Senate Democrats face intra-party outrage after making a deal to skip impeachment witnesses

by Peter Heck · Feb 15th, 2021 9:11 am

Last Updated Feb 16th, 2021 at 9:56 am

Senate Democrats are taking heat from loyal progressives for their decision to strike a deal with Republicans and avoid calling witnesses in the recently concluded impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

On Saturday afternoon, Democrats passed a major procedural hurdle to allow witness testimony, after five Republican senators voted with all 50 Democrats to permit it. Shortly thereafter, the Senate went on recess, and when it reconvened a deal had been struck.

Testimony from Rep. Jaime Hererra Beutler (R-WA) was read into the proceeding's official record in exchange for her not being called as a witness. After that agreement was reached, Democrats demurred at any possibility of calling any other witness.

That left the trial to quickly proceed into closing arguments, followed by a 57-43 acquittal vote Saturday night. While that decision seemed agreeable to Democrats on Capitol Hill, it did not sit well with left-leaning observers, journalists, and party loyalists who considered the move a betrayal.


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