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Former U.S. president Donald Trump was acquitted of a charge of incitement of insurrection laid out in a single article of impeachment on Saturday after the Senate failed to reach the required two-thirds majority needed to convict him.
Seven Republicans joined all 50 Democratic senators to convict Trump by a vote of 57-43, but a total of 67 guilty votes would have been needed to convict under the rules of impeachment.
The day began with closing arguments expected to take place, but the plan was interrupted when House impeachment managers announced they wanted to subpoena Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican, over a statement made Friday that Trump rebuffed a plea from House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to call off rioters when they stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Trump had been charged in connection to the riot.
Fifty-five senators, including five Republicans, voted in favour of considering to hear witnesses, but facing a prolonged trial with the defence poised to call even more witnesses, it was decided the statement by Herrera-Beutler would be entered into the record as evidence and they would not proceed with calling any witnesses.
In closing arguments, each side made their case one last time on why Trump should or shouldn’t be convicted before the senators cast their final vote on whether to find the former president guilty or not guilty.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell then each spoke, with Schumer criticizing Republicans for voting to acquit, and McConnell, despite his "not guilty" vote, said Trump was "practically and morally" responsible for provoking the deadly attack on the Capitol building.
The House had charged Trump, a Republican, with inciting an insurrection by exhorting thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6, the day Congress gathered to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election win.
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