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House managers call for witnesses to be deposed in 2nd Trump impeachment trial

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On the fifth day of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, House manager Jamie Raskin called for Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and other witnesses to be subpoenaed. In response, Trump defense lawyer Michael T. van der Veen suggested witnesses would be deposed in Philadelphia, prompting laughter from some in the Senate chamber.

Video Transcript

JAMIE RASKIN: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning, senators. Over the last several days, we presented overwhelming evidence that establishes the charges in the article of impeachment. We've shown you how President Trump created a powder keg, lit a match, and then continued his incitement even as he failed to defend us from the ensuing violence.

We've supported our position with images, videos, affidavits, documents, tweets, and other evidence, leaving no doubt that the Senate should convict. We believe we've proven our case. But last night, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Butler of Washington state issued a statement confirming that in the middle of the insurrection, when House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy called the president to beg for help, President Trump responded-- and I quote-- "well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."

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 and desertion of duty as commander in chief of the United States, his state of mind, and his further incitement of the insurrection on January 6. For that reason, and because this is the proper time to do so under the resolution that the Senate adopted to set the rules for the trial, we would like the opportunity to subpoena Congresswoman Herrera regarding her communications with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and to subpoena her contemporaneous notes that she made regarding what President Trump told Kevin McCarthy in the middle of the insurrection.

We would be prepared to proceed by Zoom deposition of an hour or less just as soon as Congresswoman Herrera Butler is available and to then proceed to the next phase of the trial, including the introduction of that testimony shortly thereafter. Congresswoman Butler further stated that she hopes other witnesses to this part of the story-- other patriots, as she put it-- would come forward. And if that happens, we would seek the opportunity to take their depositions via Zoom, also for less than an hour, or to subpoena other relevant documents as well.

MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN: For the House managers to say we need depositions about things that happened after, it's just not true. But, but, if he does, there are a lot of depositions that need to happen. Nancy Pelosi's deposition needs to be taken. Vice President Harris's deposition absolutely needs to be taken, and not by Zoom. None of these depositions should be done by Zoom. We didn't do this hearing by Zoom. These depositions should be done in person in my office in Philadelphia. That's where they should be done.

[LAUGHTER]

I don't know how many civil lawyers are here, but that's the way it works, folks. When you want somebody's deposition, you send a notice of deposition, and they appear at the place where the notice says. That's civil process.

I don't know why you're laughing. It is civil process. That is the way lawyers do it. We send notices of deposition.

- I would remind everybody we will have order in the chamber during these proceedings.

MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN: I haven't laughed at any of you, and there's nothing laughable here. He mentioned my client coming in to testify. That is not the way it's done. If he wanted to talk to Donald Trump, he should have put a subpoena down, like, I'm going to slap subpoenas on a good number of people if witnesses are what is required here for them to try to get their case back in order.