GOP Rep. Herrera Beutler urges ‘patriots’ to talk about Trump call
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler said Friday that she was told former President Trump initially sided with supporters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, with the Washington Republican urging “patriots” to come forward and share what they know about a key Trump call.
Herrera Beutler, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment last month, issued a statement Friday night confirming key details of a CNN report that said Trump had told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Jan. 6 that rioters at the Capitol were “more upset about the election” than McCarthy was.
“When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot, the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol,” Herrera Beutler said in her statement.
“McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters. That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,'” the statement added.
CNN reported that the remark from Trump preceded a shouting match between the two Republicans, with McCarthy telling Trump that members of the mob were breaking through his office windows.
The outlet said that Trump and McCarthy did not respond to its request for comment for its report. The Hill reached out to offices of both Republicans on Friday.
Herrera Beutler pointed to her statement last month explaining her decision to support the article of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, in which she noted that McCarthy had described “pleading with the President to go on television and call for an end to the mayhem, to no avail.”
“The President attacked Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter while Pence was in a secure room having fled from the mob that had breached the Senate floor threatening to hang him,” she said then.
The GOP lawmaker, who was first elected in 2010, noted Friday that she had shared details about the McCarthy-Trump call in interviews, a virtual town hall and conversations with constituents.
“To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time,” she said.
The timing of when Trump knew the Capitol had been stormed and how he initially responded faced growing scrutiny from several GOP senators during the question-and-answer portion of his trial Friday.
The handful of Republicans, all viewed as potential swing votes on whether to convict the former president, questioned the defense lawyers on what Trump knew and how he responded to the riot.
“The real issue is what was the president’s intent, right?” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), one of the four senators. “Only the president could answer that, and the president chose not to testify.”
GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Mitt Romney (Utah) asked if Trump was aware that Pence had been removed from the Senate chamber when Trump tweeted in part that his vice president “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done” to intervene with the Electoral College count.
The former president’s lawyers were not able to say exactly when Trump knew a mob had overtaken the Capitol as Congress met to certify the electoral results while denying that he knew Pence was in danger.
Cassidy noted that Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) had said he also spoke with Trump on Jan. 6 as the riot was unfolding and had told him that Pence was removed from the Senate chamber.
The new details come as the Senate impeachment trial is set to come to a close on Saturday. While several Republican senators have indicated they are open to the impeachment article, it is not expected that there are the 17 necessary GOP votes to convict the former president.
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