Former President Donald Trump has been acquitted in an unprecedented second impeachment trial.
The US Congress had commenced impeachment proceedings against him over the January 6 Capitol riot that he was accused of instigating.
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Although a majority of senators found Trump guilty in a 57-43 vote, the number fell short of the supermajority needed to convict the ex-president.
The senate needed at least 67 votes to convict the former president of the charge.
Had Trump been convicted, the Senate would have barred him from holding federal office.
Trump’s second impeachment trial spanned five days of arguments, making it the shortest in presidential history.
The previous record was held by Trump in 2020 when his trial related to inviting foreign interference into the election spanned 21 days.
On January 6, Trump’s supporters had breached police lines and stormed the Capitol Hill, while Congress was sitting to verify Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election.
The incident happened shortly after he encouraged his supporters to march to Capitol Hill and “take back their country”.
As they invaded the Capitol, they beat police officers and chanted “Hang Mike Pence”, forcing lawmakers to take cover.
The mayhem temporarily stopped Congress’ certification of President Biden’s Electoral College win.
House impeachment managers accused Trump of inciting the insurrection by spreading a “big lie” the election was stolen from him.
Trump legal’s team denounced the proceedings as an unconstitutional “sham impeachment” against a private citizen, driven by Democrats’ “hatred” for Trump and desire to silence a political opponent.
His lawyers also argued the former president’s political speech is protected by the First Amendment and his words on January 6 to his supporters to “fight like hell” were not meant literally.
To drive home that point during the trial, Trump’s defense played an 11-minute video of nearly every Democrat in the chamber using the words “fight” in their past speeches and interviews.
But among those who voted to convict Trump were seven senators from his party.
Reacting to the outcome of the trial, Trump said, “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.”
“I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth,” the 45th American president said in a statement.
“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.
“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.”
The house of representatives had impeached him twice. The latest development makes Trump the first and only president to impeached and acquitted twice in history.