a Saturday morning conference call blaming House Democrat managers for keeping them in the dark about their plans. The managers did not make a final call to force a Senate vote until minutes before the Senate convened at 10:00 a.m.

The managers then began informing the senators that they wanted the witnesses five minutes before the Senate was set to convene.

“We don’t coordinate with the managers,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), adding that Democrat senators “have social conversations” with their House colleagues but “don’t talk strategy. So we did not know that they were going to request witnesses or not. And that’s how it should have been.”

The Senate quickly voted 55-45 to consider potential witnesses, even though the vote on witnesses surprised Schumer.

But after Democrats voted to move forward, House managers did not know what to do next.

“Senate Democrats gave them the votes, but the managers didn’t know what their next step was,” according to a Democrat familiar with the discussions.

Former President Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate Saturday afternoon, 57 guilty to 43 non guilty. Two-thirds of the Senate is required for a guilty conviction.

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