Donald Trump cleared in impeachment vote over the Captol Hill riot

The 57-43 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction

Powered by automated translation

Donald Trump has been cleared of incitement charges in the former US president's historic second trial over his treatment of supporters in the run up to the Capitol Hill riot.
The vote, largely along party lines, means Mr Trump was acquitted of fanning the flames that led to the riot and attempts to overturn the election.
The vote was 57-43, nine votes off the two-thirds majority required in the Senate.

Mr Trump celebrated his win by calling the case a "witch hunt" and said his movement "has only just begun".

Before the vote, Mitch McConnell, the senior Republican senator, had indicated he would vote in favour of acquittal.

After the vote, he said Mr Trump was "practically and morally responsible" for the protests and he called out the president's "unconscionable behaviour".

He also criticised Mr Trump for not calling on the mob to retreat even when police officers lay bleeding and he "praised the criminals".

"What's important about this trial is that it's really aimed to some extent at Donald Trump, but it's more aimed at some president we don't even know 20 years from now," said Angus King, an independent senator from Maine.

The quick trial, the nation’s first of a former president, showed how perilously close the invaders had come to shattering the nation’s deep tradition of a peaceful transfer of presidential power after Mr Trump had refused to concede the election.

"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."

Ben Sasse, one of the Republican senators who voted for impeachment, attacked Mr Trump, his lies about the election and his efforts to overturn the election.

“Those lies had consequences, endangering the life of the vice president and bringing us dangerously close to a bloody constitutional crisis,” Mr Sasse said. “Each of these actions are violations of a president’s oath of office.”

Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate Majority leader, condemned the Republicans as voting for Trump, and said the result as a vote for infamy.

"The most despicable act that any president has ever committed and the majority of Republicans cannot summon the courage or the morality to condemn it.
"This trial wasn't about choosing country over party even not that. This was about choosing country over Donald Trump. And 43 Republican members chose Trump. They chose Trump. It should be a weight on their conscience today and it shall be a weight on their conscience in the future."

Rallying outside the White House on January 6, Mr Trump unleashed a mob of supporters to "fight like hell" for him at the Capitol just as Congress was to certify Democrat Joe Biden's election victory.

House prosecutors have said Mr Trump's rallying cry to go to the Capitol and "fight like hell" for his presidency just as Congress was convening January 6 to certify Joe Biden's election victory was part of an orchestrated pattern of violent rhetoric and false claims that unleashed the mob. Five people died, including a rioter who was shot and a police officer.

Only by watching the graphic videos – rioters calling out menacingly for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the vote tally – did senators say they began to understand how perilously close the country came to chaos. Hundreds of rioters stormed into the building, taking over the Senate. Some engaged in hand-to-hand, bloody combat with police.
The defence from Mr Trump's lawyers countered that his words were not intended to incite the violence and that impeachment was nothing but a "witch hunt" designed to prevent him from serving in office again.

The Republican senators to vote for impeachment were: Lisa Murkowski, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Patrick Toomey.

“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty,” Mr Cassidy said.