The US Senate acquits former President Donald Trump of inciting the uprising on the Capitol. Even before the end of the vote in his lawsuit, it became clear that there was insufficient support for the former president’s conviction.
Ultimately, on Saturday, 53 senators voted in favor of his conviction and 43 against, while a two-thirds majority was required.
Although Trump is no longer president, impeachment has played an important symbolic role, especially for the Democrats.
In addition, the political trial also had a practical objective: if Trump is impeached, it can also decide by a simple majority that he should not be a future presidential candidate. Now that Trump has been acquitted, that is still an option, although he has no concrete plans to do so.
Trump is the first president with two impeachment measures
Trump was accused of instigating an uprising among his supporters that culminated in storming the Parliament building in Washington, DC, the Capitol. In addition, five people were killed.
His lawyers described the trial as “political revenge” and “unconstitutional.” The first witnesses were still being heard, but a deal was decided between the plaintiffs and the defense.
Trump is the first US president in history to be indicted for the second time in impeachment. The previous trial followed a major Russian investigation by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
The trial passed with unprecedented speed and no witnesses
The historic second impeachment trial of Trump began last Tuesday and was unprecedentedly swift.
Trump’s first trial lasted 21 days and also ended with acquittal. Also this time, it was clear from the start that there was not enough support among the Republican senators to convict their party member Trump.
The trial of Trump, who did not witness himself, came after his supporters stormed the parliament building. He was accused of inciting his supporters. Trump insisted after his election defeat that he lost to Democrat Joe Biden through fraud.
Five people were killed when protesters stormed the Capitol as the election results there were approved.
Lawyers: Trump has not invited anyone to do anything
The former president’s lawyers argued that Trump had not invited anyone to do anything criminal. They felt that their client could not be held responsible for the behavior of a “small group of criminals”.
Moreover, according to attorneys, the Senate had no authority to prosecute a former president.
Many Republicans supported the latter argument. A proposal to declare the process unconstitutional was endorsed by 45 of Trump’s 50 senators last month. This means that the two-thirds majority required to convict the former president seemed out of reach even before the trial began.
Although the Republicans also responded with indignation to the deadly riots, support for Trump’s trial came mainly from the Democratic camp.
It was unclear that the trial against Trump would reach its climax on Saturday. Then prosecutors announced that they wanted Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Butler to be called as a witness. It is reported that she heard from the leader of the Republican faction in the House, Kevin McCarthy, that Trump refused to help Congress during the storm.