An impeachment manager says Republicans privately told her she made a compelling case to convict Trump, but they acquitted him anyway

Stacey Plaskett
Del. Stacey Plaskett in the Capitol during Trump’s second impeachment trial.

  • Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) was a House manager in Trump’s second impeachment trial.
  • She told CNN some Senate Republicans privately told her she “made the case” for conviction.
  • But she said they already planned to acquit Trump and didn’t want to “stand out on a limb” by convicting.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A House impeachment manager says Republican senators told her privately that she “made the case” to convict former President Donald Trump, but they still voted to acquit him. 

Del. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat from the Virgin Islands, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday about the interactions she had with unnamed Republican senators during Trump’s second impeachment trial last week.

“I had senators, even after we presented, who stopped me in the hallway, Republicans, who said that we had made the case, but yet they were going to vote to acquit the president,” Plaskett said.

Plaskett said she tried to win these senators over by saying they could vote to acquit Trump, but not vote to disqualify him from holding office in the future – a vote which would have taken place after conviction, and only requires a simple majority.

“The response was, ‘Well, I don’t think you’ll get to 17, so I’ll never get to that second disqualification vote and I don’t want to stand out on a limb by myself,'” Plaskett recalled, referring to Democratic senators’ needing 17 Republicans to vote with them in order to convict Trump.

Read more: 7 yuuge reasons Donald Trump isn’t going away

Plaskett has in recent days also defended her decision not to call witnesses during the trial.

“We had no need to call any witnesses at the end of the trial because, as all Americans believed at that moment, the evidence was overwhelming,” Plaskett told NPR on Sunday.

She also told CNN in a separate Sunday interview: “I know people are feeling a lot of angst and believe that maybe if we had this, the senators would have done what we wanted, but listen, we didn’t need more witnesses, we needed more senators with spines.”

Trump was acquitted at his second impeachment trial on Saturday, with 57 votes to convict and 43 votes to acquit. A two-thirds majority vote is required to impeach a president. Seven Republican senators voted to convict, joining all 50 Senate Democrats.

Among the Republicans who voted to convict is North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, who is retiring after this term. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close confidante of Trump, said Burr’s vote in the trial paves the way for Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, to run for his seat. 

While Plaskett didn’t get the outcome she was looking for in Trump’s second impeachment trial, she said it was necessary for the country, and it may work to stop Trump from running for office in the future. 

“I believe that January 6 [Capitol riot] was a second kind of Civil War and it was necessary for us to have a reckoning and for those individuals who made war against our democracy be brought to justice, they needed to be held accounted for,” Plaskett told CNN’s Cuomo on Monday.

“And so that’s what I saw as my duty and my service to my country. I believe that we were on the front lines to save our union and our republic,” she added.

“I do believe, even though we lost that case, that we have shown who Donald Trump is, we’ve shown the enemy that was among us, that was attempting to lead us, that was using us for his own greed and power, and that he will not have the same power that he had, should he ever attempt to run again.”

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‘We needed more senators with spines’: Impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett defends decision not to call witnesses during trial

Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-V.I., attends a House Oversight and Reform Committee markup in Rayburn Building on a resolution on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress on Wednesday, June 12, 2019.
Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-V.I., attends a House Oversight and Reform Committee markup in Rayburn Building on a resolution on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress on Wednesday, June 12, 2019.

Stacey Plaskett, one of the House impeachment managers, doubled down on Democrats’ decision to abruptly reverse course and not call witnesses during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial

“I know people are feeling a lot of angst and believe that maybe if we had this, the senators would have done what we wanted, but listen, we didn’t need more witnesses, we needed more senators with spines,” Plaskett, a delegate from the Virgin Islands, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper Sunday. 

 

As Insider’s Sonam Sheth reported, the vote to call witnesses came after CNN reported on new details of a phone call between Trump and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy on January 6, as the deadly Capitol insurrection was underway. Trump and McCarthy got into a shouting match because Trump refused to call off the rioters, according to the report.

Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler first revealed the details of the phone call at a town hall earlier this week and confirmed them to CNN. As Insider reported, the Democrats pulled back on their decision to call the GOP Washington congresswoman as a witness during the trial and just entered her statement into the record. 

“We had no need to call any witnesses at the end of the trial because, as all Americans believed at that moment, the evidence was overwhelming,” Plaskett said Sunday during an interview with NPR.

During the impeachment trial, impeachment managers shared a trove of previously unseen video footage from inside the Capitol on January 6, as Business Insider’s Azmi Haroun reported. 

Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin made the case that Trump directed rioters to storm the Capitol. “He told them to fight like hell, and they brought us hell,” Raskin said. Lawmakers of both parties offered emotional reactions to the videos between sessions, and reporters observed their reactions as the videos were shown.

Raskin on Sunday said he “made the call” to hold off witnesses from the trial. “We could have had 5,000 witnesses, and [GOP Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell would be making the same speech because what he’s asserting is that the Senate never has jurisdiction over a former president,” he said.

On Saturday, the Senate voted to acquit Trump. All 50 Democrats and 7 Republicans voted to convict Trump, while 43 Republicans voted to acquit. 

“Those 43 who voted to acquit the president did so because they were afraid of him because they were more interested in party and in power than they were in our country and in duty to their Senate oath,” Plaskett said, adding that Trump’s legacy  “will be forever tarnished” by his second impeachment.

“I think it leaves him for all history – our children and my grandchildren will see in history that this was the most despicable despot attempting to become a fascist ruler over a country that was founded in democracy,” Plaskett said.

Read the original article on Business Insider