The Senate voted to acquit former President Trump of inciting the January 6 riot at the Capitol in his second impeachment trial. Seven Republicans joined all Democrats in voting “Guilty” for a majority of 57 votes – but Democrats failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to convict.
The Republicans who joined with the Democrats were: 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 Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Although he voted to acquit, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a blistering statement calling Mr. Trump “practically and morally responsible” for the riot, but he felt it was unconstitutional to convict a former office holder. “The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president,” McConnell said.
Mr. Trump issued a statement Saturday afternoon thanking his legal team, as well as the Republicans in the Senate who found him not guilty and GOP House members who voted against the article of impeachment last month. He did not acknowledge the riot in his statement.
“This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country,” Mr. Trump said. “No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago.”
While the outcome had long seemed inevitable, the trial was briefly thrown into chaos on Saturday morning when the Senate voted to allow witnesses after a late-night statement from a congresswoman about a conversation with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy regarding his phone call with Mr. Trump during the riot. According to the congresswoman, Jaime Herrera Beutler, McCarthy told her “the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol.”