News - Politics & Policy - February 14, 2021

Impeachment trial: U.S. Senate opts to defend party; acquits Trump

50 Democrats, 7 Republicans failed to secure two-thirds vote to secure conviction

The United States Senators on Saturday opted to defend party over national interest in a historic bipartisan vote to acquit immediate past President, Donald Trump, over alleged incitement of insurrection in the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol in Washington.
At the end of the five-days impeachment trial process, despite overwhelming evidence by the Democrats to show Mr Trump’s guilt, the Republicans stuck to their positions defending their man that he did not commit any offence that breached the constitution.
The lawmakers were to answer the question whether former President Trump was guilty of the allegation that he sided attempts by his supporters to violently derail the peaceful transfer of power on January 6, 2021 through the attack on the Capitol and endangering the lives of hundreds of lawmakers and his deputy.
At the end of the fourth presidential impeachment trial in American history, the tally of votes from all 50 Democrats and only seven Republicans failed by 10 votes margin to meet the mandatory two-thirds of total votes, or 67 votes required to obtain conviction against Mt Trump.
The seven Republican Senators who voted to convict Mr Trump included Richard Burr of North Carolina; Bill Cassidy of Louisiana; Susan Collins of Maine; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; Mitt Romney of Utah; Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.
The 43 Republican Senators who to vote to acquit Mr Trump based their decisions on the constitutionality argument that gave them the leeway not to pass judgment based on the former President’s conduct.
Their argument was that although Mr Trump may have been guilty of misconduct by failing tin his duty to protect his deputy to exercise his constitutional duty of certifying the outcome of the November 3 election result, there was no constitutional foundation to impeach him of the offence after he left office.
With the vote, the Republicans ended up sacrificing Trump’s deputy, VP Mike Pence, whom the former President accused of refusing to stand by him and supporting his call that the November 3 general election was marred by massive fraud.
Although the minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, was of the opinion that Mr Trump was “practically and morally responsible” as he displayed a “disgraceful dereliction of duty,” for the January 6 attack on the Capitol, he however opted not to vote for his conviction, as he considered it technically insufficient reason to impeach him.
“The people that stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole,” the New York Times quoted Mr McConnell as saying.
The Senate acquittal was Mr Trump’s second impeachment trial, coming exactly one month after the House of Representatives voted to impeach him.
The vote by the Senate not to condemn or reprimand President Trump’s conduct after the November 3, 2020 elections and his activities in the run up to the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol may have reinforced fees by the Democrats that a dangerous precedence may have been set for history to repeat itself in future.
In a statement after the Senate acquittal vote on Saturday, Mr. Trump said his political movement to make America great again “has only just begun.”

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