WASHINGTON — Republican senators appeared to be losing patience with the House impeachment managers’ case on day three of former President Donald Trump’s trial, suggesting that he will almost certainly be acquitted.
“To me, they’re losing credibility the longer they talk,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). “I just, that’s my opinion.”
Inhofe accused Democratic prosecutors of putting words in the mouth of former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as they played clips of him rebuking Trump’s actions during the Jan. 6 riot that the then-chief executive is accused of inciting.
“They talked about Mick Mulvaney and all the things that he said about how deplorable it was for people raiding the Capitol Hill,” Inhofe told reporters.
“He never did say anything about him, as in blaming it on Trump. But they speak and add to it just as if it’s Trump, that he’s talking about Trump. He’s not,” he went on.
Democratic prosecutors used the second and final day of their arguments to play video footage of interviews with Trump supporters who said they stormed the Capitol at Trump’s behest.
But GOP lawmakers said the House impeachment managers weren’t presenting a strong case, suggesting they would vote to acquit Trump on the charge he “incited the insurrection.”
Democrats need 17 Republican senators to cross the aisle and vote to convict Trump to reach the two-thirds majority necessary.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said the managers were “not connecting the dots” one day after he became visibly emotional on the Senate floor while watching footage of the deadly riot.
Earlier Thursday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) condemned the actions of rioters but said the impeachment case was “totally illegitimate.”
“In terms of what we’re seeing, what we’re seeing is what we lived through, it’s what my staff lived through, and it’s horrific. The criminals who did it ought to be prosecuted as they are being and ought to be given the full measure of the law,” Hawley told Fox News.
“You’re not going to get anything but condemnation from me for what happened with those criminals at the Capitol on January 6, but that doesn’t make this trial any more legitimate than what it is, which is totally illegitimate,” he went on.
Democratic prosecutors were praised for making a compelling opening argument on Tuesday and won the mind of GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who changed positions and voted to call Trump’s impeachment trial constitutional.
But on Wednesday, Republicans began grumbling about how impeachment managers were selectively quoting Trump’s address to supporters before they stormed the Capitol.
The former president’s legal team will begin presenting their case on Friday morning, with a vote to convict expected on Sunday or Monday.