Donald Trump, the former US president, was acquitted on February 13 by the United States Senate of inciting violence at the US Capitol on January 6. The Senate voted a 57- 43 and failed to get a majority to convict Trump who was being impeached for the second time.
The five-day trial in the Senate saw 57 lawmakers voting to convict, and 43 lawmakers voting to acquit. The Senate required a two-thirds majority of votes to win the impeachment against the ex-president.
Notably, in the US Congress that comprises the lower house or the House of Representatives and the Senate or the upper house, while the former has the Democrats in the majority, the latter has Republicans with the upper hand, numerically.
However, interestingly, seven Republicans voted along with the Democrats for convicting Trump. The Senate comprises 100 members representing 50 states.
“This trial wasn’t about choosing country over party, even not that this was about choosing country over Donald Trump and 43 Republican members chose Trump. They chose Trump,” senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said following the vote, as reported by Al Jazeera.
On January 6, Trump encouraged his supporters to march into and attack the US Capitol that was supposed to announce Biden’s victory in the US elections, following the Democrats’ win in Georgia and called for a ‘Save America March’ rally, claiming that a “fraudulent election” was held and pledged never to concede.
“We are gonna walk down to the Capitol,” he urged the crowd, “to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country,” he is heard saying in a video released by the BBC. Soon after this, demonstrators broke into the building, where Senators and Congressmen and women were debating.
Consequently, social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram blocked Trump’s accounts. Mark Zuckerberg issued a statement where he pointed out that the “shocking events of the last 24 hours” have defined that in his remaining time in office, his intentions are only to “undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power” to the then president-elect Joe Biden. Hence, he said it is a risk “too great” to allow Trump using the services of the social media giant.
The Democrats presented these graphic videos through the course of their arguments, proving that it was Trump’s incitement that caused the violence, while the latter’s team maintained that the former president’s speech was allowed under the Constitution’s free-speech provisions.
This was the first time in the history of the United States that a president faced a second impeachment. The first trial was held in February 2020 after Trump asked Ukraine to put Joe Biden to trial.