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With Republican firewall, U.S. Senate acquits Trump of inciting deadly Capitol riot

PoliticsFeb 13, 2021 11:36PM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. The U.S. Capitol Building on the thrid day of President Trump's impeachment trial in Washington, U.S. 2/3

By Richard Cowan, David Morgan and Makini Brice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate acquitted Donald Trump on Saturday of inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol last month, sparing him from conviction in his second impeachment trial in a year despite broad condemnation of his role in sparking the deadly siege.

The Senate voted 57-43 in favor of convicting the former president, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to do so, on a charge that he incited the insurrection that left five people dead, forced lawmakers to flee, and put his own vice president in danger while overseeing the certification of Democrat Joe Biden's election win.

GRAPHIC: Senate acquits Trump - https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-TRUMP/IMPEACHMENT/qzjpqgegjpx/index.html

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted "not guilty," in the trial, offered scathing remarks about Trump after the verdict.

"There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day," he said. "The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president."

President Joe Biden said that while the vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge was not in dispute, and a record number of Republicans had voted to convict Trump.

"This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile," Biden said in a statement. "That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism has no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies."

In the vote, seven of the 50 Senate Republicans joined the chamber's unified Democrats in favoring conviction after a week-long trial in the same building ransacked by Trump's followers after they heard him deliver an incendiary speech on Jan. 6.

During the trial, senators viewed graphic video of the assault, including scenes of a police officer screaming in pain as he was crushed in a door, the mob chanting "hang Mike Pence" as it hunted the vice president, and lawmakers having near-misses with rioters as security officers hurried the elected officials into hiding for their own safety.

Trump left office on Jan. 20, so impeachment could not be used to remove him from power. But Democrats had hoped to secure a conviction to hold him responsible for the siege and set the stage for a vote to bar him from serving in public office again.

"The bottom line is that we convinced a big majority in the Senate of our case," said Representative Jamie Raskin, the lead Democratic prosecutor from the House of Representatives.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republicans' refusal to hold Trump accountable would be remembered "as one of the darkest days and most dishonorable acts in our nation's history."

The swift end to the trial allows Biden to move forward with his agenda to bolster the economy with a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill and further confirmation of his cabinet members.

But divisions on Capitol Hill and around the country over his controversial predecessor will remain.

"This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country," Trump said in a statement after his acquittal.

Trump, 74, continues to hold a grip on his party with a right-wing populist appeal and "America First" message. The businessman-turned-politician has considered running for president again in 2024.

Republicans saved Trump in the Feb. 5, 2020, vote in his first impeachment trial, when only one senator from their ranks - Mitt Romney - voted to convict and remove him from office.

Romney voted for conviction on Saturday along with fellow Republicans Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Ben Sasse, Pat Toomey, and Lisa Murkowski.

"His actions to interfere with the peaceful transition of power – the hallmark of our Constitution and our American democracy – were an abuse of power and constitute grounds for conviction," Collins said after the vote.

DEEPLY DIVIDED NATION

The acquittal unfolded against a backdrop of gaping divisions in a pandemic-weary United States along political, racial, socioeconomic and regional lines. The trial provided more partisan warfare even as Biden has called for unity.

Seventy-one percent of American adults, including nearly half of all Republicans, believe Trump was at least partially responsible for starting the Capitol assault, but only about half of the country thought he should be convicted of inciting insurrection, according to an Ipsos poll conducted for Reuters.

Trump is only the third president ever to be impeached by the House of Representatives - a step akin to a criminal indictment - as well as the first to be impeached twice and the first to face an impeachment trial after leaving office. But the Senate still has never convicted an impeached president.

Democrats forged ahead with impeachment despite knowing it could overshadow critical early weeks of Biden's presidency.

The House approved the single article of impeachment against Trump on Jan. 13, with 10 Republicans joining the chamber's Democratic majority. That vote came a week after the pro-Trump mob stormed the neoclassical domed Capitol, interrupted the formal congressional certification of Biden's victory, clashed with an overwhelmed police force, and invaded the hallowed House and Senate chambers.

