“We don’t coordinate with the managers,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), adding that Democratic senators “have social conversations” with their House counterparts but “don’t talk strategy. So we did not know that they were going to request witnesses or not. And that’s how it should have been.”
Summing up the position Democratic senators decided on, Cardin said: “If the managers believe it would help their presentation, we should let them have witnesses.”
Schumer had long deferred to the managers: If they wanted to call witnesses, he said Democrats would support it. But he too was personally surprised when the Senate quickly moved to a bipartisan 55-45 vote to consider possible witnesses, Democrats said.
Some Democratic senators had indicated after their morning call that they didn’t believe witnesses would be called. For a week or more, most in the party have suggested that senators’ experience as witnesses of the Jan. 6 insurrection could be enough to convict Trump of inciting it.
And not every Democratic senator was happy to leap into the unknown by casting a vote that would prolong the trial.
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