Senate fails to achieve two-thirds majority to nail him
Ex-President thanks supporters, complaints about ‘witch-hunt’
In an expected voting outcome on Saturday, immediate Past United States President Donald Trump has been acquitted by the US Senate in his second impeachment trial for his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
Political commentators believe this result underscores the sway America’s 45th president still holds over the Republican party even after leaving office.
After just five days of debate in the chamber that was the scene of last month’s invasion, a divided Senate fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority required to convict high crimes and misdemeanours.
A conviction would have allowed the Senate to vote to disqualify him from holding future office.
Seven Republicans joined every Democrat to declare Trump guilty on the charge of “incitement of insurrection” after his months-long quest to overturn his defeat by Joe Biden and its deadly conclusion on 6 January, when Congress met to formalize the election results.
The 57-43 vote was most bipartisan support for conviction ever in a presidential impeachment trial.
It was always unlikely that 17 Republican senators would jump ship and join Democrats to impeach Trump
Indeed, this outcome was never in doubt and aptly reflected both the still raw anger of Senators over Trump’s conduct as his supporters stormed the Capitol last month and the vice-like grip the defeated president still holds over his Republican party.
Among the Republicans willing to defy him were 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.
The swift conclusion of the Senate trial, only the fourth presidential impeachment in American history – and Trump’s second in just over a year – capped one of the most tumultuous chapters in the nation’s political history.
Still shaken by the deadly riot that threatened America’s commitment to a peaceful transfer of power, senators of both parties were eager to turn the page.
Trump’s acquittal came after grave warnings from the nine Democratic House managers, serving as prosecutors that Trump continued to pose a threat to the nation and democracy itself.
“If this is not a high crime and misdemeanour against the United States of America then nothing is,” congressman Jaime Raskin, the lead manager, pleaded with senators in the final moments before they rendered their judgments as jurors and witnesses. “President Trump must be convicted, for the safety and democracy of our people.” – The Guardian