'FIGHT LIKE HELL'

Shortly before the rampage, Trump urged his followers to march on the Capitol, repeated his false claims that the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud, and told them that "if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

During the trial, nine House lawmakers serving as trial managers, or prosecutors, urged senators to convict Trump to hold him accountable for a crime against American democracy and to prevent a repeat in the future. They said Trump summoned the mob to Washington, gave the crowd its marching orders and then did nothing to stop the ensuing violence.

The defense lawyers accused Democrats not only of trying to silence Trump as a political opponent they feared facing in the future but of attempting to criminalize political speech with which they disagreed.

The words Trump used, they argued, were no different than those regularly employed by Democrats.

Trump's acquittal does not end the possibility of other congressional action against him such as a censure motion, but Pelosi said such a measure would let Republicans who voted against conviction "off the hook."

McConnell said Trump was now a private citizen and suggested he could still face criminal prosecution for his acts. "He didn't get away with anything. Yet," McConnell said.

With Republican firewall, U.S. Senate acquits Trump of inciting deadly Capitol riot
 

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Comments (73)
Nordic Fire
Nordic Fire Feb 15, 2021 4:58AM ET
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Trump will always be known as the coward that his while his mob attacked out capital
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Feb 14, 2021 10:12PM ET
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With “firewall” of Americans who passed civics class in high school, Trump was rightfully acquitted of illegal charges that he doesn’t have the right to claim an election was stolen and scream it to the heavens.. or to use the word “fight” in a political speech. Just can’t make this stuff up.
Peter Dikeakos
Peter Dikeakos Feb 14, 2021 9:06AM ET
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Trump: An AngloSaxon Found Absolved Of Crime IN AMERICAN POLITICS....What else is new?
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Feb 14, 2021 9:06AM ET
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racist much?
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Feb 14, 2021 4:22AM ET
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Republican cowardice
Whaling Trawler
Whaling Trawler Feb 14, 2021 4:15AM ET
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Yahoo!!
Nordic Fire
Nordic Fire Feb 14, 2021 3:27AM ET
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McConnell: ‘Trump is still liable for everything he did’
David Bowie
Defcon2 Feb 14, 2021 2:45AM ET
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TRUMP 2024
Nordic Fire
Nordic Fire Feb 14, 2021 2:45AM ET
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Hows the weather in russia?
Options Trader
Options Trader Feb 14, 2021 2:34AM ET
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Left or Right, you can clearly see this government is worthless.
László Popescu
László Popescu Feb 14, 2021 2:34AM ET
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Right. The term itself tells the story: govern = direct, rule; ment = mind. ... and that is mainly what any goverment is doing: drives our minds along their desired direction or narratives.
Gregory Me
Gregory Me Feb 14, 2021 2:10AM ET
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NOT guilty! 🥳🥳🥳
Nordic Fire
Nordic Fire Feb 14, 2021 2:10AM ET
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Lol. Dream in princess
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Feb 14, 2021 1:40AM ET
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More waste from the democratic party.
Allatra Yiveh
AllatraYiveh Feb 14, 2021 1:15AM ET
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Trump is no longer in White House. There are a LOT of things more important to discuss/solve yet they chose this unimportant topic. What a typical politician. Always doing unimportant or unnecessary matter first.
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 14, 2021 1:15AM ET
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How is the attack on our US capital "unimportant"?
Greg Pomering
Greg Pomering Feb 14, 2021 1:15AM ET
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u mean lives don't matter!‽
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Feb 14, 2021 1:15AM ET
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Art Fire  same way the deadly attacks by antifa and blm mobs weren't important all year long.. duh!
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Feb 14, 2021 12:55AM ET
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Please start to govern the country and stop blaming
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 14, 2021 12:55AM ET
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7 people died from that. |Have some decency.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Feb 14, 2021 12:55AM ET
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Art Fire  whatever, dunce
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Feb 14, 2021 12:55AM ET
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Art Fire  That is not accrurate. A woman died from being shot by police, the other 6 died either from medical issues or unknown causes.
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Feb 14, 2021 12:55AM ET
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Art Fire  same decency call girl harris had for the hundreds of antifa and blm victims she cheered about all year? okay.. sure.
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Feb 14, 2021 12:48AM ET
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Republicans will take the House and more likely the Senate next year. Should be a lot of large Trump rallies until next years midterms.
