For a second time, the US Senate, Saturday, acquitted former President Donald Trump after a historic impeachment trial where House managers painted him as a lingering threat after his supporters rioted at the Capitol, an argument that failed to convince enough Senate Republicans to convict.
A 57-43 majority of the Senate voted to convict Trump, but fell short of 67 votes, the two-thirds majority needed to convict him. Seven Republicans joined the 50 lawmakers who caucus with Democrats.
Trump was also acquitted a year ago in his first trial over his dealings with Ukraine, when a majority opposed conviction and only one Republican joined Democrats voting to convict.
The trial was historic because Trump was the first president impeached twice and the first to be tried after leaving office. Trump was only the third president tried in the Senate – all were acquitted.
But the Senate vote against Trump was the most bipartisan vote for conviction of a president in history – the others faced votes entirely from the opposition party.
The latest article of impeachment charged Trump with inciting the insurrection Jan. 6 at the Capitol, which left five dead including a police officer and a woman shot by police.
Rioters rampaged through the building, interrupting the Electoral College vote count and searching for Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
House managers who prosecuted the case argued Trump should be convicted and disqualified from holding future office to prevent the threat of more violence.
The managers described how Trump spent months challenging the election results before encouraging his supporters the day of the riot to “fight” and “show strength” in protecting the count of Electoral College votes at the Capitol.
But Trump’s lawyers and most Senate Republicans argued that he couldn’t be held responsible for the mob’s violence. His defenders called the attack repugnant and said the rioters must be brought to justice.
But Trump’s defenders said he called for a “peaceful” protest as he urged supporters to “fight” for the country.
The seven Republicans who voted guilty were Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Trump Thanks all
Former President Donald Trump thanked Republican lawmakers Saturday in statement after the Senate voted to acquit him in his second impeachment trial, saying they “stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country.”
Trump also attacked Democrats, saying, “It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance.” (USA Today)