Donald Trump Acquitted by the Senate in Second Impeachment Trial

Donald Trump
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate voted to acquit Trump of inciting the January 6 riot at the Capitol in his second impeachment trial.

The Senate voted to acquit former President Trump of inciting the January 6 riot at the Capitol in his second impeachment trial. Seven Republicans joined all Democrats in voting "Guilty" for a majority of 57 votes – but Democrats failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to convict.

The Republicans who joined with the Democrats were: 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. 

Mr. Trump issued a statement Saturday afternoon thanking his legal team, as well as the Republicans in the Senate who found him not guilty and GOP House members who voted against the article of impeachment last month. He did not acknowledge the riot in his statement. 

"This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country," Mr. Trump said. "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."

While the outcome had long seemed inevitable, the trial was briefly thrown into chaos on Saturday morning when the Senate voted to allow witnesses after a late-night statement from a congresswoman about a conversation with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on January 6. After a two-hour recess — with Republicans incensed over the surprise vote — the Senate ultimately reached a deal and instead read Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beulter's statement into the record. 

Herrera Beutler came forward on Friday night and recalled that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told her about a phone call with Mr. Trump. According to Herrera Beutler, McCarthy told her that when he spoke to Mr. Trump that day and asked him to "publicly and forcefully" call off the Capitol assault, "the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol."

"McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters," Beutler's statement said. "That's when, according to McCarthy, the president said: 'Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.'" 

This article was originally published on on Feb. 13, 2021.