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Impeach Trump sticker in Washington. Photo credit: Jon Tyson
Washington

Impeachment: Donald Trump acquitted in the Senate

The United States Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump of impeachment charges. Fifty-seven senators voted to convict, while forty-three voted to acquit, but conviction would have required a two-thirds majority, or sixty-seven votes.

Published: February 14, 2021, 9:28 am

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    The attempt by the Democrats to condemn the former US President accused of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on 6 January has failed for the second time, and former US President Donald Trump was acquitted in the impeachment process, found not guilty of instigating an insurrection for the assault of his supporters on the Capitol on January 6.

    In fact, only seven Republicans had joined the Democrats by voting in favor of impeaching the tycoon, namely Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey. The sentence required a two-thirds majority of the Senate (made up of 100 seats) and therefore the vote of 17 Republicans. Trump’s impeachment trial began on January 13.

    The acquittal leaves Trump with an option to run in 2024, although Democrats have hinted that they may try to sabotage his candidacy by calling for the 14th Amendment. The Trump team celebrated nevertheless. Trump thanked his counsel and then he tore into the Democrats.

    “It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree. I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.

    “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,” Trump noted in his statement.

    The Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer unsurprisingly called the vote “anti-American” and reiterated that the former US President “inspired, directed and pushed a crowd to violently prevent the peaceful transfer of power, subvert the will of the people and illegally maintain power”. He added that Trump had “betrayed” his country, the Constitution, and his oath.

    Surprisingly no witnesses were called in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, even though the Senate had voted against it on Saturday morning. Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors then reached an unexpected deal in the afternoon. The Senate voted 55-45 to extend the trial by summoning witnesses to testify, with five Republicans joining the Democrats.

    Trump’s defence attorney, Michael van der Veen, said during the debate in the concluding argument at the trial in the Senate: “From start to finish, this impeachment is a political revenge.” The Adnkronos agency reported that Van der Veen pointed out that the case had no reference to laws, the constitution or the First Amendment.

    The glorification of civil revolt by journalists and politicians “created the climate for what happened on January 6,” an assault carried out by “left and right”, added van der Veen, accusing the impeachment managers of having “fabricated” the evidence, “inadmissible in any court” and of having committed “fraud”.

    Some 45 Republican senators voted against the impeachment process as unconstitutional in a vote triggered by Sen. Rand Paul last month, meaning two of the senators – Cassidy and Burr – voted to convict Trump despite already voting that the process itself was unconstitutional.

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