Former President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense is looking more threadbare: New statements by Republican lawmakers appear to undercut key claims from his defense team about how much Trump knew about the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, and when he knew it.
New details emerged Friday about a call between Trump and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy in the midst of the attack. First recounted in January by Washington state Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who was one of just 10 House Republicans to vote for impeachment, the call gives insight into Trump’s state of mind on the day of the insurrection and suggests his sympathies lay with the rioters.
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump reportedly told McCarthy as rioters stormed the Capitol.
The defense had argued that “the president would never have wanted such a riot to occur because his longstanding hatred for violent protesters,” but Trump’s conversation with McCarthy — as well as his long history of inciting violence well before the attack on the Capitol — flies in the face of that claim.
According to some Republicans, the call is damning: “He is not a blameless observer, he was rooting for them,” one anonymous Republican told CNN of Trump’s role in the attack.
And Herrera Beutler, who reaffirmed her account of the call in a statement Friday, said that “you have to look at what [Trump] did during the insurrection to confirm where his mind was at.”
“That line right there demonstrates to me that either he didn’t care, which is impeachable, because you cannot allow an attack on your soil, or he wanted it to happen and was okay with it, which makes me so
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