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The Senate votes to acquit Donald J. Trump

On Saturday, Feb. 13, the Senate voted to acquit former President Donald J. Trump of inciting the insurrection of Jan. 6. All fifty Democratic senators and seven Republicans supported a conviction which was ten votes short of the two-thirds threshold required. 

Despite the majority of Republicans not supporting a conviction, the Senate leaders still rebuked the former president by acknowledging that the House had proven its case and that Trump had violated his oath of office. 

Junior MacKenzie Clary was in favor of Trump’s conviction and thought the Senate had “more than enough evidence to convict Trump.”

“The majority of senators voted this way, but it did not meet the standard to pass it. It’s frustrating because to the public, it seems like those in power can quite literally commit treasonous acts and support domestic terrorism without any repercussions,” Clary said. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in his speech that Trump was “morally and practically responsible” for the Jan. 6 insurrection but he is “constitutionally not eligible for conviction” because he is no longer in office. 

McConnell had refused to call the Senate back into session to hold the trial while Trump was still in office and argued that he could not be convicted once he no longer was. He said the only way to punish Trump now was through the criminal justice system.

Junior Andrew Zajakowski stated that the GOP has gone through a transformative state to appeal to the attitudes of Trump. He particularly criticized the leadership of McConnell. 

“One of the main points made by Senator Mitch McConnell in his rebuke of former President Trump was that if he were still president he would more than likely be impeached. Yet when seeing that McConnell would schedule the trial for after Trump would leave office one begins to question the true motives of the former Senate majority leader,” Zajakowski said. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made a statement shortly after Trump’s acquittal calling the Republicans “cowards.” She was particularly critical of McConnell’s speech in the Senate.

“It was a very disingenuous speech. And I say that regretfully because I always want to be able to work with the leadership of the other party,” Pelosi said. 

Pelosi has called for the creation of a commission, similar to one that was created after the 9/11 attacks, to further investigate the “facts, causes, and security relating to the terrorist mob attack on Jan. 6.”

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Richard Burr of North Carolina voted to convict. This is the most members of the president’s party that have ever returned an adverse verdict in an impeachment trial. 

Trump had a statement minutes after the verdict from his home in Florida, calling the proceeding “yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”

Among Republican voters, 86% say Trump should not have been convicted and disqualified from holding office, an attitude only shared by 11% of Democrats and 35% of independents. 

Although many are disturbed, this polling suggests that the Republican base remains solidly behind Trump. 

There has been speculation of Trump possibly running again in 2024 and Zajakowski spoke on the dangers of it. 

“Donald Trump will more than likely run again in 2024, though that campaign will be much less politically viable due to his standing within the Republican Party. What is most concerning though is that there is talk of the creation of a new party where Donald Trump would be the head of. What the Trump presidency has proven is that political norms and ethics are secondary to the greed of politicians like Trump,” Zajakowski said.