The US Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump on Saturday in his second trial in 12 months, as his fellow Republicans protected him from accountability for the deadly attack by his supporters on the Congress building.
The Senate vote came 57 to 43, less than the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump of incitement to revolt after a five-day trial in the same building that was stormed by his supporters on January 6 shortly after he heard them deliver an inflammatory speech.
Seven of the 50 Republican senators joined the United Democrats in the House in favor of the conviction.
The move to conclude the trial came after Democrats and Republicans halted a possible extension of proceedings related to the details of evidence for a phone call between Trump and a senior Republican during the Capitol siege.
Trump’s defense team argued that the trial should not have taken place in the first place because Trump had left power, and his speech to his supporters is protected by the guarantee of the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the US Constitution.
Trump left office on Jan.20, so impeachment cannot be a way to remove him from office.
But the Democrats were hoping for a conviction to hold him responsible for a siege that killed five people, including a policeman, and to prepare the stage for a vote that would prevent him from holding public office again.
They said allowing Trump to assume public office again would make him not hesitate to once again encourage political violence.
Republicans had previously saved Trump from impeachment on February 5 during his previous trial when he voted to convict and remove him from office.
One Republican senator is Mitt Romney.
Trump entered history as the first US president to be tried twice in Congress, and he will also go down in history as the first president to be tried while out of power, but, and this is more important, he will also go down in history as the first president to survive two trials and be acquitted.
In his first reaction, Trump said the Senate trial was another phase of “the largest campaign of persecution in the history of our country”.
After being acquitted of charges of incitement to revolt, Trump declared that he would always be a champion of the rule of law in the United States.
In a statement, after he was acquitted of the charge of incitement to revolt, Trump said that it is “a sad comment in our time that one political party in the United States grants a free permit to undermine the rule of law.
They have excused the rioters and turned justice into a tool for political revenge and persecution”.
He added, “I have always been and will remain a champion of the unwavering rule of law, and a champion of the right of Americans to peacefully discuss today’s issues without hatred and hatred”.
He continued, “This was another stage of the greatest chase in the history of our country… No president had ever gone through such a thing, and this continues because our opponents cannot forget the 75 million people voting for us, which is the highest number ever achieved by a president in office”.
During the trial, the Democratic lawmakers who play the role of prosecutor in Trump’s trial for inciting the storming of the Capitol showed a video clip showing members of the pro-Trump crowd searching the building for his deputy, chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”
Unprecedented videos showed the scene from inside the Capitol, where rioters smashed windows and clashed with police on January 6, 30 meters from the room where Pence was sheltering with his family, while mobs erected a noose outside.
The footage also showed scenes of attacks on Capitol Police, and the evacuation of Pence and lawmakers to a safe place moment before the crowd stormed the building, killing five people, including a police officer.
The House of Representatives accused Trump of fomenting the revolt by urging thousands of supporters to march toward the Capitol on the day Congress gathered to endorse Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
A conviction, although unlikely in the divided Senate, could prevent Trump from running for office again and not running in the next presidential election.