April 12, 2021

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Her statement caused an impeachment trial stir: Who is Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler?

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WASHINGTON – Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler has become an unexpected name to know from former President Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial. 

Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., backed reports late Friday that said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke with Trump as a mob was attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and that the former president seemed unconcerned about the riot. 

Following her statement, the Senate unexpectedly voted Saturday morning to call trial witnesses, which would include Herrera Beutler.

However, after hours of negotiating, Trump’s defense team and House managers agreed to instead place her statement into the record, and the six-term congresswoman will not testify.

Trump is accused of inciting the riot during the certification of the 2020 election that endangered members of congress and Vice President Mike Pence as the mob breached the Capitol.  

More:Live impeachment updates: Lawmakers, Trump’s lawyers reach compromise to avoid witnesses

Here is what you need to know about Herrera Beutler:

Why is Herrera Beutler important to Trump’s trial?

According to Herrera Beutler, Trump initially tried to blame the attack on leftist members of “antifa” during the phone call with McCarthy. But when McCarthy insisted the mob was comprised of the president’s supporters, Trump told the top House Republican, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” 

More:Trump rebuffed plea from top Republican to call off rioters, GOP Rep. Herrera Beutler says

Friday night, following reporting of the phone call, Herrera Beutler said she has shared “these details in countless conversations with constituents and colleagues, and multiple times through the media and other public forums.”

She referenced McCarthy’s unheeded appeal to Trump in the January statement explaining her decision to vote for impeachment. She also linked to an interview with the Daily News of Longview on Jan. 17 and with “thousands of residents on my telephone town hall on February 8.”  

Following new reporting of the contents of that phone call, and Herrera Beutler’s confirmation of it, lead House manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., asked to call Herrera Beutler as a witness.

“Needless to say, this is an additional critical piece of evidence,” Raskin said.

The Senate voted 55-45 to subpoena witnesses in the trial, a difference from Trump’s first impeachment, where witnesses were not called. 

In a statement Friday, Herrera Beutler said, “To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time.”

She voted to impeach Trump

Herrera Beutler, 42, was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment on a charge of inciting the U.S. Capitol attack.

In a statement explaining her affirmative vote, Herrera Beutler said Trump “incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next.”

A few days after the House’s impeachment, Herrera Beutler slammed Trump in Twitter thread, saying he incited the riots by erroneously claiming for months that “the election had been stolen and consistently urged people to ‘fight’ in order to change the results,” threatening congressional Republicans, and leading “Americans to believe that Mike Pence could overturn the Electoral College results, even though the VP does not have that power.”

Trump was impeached on Jan. 13 by the House for inciting an “insurrection” in the attack on the Capitol. Trump left power as the first president in the nation’s 245-year history to be impeached twice. The vote to impeach Trump was 232 to 197, the most bipartisan impeachment in history.

Who is Herrera Beutler?

Before being sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011, Herrera Beutler served in Washington state’s House of Representatives. 

In the U.S. House, according to FiveThirtyEight, Herrera Beutler voted with Trump nearly 80% of the time, but is considered to be a moderate Republican. 

Herrera Beutler has said she is not afraid of losing her seat in Congress over her vote to impeach Trump.

Her congressional district, Washington’s 3rd, spansthe southwest part of the state and has jumped back and forth between Republican and Democratic control going back decades. She has won every election with over 53% of the vote.

Herrerra Beutler won the seat by 6 points in 2010. The largest city in the district is Vancouver, across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, and home to more liberal voters. But outside of Vancouver, the district is largely conservative.

Before Republican women made historic gains in 2020 in the House, Herrera Beutler was one of only a few GOP women in the House. In the 116th Congress, she was one of only 13 women.

Herrera Beutler has been outspoken about being a mom and serving in government, saying in 2019: “To truly represent the American people, Congress needs more women and moms. I’m expecting my third baby since I was elected to serve, and it is a privilege to offer my unique perspective as we shape policy for all American families.”

Herrera Beutler gained national attention after her daughter was born in 2013 with Potter’s Syndrome.

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