The Senate hurtled toward acquitting Donald J. Trump on Saturday on the charge of “incitement of insurrection,” with closing arguments ended and the vote underway.
After days of calling out former President Donald J. Trump actions, House Democrats summed up their case by accusing him of impeachable inaction — citing his unwillingness to stop the mob that killed, maimed and clawed at the heart of American democracy in his name.
“Think for a moment, just a moment, of the lives lost that day — of the more than 140 wounded,” said Representative Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Colorado, one of the House impeachment managers.
“Ask yourself if, as soon as this had started, President Trump had simply gone onto TV, just logged onto Twitter, and said stop the attack. How many lives would we have saved?” he added.
The Democrats’ tone, soft-spoken and emotional, represented a striking contrast with the angry, high-volume final statements made by Mr. Trump’s defense team inspired, and perhaps instigated by, the bellicose former president.
“Senators, do not let House Democrats take this maniacal crusade any further,” said Michael T. van der Veen, a personal injury lawyer who has emerged as the most combative member of Mr. Trump’s legal team. “You do not have to indulge the impeachment lust, the dishonesty, and the hypocrisy. It is time to bring this unconstitutional political theater to an end.”
Earlier in the day, it appeared that the trial might not reach a rapid end. In the morning, the Senate voted to allow witnesses in the trial after Democrats made a surprise bid to subpoena Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, Republican of Washington. They cited a statement she made on Friday night recounting how Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, had told her of a phone call he had with Mr. Trump during the Capitol attack, in which Mr. Trump said the rioters were more upset about the election than Mr. McCarthy was.
Lawmakers in both parties were blindsided by the witness request, which came just after the top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, had privately told his colleagues he was ready to acquit Mr. Trump, confirming that a conviction was exceedingly unlikely.
Five Republicans — Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska — joined Democrats in a 55-to-45 vote to support the call for more witnesses and evidence. (Mr. Graham, who has warned that Republicans would force calls on a number of Democrats should witnesses be voted on, initially voted against the request.)
But calling witnesses would have prolonged an impeachment trial members of both parties have been eager to bring to a close, and the House impeachment managers and Mr. Trump’s defense team eventually agreed to allow Ms. Herrera Beutler’s statement into evidence.
In a statement Friday night, Ms. Herrera Beutler said that Mr. McCarthy had told her of his frantic call to Mr. Trump on Jan. 6 as the Capitol was being besieged. She said Mr. McCarthy said he had asked Mr. Trump “to publicly and forcefully call off the riot.”
Mr. Trump replied by saying that antifa, not his supporters, was responsible. When Mr. McCarthy said that was not true, the former president was curt.
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” he said, according to Ms. Herrera Beutler’s account of what Mr. McCarthy told her.
Ms. Herrera Beutler’s statement ended with a plea for those who were at the White House with him that day, or former Vice President Mike Pence, to come forward and share eyewitness accounts and details about what they saw.