57 United States Senators have voted to convict Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection. 43 Senators have voted to acquit the former President. Because 2/3 of those present are required to convict, former President Trump is acquitted.
While Trump was acquitted, 7 Republicans joined the vote to convict, making this the most bipartisan Senate vote to convict in the trial of an impeached US President.
He has already left office, so he could not have been removed. The second penalty for conviction, however—a lifelong bar against ever holding office again—could still be imposed, if Congress moves to censure him for his role in supporting the insurrection, under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump were: Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
The Senate Impeachment Trial has now formally adjourned, and is turning to regular business.
Trump’s own lawyers argued he should be arrested and face indictment for crimes related to his radicalization of supporters and then for inciting them to insurrection. They also argued they don’t believe he is guilty, but they provided no exculpatory evidence, though invited to do so.
In a stunning speech after the vote, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) laid out an impassioned, detailed case for Trump’s moral and practical responsibility for the terrorist insurrection of January 6. He argued that in his view, the Senate could have convicted Trump on the merits, but that he believed it was not appropriate to create a precedent whereby a former President can be convicted after leaving office.
Sen. Richard Burr, one of the Republicans who did vote to convict, rejected McConnell’s process argument saying:
The Senate is an institution based on precedent, and given that the majority of the Senate voted to proceed with this trial, the question of constitutionality is now established precedent.
McConnell has been widely criticized for not noting his own role in the scheduling of the trial, as he and he alone adjourned the Senate until January 19, making a trial during Trump’s term impossible.
McConnell also argued that Trump remains liable in criminal and civil court, at the state and federal level, “for everything he did while in office,” adding: “He didn’t get away with anything, yet.”
Hundreds of criminal cases are already underway, with many of the accused themselves citing Trump as their direct inspiration for the attack or claiming that he invited them and coordinated the action. Trump himself is under criminal investigation in Fulton County, Georgia, where he took various steps in an effort to extort compliance from local officials with his plot to overturn a free and fair election.
Sen. Susan Collins said on the Senate floor:
President Trump abused his power, violated his oath to uphold the Constitution and tried almost every means in his power to prevent the peaceful transfer of authority to the newly elected President… My vote in this Trial stems from my own oath and duty to defend the Constitution of the United States. The abuse of power and betrayal of his oath by Pres. Trump meet the Constitutional standard of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Sen. Ben Sasse was clear in his statement that Trump did exactly what was alleged:
The president repeated these lies when summoning his crowd — parts of which were widely known to be violent — to Capitol Hill to intimidate Vice President Pence and Congress into not fulfilling our constitutional duties. Those lies had consequences, endangering the life of the vice president and bringing us dangerously close to a bloody constitutional crisis. Each of these actions are violations of a president’s oath of office.