President Trump Saturday was acquitted on an impeachment charge of inciting a riot Jan. 6 on Capitol Hill
The vote was 57-43 to convict, ten votes short of the 67 needed.
Seven GOP senators joined with all Democrats in finding Trump guilty: Sens. 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 facts are clear,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). “ The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors. Therefore, I have voted to convict.”
Trump praised the victory but expressed bitterness at the process.
“My deepest thanks as well to all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country,” Trump said in a statement,
“This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country,” Trump said. “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.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose vote was in question until Saturday, voted to acquit. But he nevertheless condemned the former president.
“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 acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.”
Trump is now free to try to run again, although Democrats have suggested they will try other ways of prevent it. It is not at all clear that they will proceed, however.
Senate Majority LeaderChuck Schumer reserved his anger for Republicans.
“Just look at what Republicans have been forced to defend,” he said. “Look at what Republicans have chosen to forgive.”
After an aborted move to call witnesses, Trump’s lawyers and the House impeachment managers gave their final arguments.
Trump’s attorneys said the attack was premeditated – by the attackers.
“It proves that his words are not what set this into motion,” Trump defense attorney Michael van der Veer said.
The trial lasted only five days.
Democrats are furious that Trump will remain in political arena.
“We have a lot of other things to do. I think the worry is that the risk of incitement doesn’t go away, that the president is still going to control the sentiments of a big group of people,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., according to Politico. “As much as I would love to cast him in the waste bin, he is going to continue to influence American politics and influence a lot of his most rabid followers.”
But some believe it is time to move on from going after him, and further actions may be unlikely. “I don’t think people are interested in looking backwards at Trump,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow D-Mich.