Transcript for Senate votes to acquit former President Donald Trump
We begin with the historic end to the second impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump. This time, accused of incitement of insurrection, after the violent assault on the capitol. Tonight, the senate has acquitted the former president of a vote of 57-43. Seven Republicans joining every Democrat in voting guilty. But falling short of the two-thirds majority required to convict. The vote after a dramatic twist. The house managers acting as prosecutors moving to call a witness about a heated phone call between Republican leader Kevin Mccarthy and the former president during the siege. Mr. Trump reportedly refusing to tell the rioters to stand down. The president's lawyers expressing outrage at the move. An adviser to the former president saying if there would be witnesses, their side would call more than 300. Then, a compromise. A statement from a representative about that phone call in question would be added to the record. Donald Trump immediately issuing a statement after the verdict, calling impeachment, "Yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the country," saying his movement has only just begun. Then Mitch Mcconnell released a blistering on the aaattack on the man he had just voted to acquit. Here's Rachel Scott. Reporter: On day five of his impeachment trial, former president Donald Trump acquitted for a second time by the senate. Senators, how say you? Reporter: On the charge of incitement of insurrection, the majority of senators, all of the Democrats -- Mr. Burr. Vote guilty. Mr. Burr, guilty. Reporter: -- And seven Republicans finding trump but still falling short of the two-thirds necessary to convict. He is hereby acquitted of the charge in said article. Reporter: Before the vote, some last minute drama in the chamber. Lead house impeachment manager Jamie Raskin saying Republican congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler must be subpoenaed to testify. Needless to say, this is an additional, critical piece of corroborating evidence. Reporter: It came after news reports overnight about that heated phone call between Republican leader Kevin Mccarthy and former president Donald Trump in the middle of the riot. Herrera Beutler saying Mccarthy told her it was a shouting match. Mccarthy pleading with trump to tell his supporters to stand down. Saying, quote, "You've got to hold them. You need to get on TV right now. You need to get on Twitter. You need to call these people ING off." Trump responding, "Kevin, they're not my people." Mccarthy then saying this, quote, "Yes, they are. They just came through my windows and my staff is running for cover. Yeah, they're your people. Call them off." The former president telling Mccarthy, quote, "Well, I guess these people are just more angry about the election and upset than you are." Hang Mike pence! Reporter: That afternoon, Mccarthy told ABC news about his attempts to get through to trump. As I was stuck within my room, I called the president, explained to him what was going on. Reporter: The house managers saying this account is so damning, Herrera Beutler must testify and share her account of that conversation. Trump's defense team objecting strongly, claiming they were blindsided. I think that's inappropriate and improper. We should close this case out today. The clerk will call the roll. Reporter: The majority of senators -- Ms. Murkowski. Aye. Mr. Romney. Aye. Reporter: Including five Republicans voting to call witnesses, hear depositions, see more evidence. But the defense team erupting, banging fists on the table. There was confusion in the chamber. Senator Ron Johnson telling colleagues, "This should have been over by now." Then, senator Lindsey graham. I'd like to change my vote to aye. Reporter: Threatening to extend the trial even further, tweeting, "If the body wants witnesses, I am going to insist we have multiple witnesses." After debate, an abrupt change. There would actually be no witnesses. Neither side wanting a lengthy both sides agreeing instead to admit a statement from Herrera Beutler into evidence, where she laid out that conversation. And then Democrats moved forward with their closing arguments, making this impassioned plea. Senators, this cannot be the beginning. It can't be the new normal. It has to be the end and that decision is in your hands. Reporter: But by the end of the day, it made no difference. The outcome, what most Republicans predicted from the outset -- acquittal. This has been perhaps the most unfair and flagrantly unconstitutional proceeding in the history of the United States senate. Reporter: And after it was all over, perhaps the most forceful condemnation of trump came not from Democrats but from Republican leader Mitch Mcconnell. There's no question, none, that president trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. Those comments getting a lot of attention tonight. So, let's get right to Rachel Scott, who has been covering this trial from the beginning. And Rachel, this was historic. Seven Republicans voting to convict a former president of their own party. We heard those blistering comments there from senate minority leader Mitch Mcconnell, but he voted to acquit former president trump. And tonight, he tried to explain why. Reporter: Yeah, whit. Mitch Mcconnell not holding back tonight, but still defending his vote to acquit. He says it's unconstitutional to try a former president, but it's worth noting here that Mcconnell could have started the impeachment trial while trump was still in office. And tonight, his words have Democrats outraged. House speaker Nancy Pelosi calling it pathetic. Whit? All right, Rachel Scott, thank you again for all of your reporting on a busy week.
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