Former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial looked on track to last longer than expected after the Senate voted on Saturday morning in favor of calling witnesses.
Witnesses hadn’t been expected in the proceedings, but the lead House manager, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, said on Saturday morning that his team wanted to call Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state after she released a statement late Friday that said Trump on Jan. 6 resisted telling his supporters to stop storming the Capitol.
Markets have been expected to shrug at the past week’s proceedings, and the main U.S. stock gauges SPX, +0.47% DJIA, +0.09% on Friday closed with weekly gains. Investors are more focused on talks on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid proposal.
But with the trial moving into a new phase, rather than ending on Saturday afternoon as had been anticipated, there is some potential for delays in the Senate’s work on COVID relief. U.S. stock futures ES00, +0.60% YM00, +0.07% were trading flat to slightly higher on Saturday morning.
The Senate on Saturday voted 55 to 45 in favor of calling witnesses in the trial, as five Republicans joined with the chamber’s 50 Democrats and independents.
Those five GOP senators included four known for criticizing Trump — Maine’s Susan Collins, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Utah’s Mitt Romney and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse. South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, also voted for calling witnesses, after tweeting on Saturday morning that, “If you want a delay, it will be a long one with many, many witnesses.”
One of Trump’s defense attorneys, Michael van der Veen, made similar comments as those from Graham as he addressed the Senate Saturday.
“If you vote for witnesses, do not handcuff me by limiting the number of witnesses that I can have. I need to do a thorough investigation that they did not do,” the lawyer said.