Senate votes to allow witnesses in Trump impeachment trial in surprise move likely delaying verdict

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Senate votes to allow witnesses in Trump impeachment trial in surprise move likely delaying verdict

PUBLISHED SAT, FEB 13 202110:39 AM ESTUPDATED SAT, FEB 13 202111:32 AM ESTSarah Whitten@SARAHWHIT10Jacob Pramuk@JACOBPRAMUKSHAREShare Article via FacebookShare Article via TwitterShare Article via LinkedInShare Article via EmailKEY POINTS

  • The chamber voted to allow witnesses in a 55-45 vote, as five Republicans joined all Democrats.
  • The GOP senators were Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
  • The vote to call witnesses comes as more details were revealed Friday night about an expletive-laden argument between House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump.
In this screenshot taken from a congress.gov webcast, lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) speaks on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.

In this screenshot taken from a congress.gov webcast, lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) speaks on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.Congress.gov | Getty Images

The Senate on Saturday voted to begin the process of calling witnesses as part of the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, creating confusion about how to proceed and potentially delaying a verdict.

The chamber can vote by a simple majority to call specific witnesses.

The surprise move throws a wrench into the trial, which was expected to end with a vote on whether to convict the former president by Saturday afternoon. It is unclear how long the process will last or how many witnesses will testify.

The chamber voted to allow witnesses by a 55-45 margin, as five Republicans joined all Democrats. The GOP senators were Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

While the other four Republicans are considered the most likely in their party to vote to convict Trump, Graham is a Trump ally who has coordinated with the former president’s lawyers during the trial.

Footage of the Senate floor after the vote showed lawmakers huddling and discussing how to proceed following the twist in the case.

The vote to call witnesses comes as more details were revealed Friday night about an expletive-laden argument between House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump in a phone call as the Capitol riot was unfolding, in which Trump appeared to side with rioters and said they were more “upset” over the election results than McCarthy.

Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., called Saturday for the deposition of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA, who had confirmed what wa

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