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Feb 14, 2021 12:48AM ET
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Steve, if the election was stolen, and the democrats got away with it, wht makes you think they will lose ever again? They have the power and the media behind them...:
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 14, 2021 12:48AM ET
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God lets hope not. The last time they were in control they lead an attack on our capital
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 14, 2021 12:39AM ET
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"President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen," Mitch McConnell said. "He didn't get away with anything.  Donalds days are numbered, just ask all the people awaiting trial for following the *****
Michael Angelo
Michael Angelo Feb 14, 2021 12:31AM ET
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After all three things are clear:Dems cannot strategized clearly an idea how to get rid of 45 (he'll play the martir). Second, the autocratic faction is not anymore à faction is majority in Reps. Third, is the ratification of my long stand about the republic decadence with paper institutions. Get ready, the next wave will be terrible. 46 cannot stop it, because 45 is not only him is a creation from both parties. God save us.
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 14, 2021 12:31AM ET
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Which one you from? China, Russia, North Korea?
Rick Baier
Rick Baier Feb 14, 2021 12:22AM ET
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It was a farce to begin with. A t total waste of my tax dollars
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 14, 2021 12:22AM ET
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7 people died, 3 police officers and you call it a farce? Bet you were screaming "Benghazi" like a hack weren't you>?
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Feb 14, 2021 12:22AM ET
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Art Fire   Yes, a farce to think President Trump caused it.
Nordic Fire
Nordic Fire Feb 14, 2021 12:22AM ET
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Catholic Man you know he did. What did those people all randomly decide to show up that day and randomly decide to try and ******our reps and randomly say that trump ordered them too? Grow up. How ashamed of you is your family?
Ric Hoop
Ric Hoop Feb 14, 2021 12:22AM ET
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Thats just patently false.
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 14, 2021 12:07AM ET
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Shut these comments down before they are infected with the same hate that lead to the attack on the US capital.
Rick Baier
Rick Baier Feb 14, 2021 12:07AM ET
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Art. What's the matter you don't agree so you choose censorship. Do you work for twitter?
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 14, 2021 12:07AM ET
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Rick Baier You are proof people aren't grown up enough for real conversations.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Feb 14, 2021 12:07AM ET
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ant-boy, are you going to need a tissue?
Forex Harbingers
Forex Harbingers Feb 13, 2021 11:04PM ET
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This was never going to happen, becaus then all the Dems politicians that incited and inflamed the Antifa/BLM that without question killed more innocent lives and caused far more damage would be on the chopping block. Again, another complete waste of time and attention, while they sign executive order after executive order that none of you realize how much it will harm the US and it's future generations to come. Good job on being duped, yet again.
Casador Del Oso
Casador Del Oso Feb 13, 2021 10:44PM ET
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Biden is next.
rmdebla smith
rmdebla smith Feb 13, 2021 8:51PM ET
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Trump  questionably immoral,  but certainly out almost exclusively for  #1!.
Jeff Roach
Jeff Roach Feb 13, 2021 8:50PM ET
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Two time impeachment champion!
Greg Pomering
Greg Pomering Feb 13, 2021 8:39PM ET
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Oh well he won't ever run again!! If he does what a laughing stock
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 13, 2021 8:33PM ET
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Everyone please petition Investing.com before it becomes the next cess pool of degenerates who were kicked out of yahoo and twitter.
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 13, 2021 8:33PM ET
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Ask them to shut it down.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Feb 13, 2021 8:33PM ET
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LOL
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 13, 2021 8:17PM ET
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"President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen," Mitch McConnell said. "He didn't get away with anything."
Bruce Ona
Bruce Ona Feb 13, 2021 8:17PM ET
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The democratics will not get away with the election fraud because you reap what you sow.
Art Fire
Art Fire Feb 13, 2021 8:10PM ET
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Everyone below. Grow up. You know what Trump did was wrong. Period.
Kris GE
Kris GE Feb 13, 2021 8:10PM ET
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C'mon man:) Can you just shut your yap? If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Are you some lie-beral bot or something. You are everywhere. Hit the road jack............
 
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