Donald Trump acquitted in second impeachment trial

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 2306 GMT (0706 HKT) February 13, 2021
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3:05 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

"You can't claim there's no due process," impeachment manager says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Senate TV
Senate TV

House impeachment manager Joe Neguse went through the reasons he believes that former President Trump and his legal team have offered up “distractions” during the impeachment trial, including claims of the denial of due process. 

“We had a full presentation of evidence, adversarial presentations, motions. The President was invited to testify. He declined. The President was invited to provide exculpatory evidence. He declined. You can't claim there's no due process when you won't participate in the process,” Neguse said in his closing argument. 

“We know this case isn't one that requires a complicated legal analysis. You all lived it. The managers and I, we lived it. Our country lived it," he said.

Neguse also mentioned Trump’s defense presenting a video compilation of Democratic lawmakers using words like “fight.”

“What you will not find in those video montages that they showed you is any of those speeches, those remarks, culminating in a violent insurrection on our nation's Capitol,” Neguse said. “That’s the difference.” 


3:02 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Impeachment manager: "This trial is not borne from hatred, borne from love of country"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Impeachment manager Joe Neguse concluded his case against former President Trump with an emotional appeal to senators to put their country before party. 

Neguse rebuffed the defense's claims on Friday that Democrats' case against Trump was motivated by hate saying he had taken lifelong inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr.'s own appeal to love: "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

"This trial is not borne from hatred, far from it. It's borne from love of country, our country, our desire to maintain it, our desire to see America at its best," he said. 

Neguse went on to warn of a dark future if senators did not "rise to the occasion" and convict Trump. 

"The stakes could not be higher," he said. "Because the cold, hard truth is that what happened on January 6th can happen again. I fear... the violence we saw that terrible day may be just the beginning."

"Senators, this cannot be the beginning," he concluded. "It can't be the new normal. It has to be the end. That decision is in your hands."


2:38 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Here's why Democrats backed away from calling for witnesses to testify

From CNN's Manu Raju

After a last-minute decision calling for witnesses, House Democrats ultimately decided to cut a deal because of the unpredictability of how that would turn out and fears that doing so could backfire and undermine their case, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the discussions.

Democrats didn't make a decision to call Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler to testify until shortly before the proceedings began Saturday morning, sources said. They ultimately settled on submitting her statement to the record as long as former President Trump's attorney made a public statement agreeing to submit it as evidence.

The reason: They believed that pushing forward with her testimony would add little beyond her statement and could potentially cost them GOP support, while dragging out the proceedings further.

The sources told CNN that Democrats were uncertain how Herrera Beutler's testimony would come across after she was subject to cross examination, with some concerns that she could potentially undercut their case if there were holes in her account. 

Moreover, if they called other witnesses, it could also backfire. For instance, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy could provide testimony that defended Trump, undermining what they believe is a rock-solid case that Trump incited the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, the sources said.

Plus witnesses would not ultimately change GOP senators' minds, they concluded, while hearing from witnesses could bog down the Senate for weeks and imperil President Joe Biden's agenda.

With Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Angus King of Maine, who are two centrist members of the Senate Democratic caucus, telling CNN that there needed to be an equal number of witnesses on both sides, that meant that the trial could be delayed for an indefinite period, perhaps weeks.

And with a weeks-long delay, it could threaten Democrats' ability to advance Biden's agenda since they need consent from Republicans to schedule votes on nominees and other matters. With no consent, the Senate could be in a state of gridlock because Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would be forced to take procedural steps to overcome an objection, a process that takes days for each objection.

Moreover, Democrats are pushing hard to get a massive Covid-19 relief package done within weeks, and a trial could distract from that effort.

Ultimately, the team decided that if they went forward with witnesses, it could potentially alienate Senate Republicans, causing them to shed some support, rather than gain any more supporters for conviction.

2:37 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Senate resumes closing arguments after brief pause to question managers' evidence

Senate TV
Senate TV

The Senate resumed closing arguments after a brief pause, again, following an objection to video being shown by House impeachment manager Madeleine Dean.

Dean argued the statement was already on record but there was confusion over admitting the video – as new evidence is not allowed to be admitted at this stage of the trial.

2:28 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Impeachment manager plays video montage of Trump's lies in closing argument

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Impeachment manager Rep. Madeleine Dean began her closing argument this afternoon by playing a video montage of former President Trump repeating the false claim that the election had been rigged.

"Donald Trump invited them, he incited them, then he directed them," she said of the mob that attacked the US Capitol before playing the video.

Dean then played the video which included Trump lying repeatedly.

"There won't be a transfer, frankly," Trump said. "There will be a continuation."

"The only way we're going to lose is if there's mischief, mischief and it will have to be on a big scale," he said. "So, be careful."


1:54 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Impeachment managers have resumed their closing arguments after a brief pause

Impeachment managers have resumed their closing arguments.

Moments ago, Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, interrupted impeachment managers' closing arguments, pausing the trial.

Lee seemed to be objecting to a timeline about a call he had with former President Trump on Jan. 6 as the Capitol riot was underway.

1:49 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Managers pause closing arguments after GOP senator's interruption

Closing arguments are on hold after Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, interrupted the proceedings.

Lee seemed to be objecting to a timeline about a call he had with former President Trump on Jan. 6 as the Capitol riot was underway.

Earlier, Lee was seen handing over his phone records to managers.

1:44 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Here's what to expect in the closing arguments from Trump's defense team

From CNN's Pamela Brown

It’s anticipated that former President Trump's defense team will have a quick closing statement. 

It is expected to be about 30 minutes give or take. 

They will deliver a quick summary of main points. 

They may address the phone call between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump, but are still working it out, according to a person with knowledge of ongoing discussions. 

1:48 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

House impeachment manager says Trump "must be convicted"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Senate TV
Senate TV

“It’s now clear beyond doubt that Trump supported the actions of the mob” on Jan. 6, lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin said in his closing arguments. “And so he must be convicted. It's that simple.”

Raskin said that the former president sided with those who stormed the Capitol and failed to protect lawmakers, including his Vice President. 

His “dereliction of duty … was central to his incitement of insurrection, and inextricable from it,” Raskin said. 

The revelation of the former President’s call with House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy “confirm that Trump was doing nothing to help the people in this room or this building,” Raskin said.

“President Trump must be convicted for the safety and security of our democracy and our people,” Raskin added in his last statement.