US Senate votes to acquit Donald Trump again, but the putrid stench of 6/1 terrorism incitement sways seven Republicans

US Senate votes to acquit Donald Trump again, but the putrid stench of 6/1 terrorism incitement sways seven Republicans
US President Donald Trump. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool / Getty Images)

The US Senate closed Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial with a verdict of not guilty after the vote came up short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict. Final tally: 57 for and 43 against. Seven Republican Senators voted ‘guilty’, making it the most bipartisan presidential impeachment trial in the US history.

The US Senate concluded the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump on Saturday 13 February as Republicans overwhelmingly voted that the former president was “not guilty” of incitement to insurrection.

The House impeachment managers fought a good fight and the Trump defence team gave a good bluster and Trumpian style high dudgeon, going back and forth over ‘words matter’ and that “political rhetoric” was just that. The writing was however on the wall, Republicans were not going to vote against the former president.

Addressing the Senate directly after the trial result, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer called the result un-American:

“This was about choosing country over Donald Trump and 43 republican members chose Trump. It should be a weight on their conscience today…. I salute those republicans who did the right thing.”

Schumer added that while they had failed to stop Trump from running for office in the future, he hoped the American people would ensure that if Trump stands for public office again “that he will meet the unambiguous rejection by the American people”.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell followed Schumer with what could best be called an outright condemnation of Trump’s actions and words on January 6 – and before. The GOP leader, in an address to the Senate that also made mention of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, made it clear that when it came to the storming of the national Capitol on January 6, that “Trump is morally and practically responsible…”

McConnell said: 

“… Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor, they tried to hunt down the speaker of the house…”

He added: “They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on earth… A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name… carrying his flags and screaming their loyalty to him. It was obvious that only president Trump could end this.”

But the Republican leader had voted ‘not guilty’. McConnell’s message was that the former president was not guilty constitutionally, because: 

“Impeachment and conviction is a narrow tool for a narrow conviction… exists to secure the state against gross official misconduct… If president Trump was still in office, I would have carefully considered whether the House managers proved their specific charge… but in this case the question is moot because Trump is constitutionally not eligible for conviction.”

Despite the fact that hundreds of legal, Constitutional scholars and experts said otherwise, and besides the fact that on Tuesday 9 February, proceedings started with a vote on whether the trial was constitutional or not. A no vote, would have meant no trial. Suffice to say that there was a yes vote as the trial has just concluded, but McConnell has drawn his own line in the sand. He did however add that Trump was still liable, as a private citizen, for everything he had done in office.

Donald Trump’s lawyers had throughout the trial argued that Trump had the right to free speech under the first amendment and had done nothing wrong and that the mob had acted of their own accord. Within minutes of the result, Trump released a statement in which he thanked his legal team and said:

“It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law… I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law…”

Schumer though, left the Senate and the country with a sombre warning when he finished his comments on the trial by saying about Trump:

“Heed his words, ‘remember that day forever’, but not for the reasons the former president intended. … remember the screams of the bloodied officer… his body trapped in the breach… remember the three capitol police officers who lost their lives… remember how close our democracy came to ruin, my fellow Americans, remember that day January 6, forever.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Trump encourage his supporters to stormed the Capital, Hitler-style, where serious crimes were committed. Yet Rep senators did not see it like that. What a parallel with Jacob Zuma, facing serious crimes, yet many ANC leaders and supporters still support him. So to many politicians, committing a crime is an attribute. What a sick society, both in the US and in SA!

    • Rod H MacLeod says:

      The US is not a sick society. The headline here misrepresents what happened. Trump was not strictly speaking acquitted. There simply were not enough Republican Senators with a backbone to vote for impeachment. The dishonest little toads are all hedging their bets for 2024/5. The fact is the Senate voted 57 for impeachment and 43 against. He was not acquitted in my books – he simply avoided being impeached because there weren’t another 9 Republicans with a spine and/or a conscience.

      • Coen Gous says:

        Macleod, appreciated what you’re say. Sick, dishonest, lack of backbone/conscience, whatever. The result remains the same. People died, injured, traumatised, and not just those at the Capital on that fateful day that destroyed world-wide opinion of the US. This man should have been impeached, he is a disgrace, like Zuma. 43 so-called senators, out of 100, representing states, voted against it. And roughly 43% of all voters in the US agree with them. They are not deserving to be called senators, or leaders of any kind, like so many in South Africa.

  • Memphis Belle says:

    The moment Democrats realised Pelosi was going to be called as a witness they turned tail and ran away as fast as they could. This begs the question what did Pelosi know the riot and when did she know it?

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    Three days prior to the vote, I said that McConnell would NOT vote to impeach ! The so-called ‘experts’ who were ‘impressed’ by his words/speech did not take into account his lifelong white supremacist character. Its actions and not words that count ! Being married to a women of colour is a clever ploy to fool everyone! The intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy of this slimy character was on full display to the world yesterday, at voting time. At least the other gutless Trump sycophants who failed to convict him did not bother to deploy ‘excuses’ for not convicting him. Maybe they should at least be ‘credited’ for their unashamed immorality ? No doubt that is what happens when you become part of a cult !

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