Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed House impeachment managers for their surprising change of course by calling for a witness, saying the “Hail Mary” from those nine Democrats is because they are now caving to upset “leftist Twitter” who want to prolong the trial for weeks.
“I think what happened is leftist Twitter got really upset last night that they weren’t calling witnesses and I think that — this is a political theater and I think the House Managers were feeling heat on their left flank and so they decided,” Cruz told reporters following the vote that left the Senate into recess as leadership was drafting up the resolution that would outline how the trial would proceed on witnesses, including how many individuals can be called.
“But I think if the Democrats want to open this Pandora’s box, I don’t think it’s going to work out well for them,” he added.
Cruz noted that witnesses were not in the plans for the trial on Saturday morning and the “chaos” in the change of course would now drag the trial for weeks on end, a situation the Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is desperately trying to avoid.
“If we go down the road of witnesses, this impeachment trial could last all of February, all of March, all of April,” Cruz said. “I gotta tell you, I just came from the Republican cloakroom, there are a lot of Republican senators that are saying alright fine if you want to drag this out every day we are in this trial is a day that the Democrat majorities are not destroying the country, are not passing policies that are killing jobs and putting people out of work and keeping kids out of school. I think Schumer is trying desperately to get out of this.”
Cruz added, “My view from the beginning, I don’t think Joe Biden wanted to go down the road of impeachment. I don’t think Schumer and most of the Democratic senators wanted to go down the road of impeachment. The reason we are here is the hard left hates Donald Trump and the House Democrats they really reflect that hard partisan left. They drove the impeachment I think Schumer felt he couldn’t tell his base, no especially when he’s afraid of being primary from the left in New York.”
House Democrats kicked off the fifth day surprising the Senate chamber by calling for a single witness to testify in the case — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), one of 10 Republicans who voted for the Article of Impeachment last month, and has now surfaced as an apparent key figure in the saga. The unknown 14-year Congresswoman tweeted a statement late Friday night explaining her impeachment vote by recalling a conversation she had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) where he told her he asked Trump in a phone call on Jan. 6 to defuse the rioters by issuing a public statement, but the former president was unconcerned.
“When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot, the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was Antifa that had breached the Capitol. McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters. That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,'” she said.
Cruz said Herrera Beutler’s account is based on “hearsay” or “even double hearsay” which none of it is “credible and reliable.”
The Senate voted 55-45 to allow the trial to hear from witnesses, with five Republicans joining all the Democrats in voting to allow witnesses. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) initially voted no, but changed his vote to yes to allow witnesses after it was obvious the vote would pass.
While Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the lead impeachment manager requested one witness, Trump’s lawyers named at least two witnesses they would call, and indicated they would want many more.
“I’m gonna slap subpoenas on a good number of people,” Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen said, adding he would like to hold 100 depositions if any witnesses are called.
Cruz confirmed they are in discussion underway to try to cut a deal on witnesses after the surprise vote, to “see this thing resolved and ended today.”
Republicans are hoping to convince Democrats to drop their demand to call Herrera Beutler in exchange for letting the news articles about her phone call or her tweet statement be added to the trial record.
He outlined that even if witnesses are called, it will not change the outcome of the trial. He said it is most likely only 55 senators will vote to convict, “plus or minus 2,” which is not near the two-thirds majority needed for conviction.
“I think we likely are about 55 votes to convict, I think all of the democrats are likely to vote to convict. By the way, I think all the democrats were going to vote to convict on day one all of the democrats were going to vote to convict in 2017, many of these democrats went on record as Trump was being sworn as president saying they wanted to impeach him, so I think on the Democratic side it’s purely political,” Cruz said. “I think on the Republican side we’ve seen five Republicans who voted with the Democrats on a couple of procedural motions. I think there’s a reasonable possibility those five vote to convict. I’d say there are 55 votes to convict plus or minus two, I think we could probably see a low of 53. and a high of 57. Neither of those are remotely close to the 67 it takes to convict.”