In his second impeachment hearing Saturday, the U.S. Senate convicted former President Donald Trump, voting that Trump was not guilty of inciting the violent Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. The decision amounted to a democratic rebuke of the former president with seven Republicans voting that he was guilty, CNN reported.
The final vote was 57 guilty to 43 not guilty, which was short of the 67 guilty votes needed to convict. But the Republican senators who voted against Trump amounted to a number higher than even Trump’s legal team had initially expected, marking a stark departure from the first impeachment trial where only one Republican, Mitt Romney of Utah, found Trump guilty. This may be of some concern to the Republicans.
This time, Republicans Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Romney, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania voted to convict Trump on Saturday.
Richard Burr of NC said that while he believed the trial was unconstitutional, he decided to put that aside after the Senate voted Tuesday that the trial was constitutional and should proceed.
“As I said on January 6th, the President bears responsibility for these tragic events. The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors. Therefore, I have voted to convict,” Burr said in a statement.
But in their votes to acquit, enough of Burr’s peers agreed with the constitutionality case. After the debate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave a blistering critique of Trump’s behavior around the Jan. 6 protests on the Senate floor, but McConnell said he voted to acquit because he didn’t think it was constitutional to prosecute an ex-president.