This is the impeachment bulletin, the Times newsletter on the impeachment inquiry. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox.
What happened today
Mr. Trump was acquitted for the second time in 13 months. The Senate vote 57-43 in favor of his conviction – not enough to achieve the required two-thirds majority.
Democrats needed 17 Republicans to vote with them to condemn Mr. Trump of inciting insurgency. In the end, they got seven: Senators Richard M. Burr from North Carolina, Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, Susan Collins from Maine, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, Mitt Romney from Utah, Ben Sasse from Nebraska. and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.
House impeachment officials unexpectedly called witnesses and then abruptly dropped the request, after reaching a deal with Mr. Trump’s defense team to add to the trial record a written statement from the Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler from Washington – a Republican who said he was told he was told. that Mr. Trump sided with the rioters as they attacked the Capitol.
Minutes after the verdict was announced, Mr. Trump sent out a statement denouncing the “witch hunt” he said was being waged against him. He also suggested that the Democrats’ attempt to end his political career had failed, telling his supporters: “Our historic, patriotic and magnificent movement to make America great again has only just begun.
History is the next judge
Forty-three Republicans have voted to acquit Mr. Trump of inciting an insurgency against the United States – more than enough to prevent the two-thirds majority needed for sentencing. Mr. Trump was found not guilty, a verdict he immediately celebrated.
And yet, seven Republicans voted to condemn him, making it by far the most bipartisan impeachment effort in American history. It should be remembered that until a year ago, when Mr. Romney voted the only Republican “guilty” in Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, no senator had ever voted to convict a president of his. own party.
A two-thirds majority to condemn Mr. Trump, which would have paved the way for a simple majority vote to prevent him from performing his future duties, was still extraordinarily unlikely, and everyone involved knew it. This is why – as the Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker wrote two days ago – House impeachment officials often seemed to speak less in the Senate than in history. .
Charging Representative Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania put it bluntly: “If we don’t redefine this right and call it what it was, the most serious of the constitutional crimes committed by the President of the United States, the past will not be over. The past will become our future, ”she said in oral argument. “Senators, we are in dialogue with history.
In speeches and statements after the vote, several Republicans who had voted for Mr. Trump’s acquittal again declared him responsible for the assault on Capitol Hill. Among them was Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the leader of the minority.
“The people who stormed this building believed they were acting according to the wishes and instructions of their president,” said Mr. McConnell, “and this belief was a predictable consequence of the growing crescendo of misrepresentation, conspiracy theories and of reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president continued to scream into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.
The reason Mr. McConnell gave for his “not guilty” vote was that Mr. Trump was no longer in office – even though it was Mr. McConnell who prevented the Senate from starting the trial while Mr. Trump was in office. function.
President Nancy Pelosi took that reasoning against when she made an unexpected appearance at a Democratic press conference after the vote.
“It’s so pathetic that Senator McConnell kept the Senate closed so the Senate could not receive the impeachment article and used that as an excuse not to vote to condemn Donald Trump,” she said. .
Nonetheless, it was striking that the Republican leader in the Senate excoriated Mr. Trump using language that could have come from House administrators trying to condemn him – which he certainly did not do the last time that Mr. Trump was removed from office.
“A mob was attacking a Capitol in his name. These criminals carried his banners, hung his flags and shouted their loyalty to him, ”said Mr. McConnell. “There is no doubt, no, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for bringing about the events of the day.
In the end, this may also be the verdict of history.
What else do we read
The Justice Department does not plan to focus on Trump in its riot investigation, but the evidence may provide a clearer – and perhaps more damning – picture of his role in the attack.
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