The US Senate voted Saturday to acquit former President Donald Trump in his historic second impeachment trial, determining he’s not to blame for inciting a violent mob that attacked the US Capitol.
Senators voted 57-43 in favor of convicting the former president on a charge of incitement of insurrection. But the Senate needed a two-thirds supermajority to convict, and fell short of the 67 votes needed.
The vote fell largely along party lines, with seven Republicans – among them Sens. Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski – voting that that Trump was guilty of incitement.
The vote came after some wrangling among senators in which they first planned not to call witnesses, then voted 55-45 in favor of witnesses, before finally ditching the idea and moving straight into closing arguments.
After a brief recess and several bipartisan discussions on the floor, lead House manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democratic -Maryland, said he’d revoke his request for witnesses if he could enter a statement by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Republican-Washington, into the record.
Raskin sought to subpoena Herrera Beutler in response to a television report about a phone conversation between Trump and Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy.
Lawmakers told the cable news channel the two men had an expletive-laden phone call during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in which McCarthy repeatedly asked Trump to call off the attackers.
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump said according to the sources.
Herrera Beutler confirmed details of the conversation in a statement to Twitter late Friday.
“When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot, the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol,” she wrote. “McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters.”
With the question of witnesses out of the way, Raskin gave closing arguments Saturday, reiterating House Democrats’ case accusing Trump of inciting a mob to attack the US Capitol on Jan. 6.
“President Trump must be convicted for the safety and security of our democracy and our people,” he said.
Trump’s defense team rested their case Friday, using but a fraction of the 16 hours allotted to them to rebut the House impeachment managers’ case against the former president. Democratic managers presented their case over a full two days on the Senate floor. SOVEREIGNPH