WASHINGTON – Former President Trump has been acquitted as Senators decide not to convict him for inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
In a statement following the vote, President Donald Trump thanked his lawyers for their tireless work and “upholding justice and defending truth.”
“It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree,” the President said in part. “I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.”
The vote was 57-43, with seven Republicans joining the Democrats. Senators needed a two-thirds majority to convict Trump.
The vote comes after a nearly weeklong impeachment trial, which began Tuesday with opening arguments from both sides and a vote ruling it is constitutional to try a former president once out of office.
In arguments this week, Democratic House impeachment managers showed videos and shared tweets they said made clear Trump set the stage for the violence by falsely claiming the election results were fraudulent and egging on his supporters with his rhetoric long before Jan. 6.
They alleged he summoned the mob to Washington, gave the crowd its marching orders and did nothing to stop the violence as it played out on television. His one request to act peacefully did not absolve him, they said.
In addition to graphic, never before seen security footage from the moment the rioters broke through windows and entered the Capitol in a purported attempt to overturn the election results, they also showed videos of the Republican former president cheering violence at his rallies, repeating his election fraud claims and urging his supporters to gather in Washington on Jan. 6 for a rally he said would be “wild.”
The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump on Jan. 13 on a single charge of inciting insurrection, focusing on a speech he made to supporters shortly before the D.C. riot.
Trump’s defense argued the former president was entitled to dispute the 2020 election results and that his doing so, including in the speech that preceded the breach of the Capitol, did not equate to inciting the violence that followed.
Trump’s lawyers argued that his remarks were protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which ensures the right to free speech.Trump’s lawyers deliver impeachment defense, accuse Democrats of double standard.
Here is the full statement released by the 45th President:
I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth.
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.
Our cherished Constitutional Republic was founded on the impartial rule of law, the indispensable safeguard for our liberties, our rights and our freedoms.
It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree. I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.
This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. 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.
I also want to convey my gratitude to the millions of decent, hardworking, law-abiding, God-and-Country loving citizens who have bravely supported these important principles in these very difficult and challenging times.
Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. 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!
We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future.
Together there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
We remain one People, one family, and one glorious nation under God, and it’s our responsibility to preserve this magnificent inheritance for our children and for generations of Americans to come.
May God bless all of you, and may God forever bless the United States of America.