Donald Trump Acquitted In Second Impeachment Trial
The U.S. Senate has acquitted former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial on Saturday (Feb.13), voting that Trump was not guilty of inciting the deadly January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. While majority of senators voted to convict the 45th President (57 to 43), it was still short of the 67 guilty votes needed to convict. The number of Republican senators who voted against Trump ended up higher than anticipated, marking a huge difference from the first impeachment trial last year when only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, found Trump guilty.
Despite the acquittal, lead House Impeachment Manager Jamie Raskin, D-Md., praised Congress and the House managers who worked with him. Raskin said,
"We have a clear and convincing majority of members of Congress that the president actually incited violent insurrection against the union and against the Congress.-It was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment in the history of the country."
The second Impeachment trial started last Tuesday (Feb.9) with opening arguments and evidence presented from both sides in favor and against the President's conviction. House impeachment managers argued that the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was Trump's final attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. They claimed that Donald Trump enticed his supporters to fight back and played the role of an instigator. Democratic House leaders had strong presentations showing the violence and mayhem of the riot.
During the trial, Trump's lawyers were often combative in their defense, however, they refrained from calling the election results fraudulent nor did they defend the events of the capitol riot. They focused their argument on claiming that Trump's words did not incite violence, that political speech must be protected and that the Senate cannot convict a private citizen under the Constitution.
Donald Trump released a statement on Saturday afternoon (Feb.13) shortly after the impeachment results came in, referencing the trial as a "witch hunt". He wrote,
"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."
"Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. 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!"
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