With a vote of 57-43, The Democrat-led U.S. Senate failed to convict former President Donald Trump a second time over the allegation that he incited the Capitol riot that occurred on January 6.
House managers pull out every dirty trick they had up their sleeves to make the case to convict President Trump, but in the end, they fell short of the 67 votes needed for a conviction.
There were seven Republican defections though. All seven senators are safe from any election retribution by Trump and his supporters, with Sens. Pat Toomey and Richard Burr retiring in 2022, while Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Benn Sasse were all just reelected and would be in office for the next six years.
Sen. Mitt Romney is not up for reelection until 2024, where he will surely face a Republican primary challenge.
Shortly after being found innocent of the incitement allegation, President Trump released a statement regarding the “witch hunt.”
"I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth," Trump said. "My deepest thanks as well to all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country."
"This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago."
"Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!"
Both Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott voted against conviction and sounded off after the vote was concluded.
Sen. Rick Scott (R) :
“The attack on the Capitol we all witnessed on January 6 was horrific and the lawless thugs who are responsible for the disgusting violence we saw do not represent America. They should all be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, this week, instead of addressing the serious issues facing our nation, Democrats in Congress put our work for the American people on hold and pushed forward with an unconstitutional impeachment trial. The Democrats’ political theater was better suited for the Kennedy Center than the U.S. Capitol. It was a waste of everyone’s time and tax dollars.
“It’s time to get back to work. I am more focused than ever on battling the coronavirus pandemic, addressing our nation’s unsustainable $27 trillion debt, holding our adversaries and the brutal dictators that lead them accountable and finding real solutions that protect DACA and tackle America’s border security problem. I’ll continue fighting to make Washington work and get things done for Florida families.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R):
The lead House Manager argued today that this trial isn’t about Donald Trump. That it was about our country. And that those who refuse to vote to convict are condoning the actions of a violent mob and failing to defend the honor of our Capitol and the people who work here.
This is a ridiculous and insulting argument.
Impeachment is not a way of sending a message or taking symbolic action. Impeachment exists for one principal reason: to remove from office an office holder guilty of wrongdoing.
And claiming that anyone who doesn’t vote to convict someone no longer in office is the equivalent of supporting a criminal mob is nothing but hyper-partisan politicians masquerading as high minded prosecutors trying to smear their political opponents.
The Senate does not have the Constitutional power to convict a former official. And even if we did we should be very reluctant to use it. In the 244 year history of our Republic we have never convicted and disqualified a former official in an impeachment trial. Doing so now would create a new precedent. And it would weaponize impeachment in a way we will come to regret.
The day will come when a future Congress – one with a new majority in the House filled with new members elected on the promise of holding accountable leaders of the opposite party – will give in to these passions and impeach a former official. The Senate will then find itself conducting a trial of that former official.
A trial justified by the precedent we are asked to set here today. And a Senate tempted to convict by the tantalizing opportunity to disqualify that official from future public office. My fear of creating dangerous precedents is not new. Two years ago, I was accused by some in my party of being a traitor because I opposed using an emergency declaration to fund a border wall that I supported.
I warned then that a future Democratic President would do the same thing to fund a Green New Deal. And now, just two years later, leading Democrats are calling for that very thing. The lead manager admitted today that for the Democrats and their enablers working in the legacy media the purpose of this trial was not to hold the former President accountable. The real purpose of this trial was to tar and feather not just the rioters, but anyone who supported the former President and any Senator who refuses to vote to convict.
I voted to acquit former President Trump because I will not allow my anger over the criminal attack of January 6th nor the political intimidation from the left to lead me into supporting a dangerous constitutional precedent.
The election is over. A new President is in the White House and a new Congress has been sworn in. Let history, and if necessary the courts, judge the events of the past.
We should be focused on the serious challenges of the present and preparing our country to confront the serious tests it will face in the future.
Democrats saw their chance to prevent Trump from running again fail, but many like Rep. Ted Deutch (D) are convinced that Trump caused the riot, and “called” his supporters to come to town.
President Trump primed his supporters for violence & called them to Washington on January 6th. He wanted to stop the certification of his loss and he wanted to stay in power. He incited his supporters to carry out a deadly attack on the Capitol.
The Florida Democrat Party had only this dumb meme to promote after the acquittal:
So, @marcorubio and @SenRickScott what's the difference between acquitting a deadly assault on our democracy and participating in one? pic.twitter.com/vjVNIUHZ4e
— Florida Democrats (@FlaDems) February 13, 2021
So what’s next for Trump? No one knows.
But with 2022 right around the corner, it’s almost certain that Trump will focus his ire against Republican House members who vote to impeach him.
Expect several of these House Republicans to announce their retirement from the House of Representatives.