On Saturday, after the Senate voted in favor of hearing witness testimony as a part of ex-President Donald Trump’s ongoing trial on a charge of incitement of insurrection, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) — an ardent Trump ally — was caught feverishly arguing with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who has frequently opposed Trump and voted in favor of hearing from witnesses, unlike Johnson. According to reporter Jason Donner, who was on the scene — and works for Fox News, funnily enough — Johnson “turned to Mitt Romney and was upset with him, even pointing at him once.”
“… They were going back and forth with Sullivan in the middle of them. I heard Johnson tell Romney ‘Blame you.’ Voices were definitely raised.”
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) February 13, 2021
Referring to Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Donner added that the Senators “were going back and forth with Sullivan in the middle of them,” elaborating that he “heard Johnson tell Romney ‘Blame you'” and that “voices were definitely raised.” In other words, Johnson appears to have been upset over the continuation of the Trump trial, which, without witness testimony, might have wrapped up this weekend. Asked about his comments to Romney, Johnson complained that it’s “grotesque” that “you guys are recording this” — but “Reporters in the gallery saw/heard the Romney-Johnson exchange on the Senate floor,” journalist John Bresnahan noted. The proceedings are public!
/2 Reporters in the gallery saw/heard the Romney-Johnson exchange on the Senate floor. It was in public
— John Bresnahan (@bresreports) February 13, 2021
Now, the House impeachment case managers have already identified one witness whose testimony they hope to hear — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), who reiterated this week that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) informed her of a troubling conversation that he had with then-President Donald Trump on the day of the Capitol rioting. In the conversation, after McCarthy reiterated that the rioters at the Capitol were not “Antifa” as Trump apparently delusionally suggested, Trump approvingly told McCarthy that the rioters at the Capitol were “more upset about the election than you are.”
#BREAKING: Raskin wants Jaime Herrera Beutler for testimony to talk about her knowledge of McCarthy-Trump talk. And they want a subpoena for her notes.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 13, 2021
Trump’s tacit approval for the rioters’ behavior isn’t entirely new information — on the day of the rioting, Trump posted on Twitter that “these are the things and events that happen” when a presidential election victory is stolen. Trump’s non-existent victory, of course, was not actually stolen, but he justified the violence anyway. During the trial proceedings, questions have swirled about when exactly Trump learned that then-Vice President Mike Pence was in physical danger amidst the Capitol rioting, because on that day, Trump posted a tweet disparaging the then-VP while a mob swarmed the Capitol looking for Pence and hoping to inflict physical harm upon him.
The source is Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican, on the record. "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," she said. https://t.co/lwFCgyIYKL
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) February 13, 2021
UPDATE: Although the Senate voted in favor of hearing from witnesses, the Senate reached a deal to enter an already public statement from Herrera Beutler into the record and move on, setting up a final vote.