Just In: Trump Found Not Guilty Of Inciting Capitol Hill Insurrection In 2nd Impeachment Trial
On January 6, five people, including a Capitol Police officer, were killed in a bloody attack on the Capitol that supporters of Trump launched in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying Biden as the winner of 2020 election.
The attackers stormed the Capitol after Trump urged them at a rally outside the White House to “fight like hell” to stop the certification while regurgitating his false claims about the election being “stolen” from him.
House of Representatives impeached Trump a week after the assault on a single count of “incitement of insurrection”.
During the impeachment trial, all 50 Democrats and seven Republican senators voted in favor of convicting Trump on one count of incitement of insurrection, but the 57-43 vote fell 10 shy of the two-thirds majority needed for a conviction.
Even though he’s out of office, a conviction would allow the Senate to separately vote to bar Trump from ever holding or running for public office again. He would also lose out on benefits extends to former presidents.
House Democrats have now wrapped up their impeachment case against Donald Trump on Saturday after a tumultuous morning in which they gave up a last-minute plan for witness testimony that could have prolonged the trial and delayed a verdict on whether the former president incited the deadly Capitol insurrection.
An unexpected morning vote in favor of hearing witnesses threw the trial into confusion just as it was on the verge of concluding.
However, both sides ultimately reached a deal to instead enter into the record a statement from a Republican House lawmaker about a heated phone call on the day of the riot between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that Democrats say established Trump’s indifference to the violence.
While most Democrats were expected to vote to convict the former president, acquittal appeared likely with a two-thirds majority required for conviction and the chamber split 50-50 between the parties.
The nearly weeklong trial has delivered a grim and graphic narrative of the riot and its consequences in ways that senators, most of whom fled for their own safety that day, acknowledge they are still coming to grips with.
House prosecutors have argued that 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 Biden’s election victory was part of an orchestrated pattern of violent rhetoric and false claims that unleashed the mob.
Trump’s lawyers countered on Friday that Trump’s words were not intended to incite the violence and that impeachment is nothing but a ‘witch hunt‘ designed to prevent him from serving in office again.
He is now the only president to be twice impeached and the first to face trial charges after leaving office.
Trump was previously impeached in late 2019 over claims he abused his office by withholding military funding from Ukraine.
The former president was acquitted at his trial in February 2020 and has once again been acquitted today.