Former President Donald Trump was acquitted this Saturday by the Senate after Democrats failed to convince enough Republicans to convict the former president on the charge of “incitement to insurrection” for the riots during the seizure of the Capitol.
The result makes him the first and so far only president to be charged and acquitted twice for impeachment.
In a 57-43 vote, the Senate found Trump guilty of insurrection, but the number did not reach the majority necessary to convict the former president.
The seven Republican senators who joined Democrats in finding Trump guilty included 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 from Pennsylvania.
The acquittal leaves the door open for another run for the White House in 2024. Senators, however, hinted that they may still try to remove him from office in a separate 14th Amendment measure.
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Although he was not present at any of the stages of the trial, Trump praised the victory and thanked his followers after his acquittal.
“This has been another phase of the greatest witch hunt in our country’s history,” Trump said. “No president has been through anything like this, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the nearly 75 million people, the highest number for a sitting president who voted for us a few months ago.”
The second impeachment trial lasted five days. The first, which took place last year, lasted 21 days after Democrats charged him with alleged foreign interference in the elections.
Over the course of two days, trial managers accused Trump of inciting insurrection and summoning his supporters to Washington on January 6, sparking the riots and the assault on the Capitol.
Then Trump’s legal team denounced the process as an unconstitutional “sham impeachment” against a private citizen, fueled by Democrats’ “hatred” of Trump and a desire to silence a political opponent. They also argued that the former president’s political speech is protected by the First Amendment.
Their arguments ultimately proved sufficiently persuasive, and Trump was acquitted late Saturday afternoon.