Former-president Donald Trump acquitted of impeachment charges
The 45th president was found not guilty of inciting insurrection during the capitol riot and therefore will not be barred from holding office again.
The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump which began on February 9th and concluded on the 13th has resulted in the former president being acquitted of the single article of encouraging violence against government officials. Despite the final result of 57 “guilty” votes to 43 “not guilty”, the Democrats could not attain the two-thirds majority needed to convict a president.
Seven members of the Republican Party joined the Democrats, defying Trump and supporting the charge of incitement. Even Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, stated that “There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the event of that day” However, the Senator did not support the conviction and therefore voted to acquit the former president despite his accusations.
The insurrection that occurred on one of America’s darkest days last month on January 6 in Washington D.C. resulted in deaths of five people including a police officer who attempted to stop the mob from attacking the capitol building where senators were ratifying President Biden’s election victory. As a result of the rally Trump held just minutes away, he was charged with “incitement of insurrection”, a category of sedition, making him the only U.S. President and federal official to be impeached twice.
At the start of the trial, Senator Rand Paul forced a vote to dismiss the impeachment charge, stating that it was unconstitutional to try a former President. However, the motion was defeated by 55 votes to 45 through a bipartisan effort therefore making Trump the only President to be tried for impeachment after leaving office. Lawyers Butch Bowers and Deborah Barberi had initially been hired to defend the former president, but they resigned from the defence team with three other lawyers when “the former president wanted the lawyers representing him to focus on his allegations of mass election fraud and that the election was stolen from him.” (Source: The Independent)
Trumps conviction became increasingly unlikely as few Republican senators came forward to criticise their president’s divisive and controversial actions during and after the capitol riot. Some even defended Trump and tried to spin the consequences of the attempted insurrection as a political motive by the Democrats. The acquittal now leaves Trump open to run for office again in the future and with the next U.S. presidential election due in 2024, it is entirely possible he may attempt a comeback.
Image Credit: Gage Skidmore