Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Washington, urged fellow Republicans on Friday to speak up on the eve of a possible vote to convict President Donald Trump in his Senate impeachment trial.
Beutler, one of 10 GOP members of the House who voted to impeach Trump last month, confirmed a CNN report that Trump had a heated phone call with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy during the Jan. 6 insurrection of the US Capitol. The riot, which resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer, came as Trump supporters attempted to stop the counting of the Electoral College, which ultimately confirmed Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
“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,” Beutler said on Friday. “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.’”
CNN reported that multiple Republicans confirmed the contents of the phone call.
McCarthy has continued to support the former president, and has visited Trump in Florida since the former president left office.
Beutler said that she has shared the details of this phone call with constituents who have questioned her vote in the impeachment.
She added on Friday, “To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time.”
Beutler’s statement and CNN’s report comes as there are questions arising on what Trump knew during the riot. Trump’s lawyers refuted multiple times on Friday that Trump knew that lawmakers, including Vice President Mike Pence, were in danger when he sent a tweet castigating Pence for not intervening during the counting of the Electoral College. CNN's report claimed that Republican lawmakers said the exchange between Trump and McCarthy showed that the former president had no intention of calling off the rioters.
House managers presented evidence on Wednesday that showed Pence being rushed to a secure location at nearly the same moment Trump sent the tweet in question. The riots were being broadcast live on all major broadcast and cable news channels.
The US Senate is expected to vote on Saturday whether to convict the former president for inciting the riot on Jan. 6. A conviction would require support from two-thirds of the Senate, which would mean 17 Republicans would have to join Democrats in convicting Trump. As of late Friday, only a handful of Republicans seem to be considering convicting Trump.
While there is no office to remove Trump from, the Senate would only need a simple majority to permanently ban Trump from federal office if convicted, which would preclude him from running for office again.