Key GOP senators question when Trump knew Capitol was breached

Key Republican senators on Friday are raising questions about when former President TrumpDonald TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal MORE knew a mob of his supporters had breached the Capitol, and what steps he took after that.

In one of the first questions offered during the question-and-answer period of the Senate impeachment trial, Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP Utah county GOP censures Romney over Trump impeachment vote Bottom line MORE (R-Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Senate votes to repeal OCC 'true lender' rule Top female GOP senator compares Cheney ousting to 'cancel culture' MORE (R-Maine) asked Trump's legal team when Trump knew about the breach and what he did to stop it.

"Please be as detailed as possible," they added in their question.

Trump's attorney noted that there was a tweet at 2:38 p.m., but didn't fully answer the question.

"It was certainly sometime before then. With the rush to bring this impeachment, there's been absolutely no investigation into that," Michael Van Der Veen told senators, adding that there had not been "due process."

Murkowski and Collins aren't the only potential swing votes who have questions about when Trump was told that the Capitol had been breached.

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Republican reactions to Cheney's removal Republicans have dumped Reagan for Trump Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP MORE (Utah) — the only GOP senator who voted for one of the articles of impeachment last year —released the five questions he has submitted on Friday. Three of the five questions are about Trump's knowledge of the events Jan. 6.

"When did President Trump first learn that the Capitol was breached and what specific actions did he personally take to defend the Capitol, Vice President Pence, and the others inside? " Romney asked.

Romney also wants to know if Trump personally approved the National Guard to deploy to the Capitol and if he knew that Pence had been evacuated from the chamber when Trump "sent the disparaging tweet at 2:24 p.m" regarding Pence.

What Trump knew, and when, has come under greater scrutiny this week after Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) told reporters that he had told Trump in a phone call as the attack was underway that Pence had to flee from the Senate.

After rioters breached the Capitol, Pence had been pulled off the Senate floor around 2:13 p.m. Just 11 minutes later, at 2:24 p.m., Trump tweeted about Pence: “Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceWhat's a party caucus chair worth? GOP downplays Jan. 6 violence: Like a 'normal tourist visit' Buckingham Palace requests 'Trump Train' remove image of queen from bus MORE didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroAsian American lawmakers say State's 'assignment restrictions' discriminate Democrats ask Biden to reverse employee policy on past marijuana use The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's next act: Massive infrastructure plan with tax hikes MORE (D-Texas), responding to the question about Trump's knowledge of Pence's movements, pointed to Tuberville's disclosure. 

"That was shortly after 2 p.m.," Castro said. 


However, Van Der Veen argued that there was nothing in the trial record that suggested Trump knew about Pence's whereabouts, and knocked Democrats for the push to quickly impeach Trump. 

"At no point was the president informed that the vice president was in any danger," he said. 

Trump's lawyer did not respond to Tuberville's disclosure that he had informed Trump that Pence had been removed from the chamber. 

"He didn’t get a chance to say a whole lot because I said ‘Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go," Tuberville told reporters this week. 

The questions offer a possible insight into what is going on in the minds of lawmakers who are potential swing votes on whether or not to convict Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Romney, Collins and Murkowski are three of a handful that are viewed as potential "yes" votes on conviction. No GOP senator has said that they will vote to convict.

Another potential swing vote, Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyUtah county GOP censures Romney over Trump impeachment vote Amazon blocks 10B listings in crackdown on counterfeits Cassidy on pipeline cyberattack: Congress must equip businesses with defenses against incursions MORE (R-La.), also raised concerns about Trump's awareness of Pence's movements earlier on Friday.


“I do hope they [the defense] go after or they address, if you will, the timeline," Cassidy said.

He pointed to a piece in the Washington Examiner that stated Tuberville had informed Trump at 2:15 p.m. that the vice president had been evacuated.

“So the president knew that people had invaded. They were approaching the Senate chamber. ... The president clearly had knowledge at that point. And then the tweet went out," Cassidy said.