Senate Votes To Again Acquit Trump

Trump ImpeachmentTrump ImpeachmentSenate Television via AP
In this image from video, the final vote total of 57-43, to acquit former President Donald Trump of the impeachment charge, incitement of insurrection, in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021.

Updated 3:49 p.m.

After a standoff over calling witnesses that interrupted the pace of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, the Senate moved to closing arguments and a vote on the verdict.

For the second time, in a vote of 57 guilty to 43 not guilty, Trump was again acquitted.

House Democrats, who voted a month ago to charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection,” needed two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes, to convict. Seven Republicans voted to convict the former president. Both of Colorado’s Democratic senators voted to convict.

“As the evidence showed, former President Trump sought to overturn a free and fair election in order to preserve his grip on power," said Sen. John Hickenlooper in a statement. “In doing so, he incited an insurrection and threatened the peaceful transfer of power — the very bedrock of our democracy. I’m hopeful that we can turn the page on this dark chapter in American history and move forward as a country to tackle the pressing challenges ahead.”

The state's senior senator, Michael Bennet said the 57 vote was a “pretty substantial bipartisan rebuke of the President” and a reflection of “how compelling the evidence was.”

“I'm sorry more of my colleagues didn't see this moment for the constitutional significance that it has,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ended the suspense on which way he was leaning when he told colleagues in a letter that he was going to vote to acquit Trump — a decision that probably closed the door on chances that the former president would be found guilty.

In his closing remarks as one of the impeachment managers, Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse said the arguments made by the defense have one thing in common, “they have nothing to do with whether or not factually, whether or not the president incited the attack. They've given you a lot of distractions so they don’t' have to defend what happened here on that terrible day.”

The county has “certainly had our struggles but we've always risen to the occasion when it matters the most. not by ignoring injustice or cowering to bullies and threats by doing the right thing.”

Neguse spoke of tough votes in the past for the Senate, such as tough calls from the 13th Amendment to the Civil Rights Act. He implored the gathered lawmakers that this was a moment that transcends party politics. 

“Because the cold, hard truth is that what happened on Jan. 6 can happen again,” Neguse told the chamber. “I fear, like many of you do, that the violence we saw on that terrible day may be just the beginning … Senators, this cannot be the beginning, it can’t be the new normal. it has to be the end and that decision is in your hands.”

After the vote, Neguse said it was fairly clear looking at the statements from senators who voted to acquit “that [Trump] was largely acquitted on a technicality.”

CPR DC Corespondent Caitlyn Kim contributed to this report.

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