The Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial Saturday, voting that Trump was not guilty of inciting the deadly January 6 riot at the US Capitol, but the verdict amounted to a bipartisan rebuke of the former President with seven Republicans voting he was guilty.
The final vote was 57 guilty to 43 not guilty, short of the 67 guilty votes needed to convict.
But the Republican senators who voted against Trump amounted to a number higher than even Trump’s legal team had expected, marking a stark departure from the first impeachment trial where only one Republican, Mitt Romney of Utah, found Trump guilty.
This time, Republicans Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska, Romney, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania voted to convict Trump on Saturday.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was Burr, the former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman who led the Senate’s Russia investigation, after he voted earlier in the week that the trial was unconstitutional.
Both Burr and Toomey are retiring from the Senate at the end of 2022 and will not face voters again.
Burr said that while he believed the trial was unconstitutional, he decided to put that aside after the Senate voted Tuesday that the trial was constitutional and should proceed.
“As I said on January 6th, the President bears responsibility for these tragic events. 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,” Burr said in a statement.
But enough of Burr’s colleagues sided with the constitutionality argument in their votes to acquit.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a blistering criticism of Trump’s actions surrounding the January 6 riots on the Senate floor after the vote, but McConnell said he voted to acquit because he did not believe convicting an ex-president was constitutional.
“The Senate’s decision today does not condone anything that happened on or before that terrible day,” McConnell said.
“It simply shows that senators did what the former President failed to do. We put our constitutional duty first.”
Read more at: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/13/politics/senate-impeachment-trial-day-5-vote/index.html