Donald Trump acquitted in second impeachment trial

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 6:06 PM ET, Sat February 13, 2021
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4:47 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

McConnell: "Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking" Capitol riot

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

In this image from video, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks after the Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Saturday, February 13.
In this image from video, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks after the Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Saturday, February 13. Senate TV

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the Jan. 6 Capitol attack a “disgrace.” 

"They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth. Because he was angry. He had lost an election. Former President Trump's actions preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty," McConnell said.

"There's no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President," he added.

McConnell said there were "wild myths" about election fraud, but he said he defended Trump's right to bring any complaints to the legal system.

"As I stood up and said clearly at that time, the election was settled. It was over. But that just really opened a new chapter of even wilder, wilder and more unfounded claims," he said. "The leader of the free world cannot spend weeks thundering that shadowy forces are stealing our country and then feign surprise when people believe him and do reckless things."

Trump "did not do his job" to end the Jan. 6 violence, McConnell said.

McConnell called the Trump defense team invoking Trump's voters during the impeachment trial "as a human shield against criticism."

Watch:

4:24 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Here's how Trump's team reacted to his acquittal

From CNN's Pamela Brown

A source on former President Trump's team reacted to the acquittal, saying, “Wow, phew."

The source expressed relief Democrats did not ultimately call witnesses because they had heard some Republicans were on the fence and they were waiting to hear from witnesses.

The source says they were expecting five or six Republicans to vote for impeachment, but the final vote that included seven GOP members voting to impeach was "unexpected and a shock." 

4:14 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

GOP Sen. Cassidy says he voted to convict Trump because "he is guilty"

From CNN's Alex Rogers

Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said he voted to convict former President Trump “because he is guilty.”

“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty,” Cassidy said in a statement released after his vote.

Cassidy was one of seven Republican senators who joined Democrats in voting to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Trump was ultimately acquitted as Democrats failed to get enough Republicans to join them in convicting Trump.

4:09 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Here's what Trump said after his second acquittal

 

Former President Trump just released a statement following the Senate vote to acquit him in his second impeachment trial.

Part of the statement read:

"It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree. I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate."

Trump also thanked his legal team and "all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country," in the statement.

4:24 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Schumer blasts Trump's acquittal as "un-American"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tore into the Senate's decision to acquit former President Trump, calling the vote "un-American" and insulting to patriots who gave their lives for our republic over the centuries.

"The former President inspired, directed, and propelled a mob to violently prevent the peaceful transfer of power, subvert the will of the people, and illegally keep that President in power," he said, speaking moments after the upper chamber had voted to acquit Trump.

"There is nothing, nothing more un-American than that," he continued. "There is nothing, nothing more antithetical to our democracy... insulting to the generations of Americans patriots who gave their lives to defend our form of government."

Schumer went on to say the events of Jan. 6, would be Trump's "final terrible legacy" and the 57 Republicans who voted to acquit would be forever linked to that legacy. 

"Let it live on in infamy, a stain on Donald John Trump that can never, never be washed away," he said. 

Watch:

3:52 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

These are the 7 GOP senators who voted to convict Trump

The Senate just voted to acquit former President Trump in his second impeachment trial. The vote was 57-43, with seven Republicans joining the Democrats. Senators needed a two-thirds majority to convict Trump.

These are the seven Republicans who voted to convict the former President:

  • Richard Burr
  • Bill Cassidy
  • Susan Collins
  • Lisa Murkowski
  • Mitt Romney
  • Ben Sasse
  • Pat Toomey
4:01 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Former President Trump acquitted in historic second impeachment trial

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Trump has been acquitted in his historic second impeachment trial, with seven Republican senators joining 50 Democrats voting to convict, fewer than the 17 needed.

Watch:

3:47 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

Democrats fail to get enough Republicans to convict Trump

The Senate is on track to acquit former President Trump of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol, with Democrats failing to reach the threshold of Republicans needed to convict him — at least 17.

3:46 p.m. ET, February 13, 2021

The Senate is voting on whether to convict Trump

Senate TV
Senate TV

The Senate is voting on whether to convict former President Trump on one article of impeachment for inciting the Capitol riot.

It follows a day of surprise and confusion after a motion to seek witnesses passed. The Senate then went into a break to discuss how to move forward.

They ultimately agreed to enter a statement from Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler – describing a phone call between former President Trump and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy – into the record instead of calling her as a witness.

Both sides then made closing arguments that have now concluded.