Senate acquits Trump of inciting Capitol attack

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on former President Donald Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial (all times local):

The Senate has acquitted Donald Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, bringing his trial to a close and giving the former president a historic second victory in the court of impeachment.

Trump is the first president to be impeached twice, and he is also now twice acquitted as the majority of Republicans defended his actions. The Senate voted 57-43 that Trump is “not guilty” of incitement. Two thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes, was needed for conviction.

House Democrats argued that Trump caused the violent attack by repeating for months the false claims that the election was stolen from him, and then calling on his supporters to “fight like hell” just before they laid siege to the Capitol. Democrats argued that Trump had “obvious intent” as he egged on supporters they said were primed for violence.

Trump’s lawyers argued that the trial was brought on by Democrats’ “hatred” of Trump and that it was unconstitutional because he had left office. They said the rioters acted on their own accord, despite Trump’s words. And they argued that Trump was protected by freedom of speech and to convict him for something he said would set a dangerous precedent.

The House impeached Trump before he left office for “incitement of insurrection” after the violent mob broke into the Capitol, destroyed property and hunted for lawmakers as they counted the presidential electoral votes. Five people died.

If Trump had been convicted, the Senate would have taken a second vote on whether to ban him from running for office again. Only two other presidents, Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868, have been impeached. Both were also acquitted.

Senator Roger Marshal (R) released this statement:

“This impeachment trial has kept us from doing the work we need to be focused on: getting the COVID-19 vaccine in to peoples’ arms, opening our economy back up, getting Americans back to work, as well as confirming an agriculture secretary to get the $1.5 billion in CARES funding out to farmers, ranchers, and folks who need help putting food on the table.

“This trial has brought to light just how much was known about the planning of the riot prior to January 6th and questions now linger as to what was known by Nancy Pelosi and security officials in the Capitol and across federal agencies ahead of time. One question does not remain and that is: What was the motivation of this trial? The motivation was political hatred and was simply a continuation of the four-year impeachment fixation on the part of the House Managers and the Democrat Party.

“Let me be clear, both sides of the aisle are guilty of heated rhetoric. But, equally guilty are the House Managers and the Democrats for their hypocrisy, and President Trump’s defense team painted that picture clearly. 

“While I believe this entire trial was unconstitutional from the start, I hope that the failure to convict will put an end to the Democrat’s obsession and allow temperatures to finally settle and for us to work in a bipartisan fashion moving forward. It’s true, we face many challenges ahead as a nation. But, I remain confident there are brighter days ahead for Kansas and our entire country. It’s time for congress to get back to the work of the American people.”