Understanding Trump’s Impeachment Trial Acquittal

57 United States senators voted to convict Donald Trump, including every single Democrat and Republicans Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and Pat Toomy. This was ten votes short of the two-thirds majority required to successfully convict a president, which is an extremely high bar in such a fragmented Congress. Five people died in the Capitol riot on January 6. Two police officers who were there committed suicide in the days and weeks directly after the riots.

Why did the majority of Republicans vote to acquit the former president? Very few Republicans argued that the president was not guilty of the crimes laid out before them. Instead, they argued that Trump could not be convicted because the trial of a former president was unconstitutional. This is untrue according to many Constitutional scholars. There is also precedent for impeaching a former public official. 

Trump’s acquittal means he is free to run for office again, including for president in 2024 — an event that he has said repeatedly will probably happen. 

Former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voted to acquit the former president, but he also had some of the harshest words to level: “There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”

He added: “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office, as an ordinary citizen, unless the statute of limitations has run. He didn’t get away with anything yet. Yet.”

Trump is the subject of a number of investigations right now, including for tax fraud and illegally trying to compel Georgian officials to “find votes.”