Democrats in the Senate were joined by Sens. Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, and Ben Sasse in a vote to allow last minute witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial. As the Senate has to individually vote to determine whether each witness can speak, the Trump legal defense team exploited the time commitment by offering at least 301 witnesses.
As a result, the Democrats are now exploring whether they can simply include an article by CNN, reporting on a phone call that someone overheard and then summarized to someone else who then summarized to CNN, in lieu of any witnesses at all.
The failing cable network reported, “CNN’s Dana Bash is told by one of the sources involved in these discussions that there are bipartisan talks about putting Jamie Gangel’s article in the trial record, instead of calling the witnesses.”
The article in question relates to a story published by CNN about an alleged phone call that took place between Rep. Kevin McCarthy and President Donald Trump. Nobody who spoke to CNN was on the phone call, or even overheard the phone call. Instead, CNN claims the call was “described to CNN by multiple Republicans briefed on it.”
In short, the Democrats wanted to hear from witnesses to slow down the seemingly inevitable acquittal of President Trump. When the Trump legal team exploited this tactical error to include 301 new witnesses, the Democrats then decided that witnesses are not actually important, and could be substituted with an article from CNN about a phone call that someone overheard then told someone else about who then told CNN.
Apparently, Democrats feel more confidant about using third person hearsay than hearing from 301 witnesses from the Trump campaign, or disallowing them to speak altogether.
The media seemed to panic when the Trump legal team showed them the list of names:
When the media was told the Trump team would ask for witnesses, one reporter seemingly panicked at the number.
“In the hundreds?” the female reporter asked as the Trump legal team member began to leave. “Jason, in the hundreds?”
The man simply turned around and briefly showed the document he was holding to the media. The document has “Witness list 301 (so far) written in thick sharpie marker.
— The Recount (@therecount) February 13, 2021
Among the witnesses the Trump legal team would like to call are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Times reporter, and Muriel Bowser, the Mayor of Washington, D.C.
UPDATE: After National File’s reporting, it appears all witnesses have been cancelled, and the CNN article will not be used. Instead, a statement from Rep. Herrera Beutler will be added to the record. The impeachment trial will now move on to closing arguments.