WASHINGTON — House Democrats wrapped up their impeachment case against Donald Trump on Saturday after a tumultuous morning in which they gave up a last-minute plan for witness testimony that could have prolonged the trial and delayed a verdict on whether the former president incited the deadly Capitol insurrection. An unexpected morning vote in favour of hearing witnesses threw the trial into confusion just as it was on the verge of concluding. But both sides ultimately reached a deal to instead enter into the record a statement from a Republican House lawmaker about a heated phone call on the day of the riot between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that Democrats say established Trump’s indifference to the violence. Republicans are anxious to get the trial over with and the national focus on Trump and the Capitol invasion behind them. Democrats, too, have a motive to move on since the Senate cannot push ahead on new President Joe Biden’s agenda including COVID-19 relief while the impeachment trial is in session. While most Democrats were expected to vote to convict the former president, acquittal appeared likely with a two-thirds majority required for conviction and the chamber split 50-50 between the parties. Republican leader Mitch McConnell told colleagues he would vote to acquit Trump on a “close call.” Closely watched, his view could influence others in his party. At issue at first on Saturday was whether to subpoena Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state, one of 10 Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment in the House. She said in a statement late Friday that Trump rebuffed a plea from McCarthy to call off the rioters. Democrats consider it key corroborating evidence that confirms the president’s “wilful dereliction of duty and desertion of duty as commander in chief.” The situation was resolved when Herrera Beutler’s statement on the call was read aloud into the record for senators to consider as evidence. As part of the deal, Democrats dropped their planned deposition and Republicans abandoned their threat to call their own witnesses. The case then proceeded to closing arguments, where Democrats again alleged that Trump was responsible for the deadly Jan 6. siege on the day the Senate was certifying the election results. “He abused his office by siding with the insurrectionists at almost every point, rather than with the Congress of the United States, rather than with the Constitution,” said lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Raskin earlier said witnesses were necessary to determine Trump’s role in inciting the riot. Fifty-five senators voted for his motion to consider witnesses, including Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Mitt Romney of Utah. Once they did, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina changed his vote to join them on the 55-45 vote. Trump lawyers opposed calling witnesses, with attorney Michael van der Veen saying it would open the door to him calling about 100 of his own. “If you vote for witnesses,” van der Veen said, crossing his arms and then then raising them in the air for emphasis, “do not handcuff me by limiting the number of witnesses that I can have.” In his concluding remarks, van der Veen vigorously denied that Trump bore responsibility for the Capitol violence, saying there was no evidence the former president intended for his words to incite a riot or lead to an overthrow of Congress. He suggested that Democrats who now condemn the insurrection effectively condoned such civil unrest during the racial protests of last summer. “As a nation we must ask ourselves: how did we arrive at this place where rioting and pillaging would become commonplace?” van der Veen said. “It was month after month of political leaders and media personalities, bloodthirsty for ratings, glorifying civil unrest and condemning the reasonable law enforcement measures that are required to quell violent mobs.” The raw and emotional impeachment proceedings reflected a country divided over the former president and the future of his brand of politics. The verdict could influence not only Trump’s political future but that of the senators sworn to deliver impartial justice as jurors. “If we don’t set this right and call it what it was, the highest of constitutional crimes by the president of the United States, the past will not be past,” another impeachment manager, Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, told senators on Saturday. “The past will become our future.” The nearly weeklong trial has delivered a grim and graphic narrative of the riot and its consequences in ways that senators, most of whom fled for their own safety that day, acknowledge they are still coming to grips with. House prosecutors have argued that Trump’s rallying cry to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” for his presidency just as Congress was convening Jan. 6 to certify Biden’s election victory was part of an orchestrated pattern of violent rhetoric and false claims that unleashed the mob. Five people died, including a rioter who was shot and a police officer. Trump’s lawyers countered Friday that Trump’s words were not intended to incite the violence and that impeachment is nothing but a “witch hunt” designed to prevent him from serving in office again. Only by watching the graphic videos — rioters calling out menacingly for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the vote tally — did senators say they began to understand just how perilously close the country came to chaos. Hundreds of rioters stormed into the building, taking over the Senate. Some engaged in hand-to-hand, bloody combat with police. Many Republicans representing states where the former president remains popular doubt whether Trump was fully responsible or if impeachment is the appropriate response. Democrats appear all but united toward conviction. Trump is the only president to be twice impeached and the first