The US Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump for instigating an uprising in the Capitol and ending his impeachment proceedings.
Enough US Senators had cast “not guilty” votes to ensure the former president was acquitted of incitement to rebellion in his impeachment trial.
The US House Democrats had previously completed their impeachment proceedings against Trump.
There was a chaotic Senate meeting during which they abandoned a late testimony plan that could have made the trial significantly longer.
Such a move would have delayed a vote on whether the former president instigated the deadly Capitol uprising that killed five people last month.
An unexpected vote to hear witnesses threw the process into confusion as it neared completion.
Ultimately, however, both sides reached an agreement that averts this.
Instead, they recorded a statement from a Republican House legislature about a heated phone call between Trump and House Minority Chairman Kevin McCarthy on the day of the riot, which Democrats say established the former president’s indifference to violence.
The Republicans had eager to end the process and put any discussion of Mr Trump and the Capitol invasion behind them.
The Democrats also had reason to move on, as the U.S. Senate failed to pursue President Joe Biden’s agenda – including Covid-19 relief – during the impeachment session.
During the closing arguments, House impeachment chief Jamie Raskin of Maryland said of Mr. Trump: “He has abused his office by taking the insurgent side at almost every point, rather than the United States Congress on the constitution. ”
Another impeachment manager, Representative Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, told the senators, “If we don’t fix this right and call it what it was – the President’s highest constitutional crime – the past will not be over.” The past becomes our future. “
Trump’s attorney Michael van der Veen made his final arguments in the Senate.
He said there was no evidence that Mr. Trump instigated an “armed insurrection” to “overthrow the US government” and argued that it was “absurd” to believe that Mr. Trump would have wanted it to.
Mr van der Veen said the January 6th event was supposed to be peaceful but a small group “kidnapped” them for their own purposes.
He also reiterated Friday’s arguments that other politicians engaged in incendiary rhetoric, despite impeachment managers finding that none of those speeches sparked an attack on the US government.
The verdict could affect not only Mr. Trump’s political future, but that of the Senators who vowed to serve as jurors to ensure impartial justice.
Mr Trump is the only president to be charged twice and the first to be tried after he leaves office.