Senate acquits Trump once more

Senators voted 57-43 in favor of conviction, ten short of necessary margin

By Mo Juenger, World News Editor
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House impeachment managers introduced a never-before-seen video of the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, which Sen. Mitt Romney called “overwhelmingly distressing and emotional.” Seven Republicans, including Romney, voted to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol.

The Senate acquitted Trump in his second impeachment trial on Feb. 13, voting 57-43 in favor of conviction. Trump stood accused of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol building on Jan. 6. 

The 57-43 margin was ten votes short of the necessary two-thirds threshold for impeachment. However, an unprecedented seven Republicans voted to convict, including: Sens. Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey.

Impeachment managers included Reps. Jamie Raskin, Joaquin Castro, David Cicilline, Madeleine Dean, Diana DeGetee, Ted Lieu, Joe Neguse, Stacey Plaskett and Eric Swalwell. Trump was represented by lawyers Bruce Castor, David Schoen and Michael van der Veen after the dismissal of his entire legal team several weeks ago.

On day one of the trial, impeachment managers presented their argument alongside a brief video of the storming of the Capitol. They also clarified their goals for the trial, one of which would notably disqualify Trump from running for office again in 2024. 

The next day, in one of the more emotional moments of the trial, impeachment managers aired a previously-unseen video of the Capitol mob. In the video, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, sprints away from rioters as former Vice President Mike Pence is ushered to safety. 

“It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes. That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional,” Romney said after seeing the video for the first time. Days later, Romney voted to convict. 

House impeachment managers concluded their case on day three, last Thursday. In their closing statements, Raskin and Lieu focused on the connection between Trump’s tweets and rioters’ statements. They also reiterated the idea of a Trumpian 2024 campaign as a “future threat,” given Republican concern that impeachment was unnecessary for a non-sitting president. 

“I’m not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years,” Lieu stated. “I’m afraid he’s going to run again and lose. Because he can do this again.”

Trump’s lawyers repeatedly clarified that the former president advocated only for peaceful action in their statements on day four.

“Mr. Trump did the opposite of advocating for lawless action, the opposite,” van der Veen said. “He expressly advocated for peaceful action at the Save America rally.”

The defense also complained about the different status of impeachment trials, which abide by a legally-complex rule set that varies from traditional trials. 

“Jiminy Crickets, there is no due process in this proceeding at all,” van der Veen said, in one of the more memorable lines of the impeachment process. 

House impeachment managers asked to subpoena witnesses on the final day of the trial, to which van der Veen objected. The Senate voted 55-45 in favor of allowing witnesses, but after some confusion on the floor, the body ultimately elected to include a statement from GOP Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler instead of deposing him.

Impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team then completed their closing statements, including no witnesses in the trial.