WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) – Seven Republicans voted Saturday to convict former President Donald Trump in his Senate impeachment trial, easily the largest number of lawmakers to ever vote to find a president of their own party guilty at impeachment proceedings.
While lawmakers voted 57-43 to find Trump guilty, the evenly divided Senate fell well short of the two-thirds majority required to convict an impeached president, acquitting Trump of inciting an insurrection for riling up a crowd of his supporters before they attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Senate acquits former President Donald Trump in second impeachment trial
By joining all 50 Democrats who voted against Trump, the seven GOP senators created a clear majority against him and provided a bipartisan chorus of condemnation of the former president.
Voting to find Trump guilty were GOP Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.
The Maine centrist was the only Republican senator re-elected in 2020 in a state also won by Biden. She said Trump had incited the Jan. 6 riot.
“President Trump – subordinating the interests of the country to his own selfish interests – bears significant responsibility for the invasion of the Capitol,” Collins said on the Senate floor shortly after Former President Donald Trump’s acquittal.
Murkowski of Alaska became the first U.S. senator in 50 years to win an election with a write-in campaign in 2010 after losing in the Republican primary. She called for Trump to resign after his followers rioted at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to disrupt the formal certification of the election by Congress.
A closely watched figure in this week’s impeachment trial, Lousiana Sen. Cassidy voted to convict after initially voting for the trial to proceed Tuesday on the basis of constitutionality, a switch from a pre-trial vote in against its constitutionality. Cassidy told reporters after the House impeachment managers presented on Tuesday that they had “a very good opening.”
During Friday’s question period, after a back and forth over when Trump knew former Vice President Mike Pence was in danger during the Capitol riots, Cassidy’s one question to Trump’s defense team came as senators sought to confirm whether Trump knew Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the certification, was endangered by the Capitol attack when he tweeted Pence didn’t have “the courage” to challenge the election results.
Senators question both sides over events of Capitol riot, political rhetoric
Senator Tuberville reports that he spoke to President Trump at 2:15 p.m. He told the President that the Vice President had just evacuated. I presumed it was understood at this time that rioters had entered the capitol and threatened the safety of senators and the vice president. Even after hearing at 2:24 p.m. that Mike Pence lacked courage. He did not call for law enforcement backup until then. The tweet and lack of response suggests President Trump did not care that Vice President Pence was endangered or that law enforcement was overwhelmed. Does this show that President Trump was tolerant of the intimidation of Vice President Pence?
QUESTION FROM SENATOR BILL CASSIDY (R-LA)
Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville twice told media he had informed Trump over the phone that Pence had already been evacuated from the Senate for his safety.
Sen. Tuberville stands by account of Fmr. President Trump phone call
The Trump legal team responded to Cassidy’s question by saying, “Directly no, but I dispute the premise of your facts.”
Tuberville recounted the phone conversation to reporters on Friday, saying, “I said, ‘Mr. President, they’ve taken the vice president out. They want me to get off the phone, I gotta go.”
Tuberville Saturday voted for acquittal.
Burr said while running for office in 2016 that he would not seek re-election in 2022. The senator from North Carolina had already been unpopular with Trump’s allies for his work heading the Senate Intelligence Committee, which had probed Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Trump had opposed the investigation.
The senator from Nebraska handily won re-election in 2020 and is considered a potential contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. He publicly denounced Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread electoral fraud and said there was no basis to object to Democrat Joe Biden’s Nov. 3 victory.
Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick Toomey, one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict Donald Trump at his impeachment trial Saturday, said the former president betrayed his office by trying to “hold on to power despite having legitimately lost” the election to Joe Biden.
Toomey, who is retiring in 2022, said that despite the Senate’s vote to acquit, a bipartisan majority of senators believed that Trump incited the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.
“That is an extremely powerful rebuke, and that doesn’t go away, and the American people are aware of what he did,” said Toomey, speaking by phone with Pennsylvania-based reporters a few minutes after the vote.
“The president has very badly damaged his reputation,” Toomey added.
Romney, a Utah senator and the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has been a vocal critic of Trump. In 2020, Romney was the only Republican senator to vote for conviction during Trump’s first impeachment trial.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report
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