to face trial charges after leaving office. Unlike last year’s impeachment trial of Trump in the Ukraine affair, a complicated charge of corruption and obstruction over his attempts to have the foreign ally dig up dirt on then-campaign rival Biden, this one brought an emotional punch over the unexpected vulnerability of the U.S. tradition of peaceful elections. The charge is singular, incitement of insurrection. On Friday, Trump’s impeachment lawyers accused Democrats of waging a campaign of “hatred” against the former president as they wrapped up their defence. His lawyers played video clips showing Democrats, some of them senators now serving as jurors, also telling supporters to “fight,” aiming to establish a parallel with Trump’s overheated rhetoric. “This is ordinary political rhetoric,” said van der Veen. “Countless politicians have spoken of fighting for our principles.” Democratic senators shook their heads at what many called a false equivalency to their own fiery words. Impeachment managers say that Trump was the “inciter in chief” whose long campaign against the election results was rooted in a “big lie” and laid the groundwork for the riot, a violent domestic attack on the Capitol unparalleled in history. Rep. Joe Neguse, another impeachment manager, pointed out Saturday that none of those Democratic speeches precipitated an insurrection at the Capitol. Six Republican senators who joined Democrats in voting to take up the case are among those most watched for their votes. Early signals came Friday during questions for the lawyers. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, asked the first question, Two centrists known for independent streaks, they leaned into a point the prosecutors had made, asking exactly when Trump learned of the breach of the Capitol and what specific actions he took to end the rioting. Democrats had argued that Trump did nothing as the mob rioted. Another Republican who voted to launch the trial, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, asked about Trump’s tweet criticizing Pence moments after the then-president was told by another senator that Pence had just been evacuated. Van der Veen responded that at “no point” was the president informed of any danger. Cassidy told reporters later it was not a very good answer. Lisa Mascaro, Eric Tucker And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
Medicine Hat, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today the Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence, a new WHL Award which will be presented annually to a distinguished member of the radio, television, and print journalism industry in recognition of their outstanding contributions to sports journalism and the WHL.
Bob Ridley, the longtime radio play-by-play voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, is the first recipient and the namesake for this prestigious honour. Bob Ridley was recognized by WHL Commissioner Ron Robison and the Medicine Hat Tigers during a special ceremony at Co-op Place in Medicine Hat on Saturday, the day of Ridley’s 4,000th career WHL game.
“The WHL and our member Clubs are honoured to pay tribute to Bob’s remarkable career with the Medicine Hat Tigers by establishing the Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Bob has made an incredible contribution to the WHL and the Tigers over the past 50 years and as he gets ready to call his 4,000th WHL game it is only fitting we recognize his legacy with this new league-wide award named in his honour.”
Since the Tigers began play during the 1970-71 WHL Regular Season, Ridley has been the only play-by-play voice in team history, calling every single game the Tigers have ever played, with the exception of one. In 1972, Ridley missed one Tigers game after he was sent out on assignment to attend the Women’s National Curling Championship in Saskatoon, Sask.
Ridley has been synonymous with Medicine Hat Tigers hockey for 50 seasons, with the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season representing his 51st campaign at the mic. Ridley called the Tigers WHL Championship victories in 1973, 1987, 1988, 2004, and 2007, and was there to tell the story of the Club’s two national titles at the Memorial Cup in 1987 and 1988.
In addition to his work as the Tigers play-by-play voice, Ridley also served as the Club’s bus driver for 45 seasons. His unique role helped forge everlasting bonds with players across more than five decades.
Ridley’s contributions to Major Junior hockey in Western Canada have been recognized on a number of previous occasions:
1995 – Medicine Hat Civic Recognition Sports Award
2005 – Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Bell Memorial Award
2005 – Alberta Centennial Award
2006 – WHL Distinguished Service Award
2007 – Lifetime Achievement Award, Radio Television Directors News Awards
2011 – Inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame
2019 – Inducted into the Western Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame
In 1995, he was the recipient of the Medicine Hat Civic Recognition Sports Award. In 2005, Ridley was named the recipient of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Bell Memorial Award, and he was also presented with the Alberta Centennial Award by the Government of Alberta. In 2006, Ridley was recognized with the WHL Distinguished Service Award.
A 76-year-old native of Vulcan, Alta., Ridley began his pursuit of broadcasting working weekends at CJDV Drumheller while attending Mount Royal College in Calgary. From there, he moved on to CKSW Swift Current, working as a rock disc jockey and calling play-by-play for an intermediate baseball team in Swift Current, Sask. Ridley then spent two years at CKKR Rosetown before joining CHAT Radio and settling in Medicine Hat.
About the Western Hockey League Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 375 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.
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