The impeachment managers of ex-President Donald Trump have failed to convince Republican senators that the former head of state is guilty of inciting a riot that took place within the walls of Congress on January 6, into which Trump supporters stormed.
57 Senators, including seven Republicans, voted to indict Trump on Saturday, while 43 legislators voted against. To confirm the conviction, it was required that the impeachment of the ex-president was supported by all Democrats, two independent senators and at least 17 Republicans.
Observers were finally convinced that two-thirds of the Senate was unlikely to support the Democrats’ point of view on Saturday afternoon, when Senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that he would vote against impeachment.
Former US President Donald Trump said Saturday that the Senate impeachment trial was yet another stage in “the greatest witch hunt in our nation’s history.” Trump made the comment, Reuters notes, after the Senate acquitted him for the second time in 12 months on an impeachment case.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement on the Senate vote on Saturday night.
“Today’s overwhelming majority of the two parties to convict Donald Trump is a testament to the courage of the US Senate,” Pelosi said. – I salute the Republican senators who voted conscientiously for our country. The refusal of other Senate Republicans to hold Trump accountable for fomenting violent insurgency to hold on to power will remain one of the darkest days and most dishonorable acts in our country’s history. ”
Only seven Republican senators supported the indictment against Trump. Senators Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Ben Sasse, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Patt Toomey and Susan Collins have sided with the Democrats, according to Reuters.
According to Reuters, Burr, Romney, Collins and Murkowski are longtime opponents of Donald Trump in the Republican Party.
Bill Cassidy changed his point of view on Trump’s actions just this week, having previously voted in support of the former president. The senator explained that the arguments presented by the impeachment managers convinced him of Trump’s guilt.
Senator Pat Toomey announced in October that he was no longer going to be re-elected, and after the events of January 6, called on Trump to step down.
The five-day impeachment process ended on Saturday in a chaotic atmosphere: in the morning, most senators supported the proposal of one of the impeachment managers, Jamie Ruskin, to summon witnesses to the process to testify against Trump.
However, immediately after the break in the work of the Senate, the situation changed dramatically: after Trump’s team of lawyers announced their intention to call a number of leading Democratic politicians to testify, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, the parties of the prosecution and defense agreed on canceling the call of witnesses. Thus, the process could drag on for several weeks, which would exacerbate divisions in society and prevent the Joe Biden administration from realizing the priority tasks of confirming the cabinet and restoring the economy.
Immediately after lunch, the impeachment managers and defenders of the ex-president turned to closing arguments.
The impeachment managers have called on Senators to vote to charge Trump with incitement to the riot that killed five people. Trump’s lawyers, who spoke after the Democrats, said that the trial in the Senate should not have been held at all, since the impeachment of the president, who had already resigned from office, was contrary to the Constitution. In addition, lawyers said Trump’s statements at the rally that preceded the riots were protected by every American’s constitutional right to freedom of expression.
Democrats rejected these arguments, including the claim that the former president was not given due process.
According to Reuters, chaos reigned in the Senate Hall during and after the vote. Many senators were in disarray, and a verbal skirmish erupted between Ron Johnson and Mitt Romney.