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Donald Trump acquitted in second impeachment trial

Impeachment managers defend not calling witnesses

What you need to know

  • The Senate acquitted former President Trump in his historic second impeachment trial, voting that Trump is not guilty of inciting the deadly Capitol riot.
  • Seven Republicans joined the 50 Democrats to find him guilty, but they fell short of a two-thirds majority needed to convict.
  • Trump is the only President in US history to ever be impeached twice and the first to have his impeachment tried in the Senate while out of office.
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Trump survived his second impeachment trial today. Here's what you need to know.

The Senate voted 57-43 today to acquit former President Trump of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan, 6.

Trump’s second impeachment trial lasted five days with both House managers and defense lawyers presenting evidence and arguments to support their positions.

Our live coverage of the trial has ended, but in case you missed it, here’s what you need to know about today’s proceedings:

  • Trump acquitted: The vote to convict was 57 to 43, 10 short of the necessary threshold. It came after a long day of arguments over whether to allow witnesses at the trial and following closing arguments from both sides. Seven Republicans — Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey — voted to convict.
  • House managers asked for witnesses: At the start of today’s trial, House lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin announced that the managers were 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.
  • A bipartisan Senate vote on witnesses: The vote was 55 to 45, with five Republicans joining Democrats in voting to allow witnesses. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham initially voted no, but changed his vote to yes, meaning he changed his vote to allow witnesses. 
  • Confusion and a break: Following the vote, there appeared to be some confusion on the Senate floor about the move, with one senator even asking what exactly they just voted on. Bipartisan groups of senators huddled, and the timeline of the trial seemed murky. Then the Senate went into a recess.
  • The evidence deal: Returning from the break, Senate leaders, the House managers and Trump’s legal team announced they had agreed to insert the statement of Rep. Herrera Beutler from a CNN report into the trial record, rather than taking a deposition. 
  • Closing arguments: The House impeachment managers and Trump’s team then moved on to their closing arguments, signaling the trial would end without witnesses.

Raskin: "We defended our House" 

House impeachment managers led by Rep. Jamie Raskin walk out of the Senate Chamber in the Capitol at the end of the fifth day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on Saturday, February 13, in Washington DC.

Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin hailed Democrats’ efforts to convict former President Trump as the “most bipartisan presidential impeachment in the history of the United States,” and said Democrats successfully defended Congress from Trump’s attack.

“Trump stormed our House with the mob he incited and we defended our House,” said Raskin. “He violated out Constitution and we defended the Constitution.”

“They tried to trash our democracy and we revived it, and we protected,” he added. 

Raskin then pointed to remarks made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell shortly after the acquittal as proof that they had succeeded in making their argument.

“Senator Mitch McConnell just went to the floor, essentially to say that we made our case on the facts, that he believed that Donald Trump was practically and morally responsible for inciting the events of January 6th. He described it as we did, as a disgraceful dereliction of duty, a desertion of his office.”

Watch the moment here:


Trump lawyer says House managers "didn't have a case"

Michael van der Veen, an attorney from former President Donald Trump, removes his mask to speak with reporters on Capitol Hill after the Senate acquitted Trump in his second impeachment trial in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Saturday, February 13.

President Trump’s attorney Michael van der Veen said the House impeachment managers were “like a dying animal that we had trapped in the corner,” when they initially voted to call witnesses in President Trump’s second impeachment trial on Saturday. Ultimately, no witnesses were called to testify in the trial.

“What had happened was the day before we demolished their case, and they were like a dying animal that we had trapped in the corner. And so this morning their last gasp were swinging out at us trying to save their case, and it didn’t work,” van der Veen said after the Senate found Trump not guilty of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol.

He added that House managers “didn’t have a case.” 

“They shouldn’t have brought this impeachment from the beginning. It really does stem from political hatred,” he said.

Van der Veen would not say whether he has spoken with Trump since the acquittal vote, but said the former President was “vindicated” today. 

“He had a good day in court today. He was vindicated. He was found not guilty. The political witch hunt that they had, that the Democrats had thrown at him was defeated, so he should feel quite pleased,” van der Veen said.

The Philadelphia attorney said his home was attacked as the trial was ongoing and that his business is “under siege.”

“My home was attacked, I’d rather not go into that. To answer your question, my entire family, my business, my law firm are under siege right now. I don’t really want to go into that though,” he said.

GOP Sen. Collins: Trump "incited an insurrection" to prevent "peaceful transfer of authority"

Sen. Susan Collins.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who was among the Republicans who voted to convict former President Trump, spoke on the Senate floor explaining her vote, saying Trump “incited an insurrection with the purpose of preventing that transfer of power from occurring.”

“Instead of preventing a dangerous situation, President Trump created one. Rather than defend the Constitutional transfer of power, he incited an insurrection with the purpose of preventing that transfer of power from occurring,” she said.

Collins said that Trump’s “actions to interfere with the peaceful transition of power – the hallmark of our Constitution and our American democracy – were an abuse of power and constitute grounds for conviction.”