WASHINGTON — The United States Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection, ending the fourth impeachment trial in U.S. history and the second for Trump.
Seven Republican senators joined the Democrats in voting to convict Trump allegedly inciting the riot at the Capitol, which left five people dead after a mob of pro-Trump supporters tried to disrupt the electoral vote count formalizing Joe Biden’s 2020 Election win.
Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania all voted guilty.
The The final vote was 57 to 43, 10 short of the 67 votes needed to secure a conviction but is by far the most bipartisan support for conviction in impeachment history.
Moments after the decision was made, the former President released a statement and thanked his lawyers his legal team and thanked the senators and other members of Congress “who stood proudly for the Constitution.”
“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,” Trump said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the decision the most bipartisan vote in any impeachment trial and called out Republicans for choosing Trump over their own country.
“This trial was about choosing country over Donald Trump, and 43 Republican members chose Trump. They chose Trump. It should be a weight on their conscience today, and it shall be a weight on their conscience in the future,” he said in a speech on the Senate floor.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the Republicans who voted to acquit Trump “a cowardly group of Republicans” who “were afraid to defend their job, respect the institution in which they serve.”
Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin, D-Md., gave closing arguments and urged the Senators to think of the future, not the present.
Senators, this trial, in the final analysis, is not about Donald Trump. The country and the world know who Donald Trump is. This trial is about who we are, who we are,” Raskin said.
The decision by the Senate means they cannot bar Trump from running for office again in 2024 or any federal office.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a scathing speech from the floor of the Senate, condemning Trump as “practically and morally responsible” for the Capitol insurrection, despite voting to acquit the former President.
“There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president,” McConnell said. “The leader of the free world cannot spend weeks thundering that shadowy forces are stealing our country and then feign surprise when people believe him and do reckless things.”
McConnell’s statement comes as the Republican Party is divided between fully embracing Trump or distancing themselves from the stained former President of the United States.