After a second day of searing evidence in former President Trump's second impeachment trial—including previously unseen video footage showing how narrowly some lawmakers escaped the mob—most Republican lawmakers still seemed unwilling to vote to convict. GOP senators including Ted Cruz said that while the scenes of violence were horrific, it hadn't changed their minds on whether Trump is guilty of inciting the insurrection. To convict the former president, at least 17 Republicans will have to vote with the chamber's 50 Democrats. "I think you get at best six Republicans—probably five and maybe six," Sen. Tim Scott told CNN. More:
- "The result of this trial is preordained." Cruz said the trial's result is "preordained" and Trump will be acquitted, the Washington Post reports. "I’ve said many times that the president’s rhetoric is at times overheated. But this is not a referendum on whether you agree with everything the president says or tweets,” Cruz said Wednesday. "This is instead a legal proceeding, assessing whether the president has committed high crimes or misdemeanors."
- "Painful to see." GOP Sen. James Lankford, one of numerous senators who became emotional while watching the footage, said video of a Capitol police officer being crushed in a set of doors was "painful to see," the New York Times reports. "Who in God’s name thinks, 'I am going to show that I am right by smashing into the Capitol?'" he said. Senators said, however, that they would not let emotion influence their decisions.
- "There's no question it's well done." Like many of his colleagues, Sen. Kevin Cramer praised the House impeachment managers' presentation as "well done" but said he would not change his vote. "Senators are, you know, pretty analytical, as a matter of just a profession," the Republican said, per the Post. "So it doesn’t affect me in terms of how I feel about the president’s culpability. That’s what’s on trial.”
- No pressure from McConnell. Republican senators say there has been no pressure from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to acquit Trump, the Hill reports. Sen. Rob Portman says McConnell has said, "I think this is a vote of conscience." McConnell, one of 44 GOP senators who voted against proceeding with the trial on Tuesday, has said he is still undecided.
- A chaotic ending. Politico reports that there was a confusing ending to proceedings Wednesday when GOP Sen. Mike Lee objected to impeachment managers citing a news report about him receiving a call from Trump on Jan. 6 that was intended for Sen. Tommy Tuberville. After an argument over Senate rules, lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin agreed to withdraw the evidence. "This is much ado about nothing because it’s not critical in any way to our case," he said.
- What's next. Democrats plan to wrap up their case after the Senate reconvenes at noon Thursday and Raskin has signaled that more video from the Capitol attack will be presented, the New York Times reports. Trump's lawyers have focused on the constitutionality of the trial and it's not clear how strongly they intend to counter allegations that Trump incited the riot.
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