The U.S. Senate acquitted Donald Trump for a second time on Saturday, concluding a five-day impeachment trial. The former president, who has been impeached twice by the House of Representatives, was not convicted by a 57-43 vote.
A historic seven Republicans voted with 50 Democrats that Trump was guilty of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, but a two-thirds majority of 67 votes was needed to convict him of the offense.
Earlier today, House managers asked for witnesses, with Rep. Jamie Raskin seeking to subpoena Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a House Republican who first revealed a conversation between House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump in which the former president said the rioters cared more about the election results than McCarthy did. After Raskin announced Democrats would seek witnesses, Trump’s lawyer Michael van der Veen responded that if Democrats were going to ask for witnesses, Trump’s team was going to need 100 depositions.
In a 55-45 vote, the Senate voted to allow witnesses, with five Republicans joining the action. Following the decision, there seemed to be some confusion on the Senate floor, with one senator asking what exactly they just voted on. After a brief recess, Senate leaders instead agreed to admit a witness statement into evidence.
The House impeachment managers and Trump’s team then moved on to their closing arguments, signaling the trial would end without witnesses.
The second impeachment of Trump entailed a charge of incitement of insurrection for his involvement in provoking the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, where thousands of white supremacists and Trump supporters stormed the building, forcing Congress members to hide in fear of their lives. Rioters chanted phrases such as “Hang Mike Pence” and the violence left five dead.
The first impeachment of Trump, in 2019, was about charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. While acquitted, he became the third president in history to be impeached, for allegedly seeking favor from Ukrainian authorities to help swing the 2020 presidential election in his favor.