(File Photo) Former US President Donald Trump Photograph:( AFP )
The impeachment trial concluded as expected with a majority of Republicans declaring him not guilty, in a sign of the powerful grip the 74-year-old Trump continues to exert on his party
Former US President Donald Trump was acquitted by US Senate in the impeachment trial. Majority of Senate republicans closed ranks to aquit Trump in his second impeachment trial. During the five-day trial, Democratic Senators argued strongly in favour of impeaching Donald Trump who is the only US President to have been impeached twice. It follows logically that this Trump's second acquittal.
Majority of the Republicans expectedly declared Trump not guilty. This was a sign of the powerful grip Trump still has on the Republican party.
But while the 57-43 majority that voted to convict fell short of the two-thirds needed in the Senate, seven Republicans joined with Democrats to seek Trump's conviction, making it the most bipartisan impeachment trial in US history.
Trump welcomed the verdict and denounced the proceedings as "yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country." He has been secluded in his Florida club since leaving the presidency.
Despite the stain of a second impeachment, Trump hinted at a possible political future, saying that "our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun."
"We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future," he said in a statement.
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on January 13, a week after the chaotic assault that stunned the nation and provoked widespread bipartisan outrage.
During the impeachment trial, Democratic Senators argued that Trump's behaviour was an "open and shut" case of impeachable conduct. They retraced how Trump spent two months repeating false allegations of election fraud before inciting his supporters to attack US Capitol building on January 6.
"He summoned his supporters to Washington, on the Ellipse, whipped them into a frenzy, and directed them at the Capitol," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote.
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The defense team swatted the evidence away, arguing that Trump's appeal to supporters to "fight like hell, at the rally that preceded the attack," was merely rhetorical.
But their central argument was that the Senate had no constitutional jurisdiction to try a former president. Most Republican senators agreed.
(With AFP inputs)