WASHINGTON: US Senate voted on Saturday and acquitted former President Donald Trump, concluding his second impeachment trial which is the shortest one in the US history.
Seven Republican senators joined all the Democrats to vote “guilty,” failing to reach two-thirds majority required for Trump conviction on the article of impeachment for inciting insurrection leading to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The 57-43 vote in the currently evenly split Senate yielded the most bipartisan margin in favor of impeachment conviction in the US history.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer lamented Trump’s acquittal, calling the Senate vote “un-American” and insulting to people who love the country.
“The former President inspired, directed, and propelled a mob to violently prevent the peaceful transfer of power, subvert the will of the people, and illegally keep that President in power,” said Schumer moments after the upper chamber voted to acquit Trump.
Trump declared victory after surviving the impeachment trial for a second time, saying that his political movement has “only just begun.”
“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,” the former president said in a statement.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted to acquit Trump but sharply criticized the former president on Saturday for inciting the Capitol riot.
In a speech on the Senate floor shortly after the vote, McConnell said the rioters had been “fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth. Because he was angry he’d lost an election. Former President Trump’s actions that preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
“There’s no question – none – that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President,” the top Senate republican added.
Trump was impeached on Jan. 13 by the Democrat-led House on one article of inciting insurrection leading to the Capitol riot which interrupted Congress’ electoral vote count of Biden’s victory. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died in the riot.
Trump is the first ever US president to have been impeached and tried twice.