Former President Trump has been acquitted in the second impeachment case against him. 57 Senators find him guilty of “inciting an insurrection.” 43 Senators believe he is innocent. This means that there are too few for a conviction, which requires two-thirds of the Senate.
Eventually seven Republicans voted guilty. The rest of the vote was through party lines. All Democrats voted guilty, and all remaining Republicans innocent. From the start of this impeachment it was clear that there were no 17 Republicans who wanted to condemn Trump, the minimum needed to reach a two-thirds majority.
Earlier in the day, the Republican leader Mitch McConnell had e-mailed all his colleagues saying he would vote against conviction. That was an important signal that the Republicans had not changed their minds massively.
Both sides reiterated their views in their closing plea. The Democratic Prosecutors reiterated that, according to them, there is a clear link between the tweets and words of Donald Trump in the run-up to the storming. They warn that it must be prevented from happening again.
They point out that Trump spent months talking about electoral fraud, with no evidence of that. He then called his supporters to come to Washington on that day, and then to come to Congress to “fight hard.” They also reproach Trump for doing nothing for a long time to stop the storming.
“ Political revenge action “
Trump‘s defense says there’s no connection between Trump‘s words and the storming. According to Trump’s lawyer Michael van der Veen, Trump‘s supporters came to Washington with peaceful intentions. The storming was already planned by “radicals from left and right”, said Van der Veen. And that’s why Trump can‘t be responsible for that. The FBI has found no evidence of left-wing involvement. Several party members also contradict this.
In addition, Trump’s defense insists that it is constitutionally impossible to convict Trump because he is no longer president. “It is time to bring this unconstitutional, political theatre to an end,” says Van der Veen. According to Trump‘s team, the impeachment is nothing less than a “political revenge.” They also claim that the Democrats have manipulated evidence.
Trump mentions in a statement the trial against him in the Senate “another stage in the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”
“ It’s a sad comment on our time when a political party in America gets a free pass to belittle the rule of law, slander law enforcement officers, cheer mobs, exonerate riots, and turn justice into an instrument of political revenge,” said Trump.