WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Senators, serving as jurors in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump, reacted Wednesday night to evidence presented by House impeachment managers earlier in the day.
“These guys were, I think they were very effective. And I’ll see what kind of arguments the defense put out. But yeah, I’m going to listen and draw conclusions when it’s all done,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the second-ranking Republican in the Senate. “I think they’ve done a good job connecting the dots. The president’s Twitter feed is a matter of public record and they’ve done, like I said, an effective job of going back several months and just showing that public record.”
The comments were made to reporters gathered outside the chamber as senators recessed for a dinner break.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the only Republican senator to vote in favor of former President Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2020, said he didn’t realize how close he was to rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes. That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional,” Sen. Romney said.
Never before seen surveillance video presented by House impeachment managers showed Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, previously hailed as a hero for his actions on Jan. 6, telling Romney to turn around.
“I did not know that was Officer Goodman. I look forward to thanking him when I next see him,” Sen. Romney said.
Sen. Ted Cruz, a supporter of the former president and one of a majority of Republicans who’ve voted that the trial is unconstitutional, told reporters that impeachment managers hadn’t made a strong enough legal argument.
“They spent a great deal of time focusing on the horrific acts of violence that were played out by the criminals, but the language from the president doesn’t come close to meeting the legal standard for incitement,” Sen. Cruz said.
Another Republican senator, who has expressed being open to conviction, called Wednesday afternoon’s evidence “riveting.”
“Obviously I’m not gonna make any final decision or any decision at all until I hear the other side, but the presentations were compelling, particularly by Representative Plaskett, and also I thought that the representative from Colorado was very good as well,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) referring to Del. Stacey Plaskett from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Colorado’s 2nd Congressional district.
Sen. Collins said the chamber was extremely quiet in the chamber as evidence was presented.
“You could have heard a pin drop,” she said.
Some Republicans argue this is not an impeachment trial.
“There’s no doubt that he bears some responsibility,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said of President Donald Trump. “If someone thinks he committed a crime then they need to go to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and make that argument.”
Sen. Rubio said that would “be hard to prove that in court.”
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, another Republican who has supported the constitutionality of the impeachment trial, said she wants to hear the former president’s defense before making a judgment.
However, she said, “I don’t see how Donald Trump could be reelected to the presidency and I just don’t see that.”
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), a supporter of the president told reporters “I’m still listening and watching” before returning back to the chamber for hearings.
He was asked if the evidence presented impacted his thinking as, he is processing how to vote.
“Well, clearly I hope that every single one of those people that breached the Capitol rot in prison,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
He said the evidence presented by House impeachment managers made him angry.
“My problem with this is not the case that’s being presented but the process that led up to this,” said Sen. Tillis when asked by reporters about how he will vote.
After the dinner recess, House managers continued outlining the sequence of events. They adjourned for the day shortly before 8 p.m. (EST). Former President Trump’s defense is expected to present their case later in the week.