WASHINGTON (AP) — Trump welcomes impeachment acquittal, says his movement ‘has only just begun.’
The Senate has acquitted Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. The rare Saturday session come barely one month since the deadly Jan. 6 siege at the U.S. Capitol.
The vote was 57-43, with seven Republicans joining all 50 Democrats. Prosecutors said Trump was the inciter in chief whose rally cry to fight like hell for his presidency unleashed the mob on the Capitol. The defense said there was no insurrection and Trump’s words were simply political speech.
The quick trial lasted nearly a week. He is the first president twice impeached and the only one to face a trial after leaving office.
Minutes after voting to acquit Donald Trump of the impeachment charge, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said there is still “no question” that Trump was “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
McConnell said he could not vote to convict Trump because he is “constitutionally not eligible for conviction” because he is no longer president.
He added that a conviction would have created a dangerous precedent that would give the Senate power to convict private political rivals and bar them from holding future office.
McConnell added that impeachment is a “narrow tool for a narrow purpose.”
President Trump released a statement shortly after his acquittal, stating in part: “We have so much work ahead of us and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future.”
The House had impeached him on a sole charge of incitement of insurrection in deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.