The United States Senate voted on Saturday to acquit Donald J. Trump in his second impeachment trial, as Republicans in a Senate still bruised from the most violent attack on the Capitol in two centuries banded together to reject the charge he incited the Jan. 6 attack, New York Times reports.
Voting 57-43, the Senate fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds necessary for conviction. Seven Republicans voted to find the former president guilty of “incitement of insurrection,” with all 50 Democrats, the most bipartisan support for conviction in any of the four presidential impeachments in U.S. history.
That outcome reflected the widespread outrage about Mr. Trump’s conduct among senators who experienced the violence of the attack firsthand, fleeing for safety as marauders overwhelmed the Capitol Police and swarmed the Capitol during the attack. It came after Democrats built a case that the former president had undertaken a monthslong effort to overturn the election, and then provoked the assault on the Capitol in a last-ditch attempt to cling to power.
“If that is not ground for conviction, if that is not a high crime and misdemeanour against the Republic and the United States of America, then nothing is,” Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead manager, pleaded with senators before the vote. “President Trump must be convicted for the safety and democracy of our people.”
Minutes after the verdict was announced, Mr. Trump sent out a statement thanking his legal team and decrying, as he did for most of his presidency, the “witch hunt” he says is being waged upon him by his enemies.
“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, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree,” he wrote, echoing the final arguments of his lawyers in the Senate on Saturday.
“I always have, and always will be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honourably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.”