Has Trump ever shown signs of remorse
Acquittal for Trump also in the second impeachment proceedings
A majority of the senators saw the ex-president as guilty, the necessary two-thirds majority was not achieved.
Less than six weeks after Donald Trump's angry supporters stormed the Capitol, the US Senate acquitted the ex-president of the charge of "inciting rioting" in the impeachment proceedings. A majority of 57 senators voted on Saturday after only five days of negotiations for a condemnation of the Republican, but they missed the two-thirds majority of 67 votes necessary for a Senate conviction.
50 Democrats and seven Republicans voted to condemn Trump. The Democrats had initiated impeachment proceedings for Trump's role in storming the Capitol on January 6th. They also wanted to ensure that the president, who has since left office, is banned from future political offices at the federal level. This would have made it impossible for Trump to run for the presidency again in the 2024 election.
The so-called impeachment process has been conducted in the Senate since Tuesday. The Congress Chamber took on the role of a court. Although many Republicans criticized Trump for his role in the January 6th events, a conviction seemed unlikely. To do this, 17 Republicans would have had to join the 50 Democrats. Nonetheless, the seven dissenters represented the greatest simultaneous support of both major parties that ever existed in the event of an impeachment.
Biden condemns extremism
US President Joe Biden condemned extremism after his predecessor was acquitted. He thinks of those who lost their lives in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, the Democrat said on Saturday evening (local time). "This sad chapter in our history reminds us how fragile democracy is," said Biden. Violence and extremism had no place in the United States.
Trump himself was pleased and used his acquittal to announce that his political movement was only just beginning and called the proceedings against him a "witch hunt". "Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to make America great again has only just begun," said the Republican. "There has never been anything like it!" Trump thanked the Republican senators for acquittal. The Democrats tried to undermine the rule of law.
On January 6, supporters of the elected president forcibly stormed the Capitol. Congress met there to officially confirm the election victory of Trump's successor Biden. Five people were killed in the riots, including a police officer. Trump had stirred up his supporters immediately before that the election victory had been stolen from him. Among other things, he said: "If you do not fight like the devil, you will have no more land."
"Shame in Senate History"
The Democratic majority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, sharply criticized his Republican colleagues. "January 6th will be a day of shame in the history of the United States of America. The failure to condemn Donald Trump will go down in the history of the United States Senate as a shame".
Inciting an attack on the seat of Congress is "the most despicable act a president has ever committed," Schumer continued. And yet the majority of Republicans could not muster the courage to condemn them. House majority leader Nancy Pelosi spoke of a "cowardly group of Republicans." Meanwhile, one of the seven Republican dissenters, Senator Ben Sasse, declared his vote by saying that Trump's lies about the November election result were in violation of his oath of office.
The Senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell called Trump "practically and morally" responsible for his supporters' storming the Capitol - although he himself voted for "not guilty". Trump incited this for weeks with lies about his allegedly won election, McConnell said of his party colleagues. The Senator had nevertheless voted against a conviction of Trump because he considered the process to be unconstitutional after the end of Trump's term in office.
Prior to the Senate vote, Chief Prosecutor Jamie Raskin said the burden of proof of Trump's responsibility for his January 6th storming of the Capitol was "overwhelming and irrefutable". Congressman Joe Neguse warned that the violence may have "just been the beginning". Trump's attorney Michael van der Veen, however, portrayed the ex-president as innocent: "At no time have you heard anything that could ever be interpreted as an encouragement or approval for a riot by Mr Trump" - any claim to the contrary is "absurd" .
"Absurd and Monstrous Lies"
Probably because of the low chance of a conviction of Trump, the Senate completed the proceedings in record time and waived the hearing of witnesses and additional evidence. On Saturday, the senators voted to question witnesses, which briefly caused confusion and was ultimately rejected. Both parties had an interest in bringing the impeachment to a quick conclusion. The Democrats wanted to prevent the trial from overshadowing the beginning of President Joe Biden's term and blocking the Senate. For the Republicans, a lengthy process also seemed undesirable - they want to start the post-Trump era.
The House of Representatives had detailed their allegations against Trump using dramatic video recordings and a meticulous retelling of the attack on the Capitol. They accuse Trump of having prepared the ground for the attack for months with his election fraud allegations and ultimately having deliberately instigated the outbreak of violence. They also accused him of showing no remorse.
Trump's defense lawyers had rejected the allegations against the ex-president on Friday in a barely three-hour presentation. It is an unjust, unconstitutional and politically motivated process, said lawyer Michael van der Veen. Claims that Trump incited the demonstrators were "absurd and monstrous lies," the lawyer said. The criticized statements in his speech were "ordinary political statements" covered by the right to freedom of expression.
Trump never admitted defeat in the November 3rd US election. He had spoken of large-scale electoral fraud months before the vote without evidence. He and his Republicans failed in their claims in dozen of courts.
For Trump it was already the second impeachment proceedings that he had to face. At the first impeachment he had to answer in the so-called Ukraine affair for abuse of power and obstruction of congress investigations. In February 2020, however, he was finally acquitted of all allegations by the Senate.
(APA / Reuters / dpa)
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