Senate Acquits Trump In 2nd Impeachment Trial; Seven GOP Senators Side With Dems And Vote ‘Guilty’
The Senate has voted to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial on allegations of “inciting an insurrection” pushed forward by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives related to the January 6 chaos in Capitol Hill.
The upper chamber of Congress had 57 senators voting to acquit the former Republican President, and 43 for convicting him. The Senate requires at least two-thirds of the Senate or 67 votes to convict former President Trump of the charges.
All Democrats voted for his conviction while most Republicans voted to acquit him, apart from seven GOP senators who sided with Democrats during the vote — Senators Richard Burr (North Carolina), Bill Cassidy (Louisiana), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Ben Sasse (Nebraska), Mitt Romney (Utah), and Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania).
Senators Cassidy and Burr were called out by their respective state Republican Party after their ‘guilty’ vote on Trump’s impeachment trial. The Louisiana senator was censured by the Louisiana Republican Party’s executive committee, while the pro-conviction vote of the senator from North Carolina was seen by the state’s GOP as “disappointing.”
OFFICIAL: The LAGOP Executive Committee Unanimously Votes to Censure Senator Bill Cassidyhttps://t.co/NMBkY30WNt
— Republican Party of Louisiana (@LAGOP) February 13, 2021
Wrong vote, Sen. Burr. I am running to replace Richard Burr because North Carolina needs a true conservative champion as their next senator. Join me → https://t.co/R4vNpN0Njx pic.twitter.com/rw3nMSleIY
— Mark Walker (@RepMarkWalker) February 13, 2021
Trump camp hits Democratic hypocrisy
An attorney for former President Trump, Michael van der Veen, argued during the Senate trial that the former president’s language is protected by the Constitution ’s First Amendment.
“There is no doubt Mr. Trump engaged in constitutionally protected speech that the House has improperly characterized as incitement of insurrection,” van der Veen said as he argued Trump‘s side in the Senate.
“Since he uttered not a single word encouraging violence, this action can only be seen as an effort to censor disfavored political speech and discriminate against a disapproved viewpoint.”
van der Veen then slammed Democrats for their own actions which he said were ‘closer’ to the definition of inciting violence — including Vice President Kamala Harris who he said “refused to tell their violent supporters to stand down” during the riots last summer.
“She later said that those folks were not going to let up, and that they should not,” van der Veen added. “All of this was far closer to what the actual definition of incitement [than] anything that President Trump has ever said or done, never mind what he said on the 6th. It’s a hypocrisy that the House managers have laid at the feet of this chamber.”
McConnell rips Trump after ‘not guilty’ vote
Meanwhile, Senator Mitch McConnell lashed at the former President saying despite the acquittal, and his vote against convicting Trump, he was still ‘practically and morally responsible’ for what happened in Capitol Hill.
Sen. Mitch McConnell said Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for provoking the Capitol riot, after voting to acquit him.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 13, 2021
“American citizens attacked their own government; they used terrorism to try and stop a specific piece of domestic business they did not like. Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House; they built a gallows and chanted about murdering the vice president. They did this because they’d been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth, because he was angry he lost an election,” McConnell said on the Senate floor after voting to acquit Trump.
“Former President Trump’s actions [preceding] the riot were a disgraceful — disgraceful — dereliction of duty,” he added, noting that “there is no question” Trump remains “practically and morally responsible” for the chaos.
Nonetheless, McConell of Kentucky acknowledged that the impeachment process no longer applies to presidents who have left office.
“If president Trump were still in office, I would have carefully considered whether the House managers proved their specific charge,” McConnell added. “We have no power to convict and disqualify a former office holder who is now a private citizen.”
Pelosi slams Senate Republicans for vote
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi charged Senate Republicans as ‘cowards’ after the acquittal of former president Trump. She said GOP lawmakers were more concerned about their ‘political survival.’
“What we saw in the Senate was a cowardly group of Republicans who apparently have no options, because they were afraid to defend their job, respect the institution in which they serve,” Pelosi, a fierce critic of Trump, said after the Senate majority said Trump was ‘not guilty’ of the charges brought by the Democrat-held House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced the senators who made Donald Trump's acquittal possible as a ‘cowardly group of Republicans’ and blamed McConnell for not allowing the House to deliver the impeachment charge to the Senate while Trump was still in the White House pic.twitter.com/cVu6gtT8uL
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 14, 2021
President Joe Biden argued that although his predecessor was not charged of ‘inciting insurrection’ in the Senate trial, the case presented by the House impeachment managers were proof of the former president’s guilt.
“While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute,” the Democratic president said in a statement.
“Even those opposed to the conviction … believe Donald Trump was guilty of a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and ‘practically and morally responsible for provoking’ the violence unleashed on the Capitol,” Biden added.
Trump calls the trial ‘another witch hunt’
Reacting to his acquittal, former President Trump thanked his defense team, along with his supporters as he hinted about his future political plans.
“I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth,” the former Republican president said. “My deepest thanks as well to all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country.”
“This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago,” he added.
The former president also renewed his earlier commitment to ‘be back in some form’ — his latest remark on the matter following his departure as President.
“Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun,” he said. “In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!” Trump said.
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