Trump World stunned by move to call witnesses

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE’s legal team was shocked by the Senate vote to call witnesses in his impeachment trial, an eleventh-hour twist at a trial they believed would wrap up Saturday with a vote to acquit.

One source in touch with the legal team said that at least one aide assisting the defense had to scrap vacation plans scheduled to begin Sunday as Washington grappled with the new reality that the trial could drag on for days or weeks.

“No one expected this on our side. People are universally stunned,” said the source. “Everyone was expecting to be done this afternoon.”


Democratic House impeachment managers on Saturday morning said they wanted to subpoena Rep. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP Uninvited Trump is specter at GOP retreat McCarthy defends Trump response to deadly Jan. 6 riot MORE (R-Wash.), whose claims that Trump privately dismissed pleas to squash the Jan. 6 riot shook Washington on Friday night.

"Needless to say, this is an additional, critical piece of corroborating evidence further confirming the charges before you, as well as the president's willful dereliction of duty," Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinWatchdog finds Architect of the Capitol was sidelined from security planning ahead of Jan. 6 Six House Democrats ask Garland to review case of lawyer placed under house arrest over Chevron suit Democrats seek to keep spotlight on Capitol siege MORE (D-Md.), the lead impeachment manager, said.

Trump’s attorney Michael van der Veen fumed, saying that if Democrats stopped the trial to investigate new claims, he’d try to depose scores of his own witnesses, including Vice President Harris, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Lawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats House Republican: 'Absolutely bogus' for GOP to downplay Jan. 6 MORE (D-Calif.) and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserOvernight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers Bipartisan Senate bill introduced to give gyms B in relief Maryland to lift remaining COVID capacity restrictions MORE (D).

“The only thing I ask if you vote for witnesses [is] do not handcuff me by limiting the number of witnesses I can have,” van der Veen said. “I need a thorough investigation. ... I need the 9/11-style investigation that Nancy Pelosi called for. It should have been done already. It’s a dereliction of the House managers' duty. Now at the last minute, after a stipulation had been worked out, they want to go back on that. We should close this case out today.”

Trump’s attorneys have been eager to bring the trial to a swift end, believing the outcome was a foregone conclusion. The defense used only about 3 ½ hours of its allotted 16 hours before resting.


There is speculation that the introduction of new witnesses could drag the impeachment trial into next week or beyond.

Trump’s allies are uncertain about whether the witnesses are a net positive or a net negative for the former president’s case.

Democrats could block the witnesses the Trump team hopes to bring, including Pelosi and Harris. But the GOP source said that would make it look like they have something to hide.

At the moment, it appears Senate Republicans are on track to acquit Trump, although Herrera Beutler’s testimony could be severely damaging for him.

“I don’t know if it’s a net positive, but it will turn this into even more of a circus,” the source said. “It will also stop a lot of work in the Senate on COVID relief, so when people aren’t getting checks, they’re going to be f---ing pissed. Then then White House nominations for agencies will slow down to a snail’s pace. So the government will come to a standstill, and it will be a circus, and I don’t think the public has any appetite for this to drag on or turn this into a circus.”