DONALD TRUMP, defiant former US president, again, escaped second impeachment trial, by the United State Senate. It is the second impeachment move by the Senate, against Trump, within four years tenure he was in office. After rigorous presentation of evidence for Trump’s impeachment, by a team of Impeachment Managers; and presentations by Trump’s defence counsel, Senate voted 57-43 to acquit the former president.
Fifty-seven Senators voted to convict Trump, while 43 found him not guilty. Seven Republican Senators – Sasse, Romney, Burr, Collins, Murkowski, Toomey and Cassidy – took sides with the Democrats on the charges of inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol, January 6, causing mayhem – occasioning deaths and destruction in the chamber. The Democrats needed two-thirds – an additional 10 Senators on their side to convict the former president.
Republican senators see the impeachment charges against Trump as politically motivated, and not criminal. Donald Trump’s impeachment acquittal means that the Senate found no convincing evidence for the former president to be remove from office.
Even though, Trump had left office before the impeachment trial commenced, if he had been found to be guilty of the charge against him and convicted, the Senate could have voted to prevent the former president from ever holding public office in the US.
The article of impeachment was approved by the Democrat-led House of Representatives on January 13, 2021, with 10 Republicans in support of the move.
RESPONDING to his acquittal, Trump’s office released statement that “This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country. 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, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters.”
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican Minority Leader, who is seen as Trump’s strong ally, while delivering his address, unreservedly, criticized him for promoting unsubstantiated theories about election fraud; and for not taking presidential action when the January 6, event unfolded.
McConnell’s words: “With police officers bleeding and broken glass covering Capitol floors, he kept repeating election lies and praising the criminals”. He described Trump’s supporters who used the millions of votes he received in the elections as deflection as an “absurd” argument, because 74 million Americans did not invade the Capitol. Rather, hundreds of rioters did.
He then explained while he did not vote to convict the former president. He described the impeachment move as “narrow tool for a narrow purpose”. And added: “If President Trump were still in office I would have carefully considered whether the House managers proved their specific charge.”
McConnell said his understanding of the Constitution is that only the president, vice-president and civil officers can be convicted. And said: “We have no power to convict and disqualify a former office holder who is now a private citizen”. He said if the removal “from current office” becomes impossible, “conviction becomes insensible.”