Herrera Beutler's Alleged Conversation with Leader McCarthy Becomes the Focal Point of the Impeachment Trial

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Posted: Feb 13, 2021 10:40 AM
Herrera Beutler's Alleged Conversation with Leader McCarthy Becomes the Focal Point of the Impeachment Trial

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

House impeachment managers on Saturday made the argument that the Senate should vote to allow both the prosecution and the defense to bring forth witnesses in former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial. House impeachment lead Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) made the argument that the Senate should have the ability to subpoena witnesses, in particular Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) over the Jan. 6 riots on the Capitol.

Raskin pointed to breaking news that occurred late Friday night. Attention was called to Herrera Beutler's conversation with McCarthy, where the minority leader allegedly recounted a conversation he had with President Trump. According to Herrera Beutler, McCarthy allegedly told Trump to "call off" the riots at the Capitol. The president allegedly said it wasn't his supporters who caused the chaos and violence at the Capitol.

"Needless to say, this is an additional, critical piece of corroborating evidence further confirming the charges before you, as well as the president's willful dereliction of duty," Raskin said before the vote. "For that reason, and because this is the proper time to do so under the [Senate impeachment rules], we would like the opportunity to subpoena congresswoman Herrera [Beutler] regarding her communications with [Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy] and to subpoena her contemporaneous notes."

Below is Herrera Beutler's statement on what transpired.

In my January 12 statement in support of the article of impeachment, I referenced a conversation House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy relayed to me that he'd had with President Trump while the January 6 attack was ongoing. Here are the details:

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."

Since I publicly announced my decision to vote for impeachment, I have shared these details in countless conversations with constituents and colleagues, and multiple times through the media and other public forms. 

I told it to the Daily News of Longview on January 17. I've shared it with local county Republican executive board members, as well as other constituents who ask me to explain my vote. I shared it with thousands of residents on my telephone town hall on February 8. (See blow).

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 pointed to two previous interviews she gave about her alleged conversation with McCarthy. 

From The Daily News (published Jan. 17):

Herrera Beutler said she was stunned when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told her of a conversation he had with Trump on Jan. 6: “He said to the President, ‘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 off.’ And he said, the President said, ‘Kevin, they’re not my people.’ ”

She said McCarthy told the President, “Yes they are, they just came through my windows and my staff is running for cover. Yeah, they’re your people. Call them off.”

Trump’s response, as McCarthy told Herrera Beutler, was, “Well I guess these people are just more angry about the election and upset than you are.”

Herrera Beutler said the President’s failure to respond to the Jan. 6 attack was “a dereliction of duty, a violation of his oath of office to protect the Constitution.”

“A president who sees an attack happening like this has an oath by his office to do what he can to stop it, and he didn’t.”

“I just think you have to take your party perspective out of this,” she explained.

Herrera Beutler said she has not encountered a negative response from most of her Republican colleagues.

“I’ve been trying to be very respectful, because I would say a majority of my colleagues wrestled with how to vote on this with their souls,” she said. “I know good people voted both ways on this, and I won’t’ question it.”

From The Daily Chronicle (published Feb. 9): 

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Herrera Beutler was on the House floor during the Jan. 6 insurrection that left five dead after a pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol and forced lawmakers into hiding in an attempt to halt the counting of electoral votes, which had been certified by all 50 states. The attack was preceded by a rally in which Trump told supporters to march to the capitol to “take back our country.”

“Leading up to the speech there were certainly calls for violence. There were calls to overthrow the process,” Herrera Beutler told listeners. “The president himself said things like ‘we’re never going to give up, we’ll never concede, it doesn’t happen, you don’t concede when theft’s involved.’”

But the sixth-term congresswoman said there’s room for debate around whether Trump’s words that day directly incited the insurrection. What’s more “damning,” she said, and indicative of the former president’s motives, was his inaction during the hours-long attack.

Herrera Beutler described Republicans calling for the commander-in-chief to step in to no avail. One heated conversation between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump was “chilling,” Herrera Beutler said.

“He said ‘well, Kevin, I guess they’re just more upset about this election theft than you are,’” she said. “The president was basically saying ‘nah, I’m OK with this.’”

“Did he send anyone in to help? No. But he did place calls to senators while they were in lockdown. And you know what he said? He said ‘can you do something to further delay the electoral counting?’”

The inaction, she said, was a direct violation of Trump’s oath to protect the Constitution, considering the counting of electoral votes is “the actual Constitution in progress.”

“That’s as impeachable as it gets, in my books,” Herrera Beutler said.

The Senate voted 55 to 45 to call witnesses in the trial.