The U.S. Senate acquitted Donald Trump on Saturday in his second impeachment trial in a year, with fellow Republicans blocking conviction over the former president’s role in the deadly assault by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol.
The Senate vote of 57-43 fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection after a five-day trial in the same building ransacked by his followers on Jan. 6 shortly after they heard him deliver an incendiary speech.
In the vote, seven of the 50 Senate Republicans joined the chamber’s unified Democrats in favouring conviction.
Trump left office on Jan. 20, so impeachment could not be used to remove him from power. But Democrats had hoped to secure a conviction to hold him responsible for a siege that left five people including a police officer dead and to set the stage for a vote to bar him from ever serving in public office again. Given the chance to hold office in the future, they argued, Trump would not hesitate to encourage political
Trump’s attorneys argued that his words at the rally were protected by his constitutional right to free speech and said he was not given due process in the proceedings.
Republicans saved Trump in the Feb. 5, 2020, vote in his first impeachment trial, when only one senator from their ranks - Mitt Romney - voted to convict and remove him from office.
WASHINGTON (Reuters), 14 February 2021