Trump acquitted in second impeachment trial after final 57-43 Senate vote
Senate had voted in favor of witnesses in Trump’s second impeachment trial, but both sides later agreed to proceed with closing arguments for up to 4 hours
House managers and Donald Trump’s defense team agreed Saturday to move to closing arguments for up to 4 hours in the Senate impeachment trial of the former president.
After closing arguments concluded, senators acquitted Trump on the single article of incitement of insurrection, falling 10 votes short of the two-thirds necessary to convict with 57 voting guilty vs. 43 not guilty.
All Democrats and 7 Republicans voted guilty, including Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
The agreement to move to closing arguments came after the timetable for the rest of the trial had been pitched into uncertainty following a morning of surprises. The Senate voted in favor of calling witnesses after the House impeachment managers said they wanted to call Washington Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler to testify about the statement she issued on Friday evening regarding House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s conversation with Trump on the day of the riot.
Trump defense counsel Michael van der Veen said he would seek depositions from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris in the event of an extended trial with witness testimony. Raskin also said he wanted Trump to testify. Trump’s defense and the impeachment managers eventually agreed to enter Herrera Beutler’s statement into trial evidence and proceed to closing arguments.
In his closing argument, lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) called Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney as a “hero” for voting to impeach Trump and “resisting” a “retaliatory cancel culture that she was subjected to” when the Republican caucus voted on whether to keep her in a leadership role. She was ultimately not stripped of her position as conference chair.
Trump’s counsel objected to a new video used in Pennsylvania Rep. Madeleine Dean’s closing argument.
“This is crooked,” one of Trump’s lawyers said.
Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is presiding over the trial as the Senate pro tempore, ruled the evidence would be “stricken” from the record.
“New evidence is not permitted in closing argument. References to such new evidence will be stricken,” he said.
“The statement was in evidence, the slide was not, so we will withdraw the slide.”
Trump’s defense team is not making their closing argument.
“Hopefully we can all leave this chamber in uniform agreement that all rioting, all rioting, is bad and that law enforcement deserves our respect and support,” Van der Veen said after mentioning the rioting that occurred after the death of George Floyd. “That has been Mr. Trump’s position from the very beginning.”
Van der Veen said the House managers made up a “legal standard” in the case that he called the “Raskin doctrine.”
“Any speech made by Democrat elected officials is protected speech while any speech made by Republican elected officials is not protected,” he said. “This impeachment has been a complete charade from beginning to end.”
He argued that the Democrats have had an “obsessive desire” to impeach Trump since he took office in 2017.
Raskin said he embraces the Raskin doctrine.
“If that is the Raskin doctrine that a president of the United States cannot incite violent insurrection against the union and the Congress then I embrace it and I take it as an honor. Most law professors never even get a doctor named after them so I will accept that,” he said.
Before closing arguments began, senators voted 55-45 to call witnesses. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina voted with Democrats to subpoena witnesses and documents.
“This is a political theater, and I think the House managers were feeling heat on their left flank,” Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said. “At this point, nobody knows what’s going to happen.”
Ahead of the vote to call witnesses, Trump defense lawyer van der Veen had called on senators to “close this case out today.” He said the House managers included 100 people in their case who were arrested after the riot took place. Before the Senate voted in favor of witnesses, van der Veen said he would need 100 depositions and an ample amount of time to do the “investigation” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn’t done yet.
“This entire proceeding is based on rumor, report, innuendo,” he said. “There’s nothing to it.”
Trump’s defense had up to 16 hours to present their case on Friday but used less than 4 hours. Senators had up to 4 hours to question both sides after Trump’s defense presented. The questioning lasted for more than 2 hours on Friday.
A (TLB) X-tra, Trump Weighs in:
I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth.
My deepest thanks as well to all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country.
Our cherished Constitutional Republic was founded on the impartial rule of law, the indispensable safeguard for our liberties, our rights and our freedoms.
It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree. I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.
This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago.
I also want to convey my gratitude to the millions of decent, hardworking, law-abiding, God-and-Country loving citizens who have bravely supported these important principles in these very difficult and challenging times.
Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!
We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future.
Together there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
We remain one People, one family, and one glorious nation under God, and it’s our responsibility to preserve this magnificent inheritance for our children and for generations of Americans to come.
May God bless all of you, and may God forever bless the United States of America.
(TLB) published this article with permission of John Solomon at Just the News. Click Here to read about the staff at Just the News
Some emphasis and pictorial content added by (TLB)
Header featured image and X-tra Trump statement /open news feed from Trump office FL.
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