Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) says he was impressed by the Democratic impeachment managers' presentation this week in their effort to convict former President Donald Trump. They were "far better" than the managers in the first impeachment trial against Trump last year, Cramer noted. But despite their improved strategies, the Democrats did not convince Cramer that Trump was culpable in the deadly January 6 riots at the Capitol.
"They were trying to convince people how bad the events of January 6 were, people who'd lived through it like they did," he noted on ABC News Live. "And so it was moving, but I don't think it wasn't, at least for me personally, I don't think it was compelling enough to the argument that the President is culpable for it."
"They did as good a job as I think they could in presenting the case, they certainly had a lot of nice, well-edited video," he continued. "But again, I think it was a difficult challenge to convince us while we were also witnesses.”
Cramer says "there's no question" that Trump's rhetoric on the day of the riots was "reckless." He was "disappointed" in the things he was saying, particularly in regards to Vice President Mike Pence. Had Democrats tried censure Trump or pursued some sort of admonishment, Cramer said he would have been "open" to something like that.
But something else may have tripped up the managers, Cramer added. Toward the end of their arguments, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) asked the question, "Was this foreseeable?" And while Neguse was hoping the senators would respond in the affirmative, Sen. Cramer says it had the opposite effect on him.
"I thought it was an answer that wasn't very effective for them because I don't think it was foreseeable," he said. "I think when you look at the wholeness of President Trump's four years - his rhetoric, his rallies, the use of words. Nobody foresaw - he certainly didn't foresee that there would be violence as a part of it. So I think that's going to be hard for them."
It's Trump's legal team's turn on Friday, as they resume their arguments.