With the Republican firewall, the US Senate acquitted Trump of inciting a deadly uprising in the Capitol

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© Reuters. The US Capitol on the third day of President Trump’s impeachment trial in Washington, USA

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By Richard Cowan, David Morgan, and Makini Brice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate acquitted Donald Trump on Saturday for inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol last month and saved him from conviction in his second impeachment in a year, despite his role largely condemned in triggering the deadly siege.

The Senate voted 57 to 43 for the condemnation of the former president, although the required two-thirds majority was not achieved. He accused the riot of killing five people, forced lawmakers to flee, and put his own vice president in danger while overseeing certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

GRAPHIC: Senate acquits Trump – https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-TRUMP/IMPEACHMENT/qzjpqgegjpx/index.html

The Republican Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell, who had voted “not guilty” in the trial, commented on Trump after the verdict.

“There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” he said. “The people who stormed this building believed they were responding to the wishes and orders of their president.”

President Joe Biden said that while the vote did not result in a conviction, the contents of the indictment had not been contested and a record number of Republicans voted in favor of Trump.

“This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile,” Biden said in a statement. “That it must always be defended. That we must always be vigilant. That violence and extremism have no place in America. And that each of us as Americans, and especially as leaders, has the duty and responsibility to defend and defeat the truth. ” the lies. “

In the vote, seven of the Senate’s 50 Republicans joined the Chamber’s united Democrats in favor of condemnation after a week-long trial in the same building that was raided by Trump’s supporters after hearing him make an incendiary speech on Jan. 6.

During the trial, the senators watched a graphic video of the attack, including scenes of a police officer screaming in pain as he was pushed into a door, the mob singing “Hang Mike Pence” as he chased the vice president, and Legislators who had near misses with rioters as security guards, the elected officials rushed to hide for their own safety.

Trump left office on January 20, so the impeachment could not be used to separate him from power. But the Democrats had hoped to obtain a conviction to hold him responsible for the siege and had set the stage for a vote to prevent him from serving in public office again.

“The bottom line is that we have won a large majority in the Senate of our case,” said Representative Jamie Raskin, the leading Democratic prosecutor in the House of Representatives.

House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said Republicans’ refusal to hold Trump accountable will be remembered “as one of the darkest days and most dishonorable acts in our nation’s history.”

The swift end to the process allows Biden to advance his economy-boosting agenda with a $ 1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill and further affirmation from his cabinet members.

However, divisions on Capitol Hill and across the country over its controversial predecessor persist.

“This was another phase of the largest witch hunt in our country’s history,” Trump said in a statement following his acquittal.

The 74-year-old Trump continues to hold his party with a right-wing populist appeal and the message “America First”. The businessman who has become a politician has considered becoming president again in 2024.

Republicans rescued Trump on February 5, 2020 and voted in his first impeachment trial when only one Senator from their ranks – Mitt Romney – voted to convict and remove him from office.

Romney, along with Republicans Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Ben Sasse, Pat Toomey and Lisa Murkowski, voted for the conviction on Saturday.

“His measures to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power – the hallmark of our constitution and our American democracy – were abuse of power and cause for conviction,” said Collins after the vote.

DEEPLY DIVIDED NATION

The acquittal came against the backdrop of gaping political, racial, socio-economic, and regional divisions in the pandemic-weary United States. The process sparked more partisan warfare, even though Biden had called for unity.

Seventy-one percent of American adults, including nearly half of all Republicans, believe Trump was at least partially responsible for starting the Capitol attack, but only about half of the country believed he was for incitement to insurrection, according to an Ipsos poll conducted should be condemned for Reuters.

Trump is only the third President ever to be indicted by the House of Representatives – a move that is akin to a criminal charge – as well as the first to be tried twice and the first to face impeachment after leaving office. But the Senate has never convicted an accused president.

The Democrats pushed for impeachment, knowing it could overshadow the critical first few weeks of Biden’s presidency.

The House approved the only impeachment trial against Trump on Jan. 13, with 10 Republicans joining the Chamber’s Democratic majority. That vote came a week after the pro-Trump mob stormed the neoclassical-domed Capitol, disrupted formal Congressional attestation of Biden’s victory, clashed with overwhelmed police, and invaded the sacred chambers of the House and Senate.

“FIGHT LIKE HELL”

Shortly before the rampage, Trump urged his supporters to march on the Capitol, reiterating his false claims that his election was stolen by widespread election fraud, telling them, “If you don’t fight like hell, you won’t go. ” to have one more country. “

During the trial, nine House lawmakers, acting as trial managers or prosecutors, urged Senators to convict Trump in order to hold him accountable for a crime against American democracy and to prevent it from happening again in the future. They said Trump called the mob to Washington, ordered the crowd to march, and then did nothing to stop the violence that followed.

The defenders accused the Democrats of not only trying to silence Trump as a political opponent, who they feared would face in the future, but also of trying to criminalize political speeches that they disapproved of.

The words Trump used were no different from those regularly used by Democrats.

Trump’s acquittal does not end the possibility of other Congressional action against him, such as a motion of no confidence, but Pelosi said such action would “off the hook” Republicans who voted against the conviction.

McConnell said Trump was now a private individual and suggested that he could still be prosecuted for his actions. “He didn’t get away with anything. Yes,” said McConnell.

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