The conclusion of Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial on Saturday was briefly cast into doubt after a last-minute request for witness testimony threatened to extend the proceedings. But the issue was resolved, paving the way for closing arguments and a vote that delivered Mr. Trump’s second acquittal of high crimes and misdemeanors. Here are some of the takeaways from the fifth and last day of the trial.
The Senate acquits Trump of inciting the Capitol riot.
Democrats needed 17 Republicans to vote with them to convict Mr. Trump of a single charge of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Capitol assault. In the end, only seven broke ranks, one more than expected: Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina.
In the closing arguments, Mr. Trump’s defense team denounced the deadly violence on Jan. 6 and maintained that the former president was maligned by a biased news media and was the victim of a protracted “vendetta” by his political opponents.
Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado, one of the impeachment managers, raised the prospect of more politically motivated attacks in the future should Mr. Trump not be held accountable.
“Senators, this cannot be the beginning. It can’t be the new normal,” Mr. Neguse said on Saturday. “It has to be the end. That decision is in your hands.”
The trial’s rapid conclusion was almost derailed.
On Saturday morning, the Senate was prepared to hear closing arguments, but plans for a swift end were threatened with an 11th-hour piece of evidence that House impeachment managers argued was crucial: details about a phone call with Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House minority leader, in which Mr. Trump is said to have sided with the rioters as his supporters stormed the Capitol.
The details were in a statement released on Friday evening by Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, one of the 10 House Republicans who had voted to impeach Mr. Trump. She detailed her conversation with Mr. McCarthy about the call with the president.
The prospect of allowing witness testimony incensed Republicans.
“If you want a delay, it will be a long one with many, many witnesses,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on Twitter.
“If they want to drag this out, we’ll drag it out,” Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, said during a break in the proceedings. “They won’t get their noms, they won’t get anything,” she said, referring to President Biden’s nominees for top posts.
After behind-the-scenes negotiations, both sides agreed to simply enter Ms. Herrera Beutler’s statement into the record.
A Trump defense lawyer was ready to depart Washington.
Michael T. van der Veen expressed frustration at the possibility of dragging out the proceedings with witness testimony. A trial lawyer in Philadelphia, Mr. van der Veen erupted at times over the lack of judicial norms in the Senate chamber.
“If they want to have witnesses, I’m going to need at least over 100 depositions, not just one,” Mr. van der Veen said, adding that raising witnesses at this point in the trial was “inappropriate and improper.” (The Senate faced a similar situation in Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.) But the courtroom norms he is used to do not apply in impeachment proceedings, which are largely devised by the Senate.
Mr. van der Veen, part of a team of lawyers who took over the defense after Mr. Trump parted ways with his first team, lamented that he had only eight days to prepare.
“This is about the most miserable experience I’ve had down here in Washington, D.C.,” he said on Friday.