Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., attends a campaign event at the Herbert W. Best VFW Post 928 in Folsom, Pa., September 23, 2016. John McCain, R-Ariz., also attend in support of Toomey.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – Seven Republican senators alongside all Democrats found former President Donald Trump guilty on Saturday for inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol, though the bipartisan vote wasn’t enough to reach the two-thirds majority required to convict.
In Trump’s second impeachment trial, Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania voted to convict the 45th president.
The seven GOP senators joined 48 Democrats and two senators who are independents.
The Senate acquitted Trump in a 57-43 vote on the charge of inciting insurrection for his role in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Democrats needed 17 Republicans to join them to convict Trump.
The decision came after House impeachment managers reversed course and dropped a call for witnesses that would have delayed the verdict. The acquittal marks the end of a five-day impeachment trial.
Trump is the first president to be impeached and tried twice.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks during a news conference with a group of bipartisan lawmakers to unveil a COVID-19 emergency relief framework in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
Caroline Brehman | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
During Trump’s first impeachment trial, Romney was the sole Republican to break from his party and convict the president. The Senate acquitted Trump in 2020 on impeachment charges stemming from his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is up for re-election in 2022, previously called for Trump’s resignation on the heels of the riot at the Capitol. Sen. Pat Toomey had also called for the president’s resignation. He has stated that he will not run for re-election when his seat expires in 2022.
Sen. Ben Sasse said last month that he was open to considering articles of impeachment against the former Republican president.
Senator Burr, who has said he will not seek re-election, had previously voted to dismiss the impeachment trial on constitutional grounds. Burr’s term expires in 2022.
Sen. Cassidy originally said he would dismiss the trial on the grounds that it was unconstitutional but then switched his vote in the past week saying Trump’s lawyers had done a “terrible” job explaining the matter.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee nomination hearing for Marty Walsh to be labor secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 4, 2021.
Graeme Jennings | Pool | Reuters
Trump’s defense team denied that the former president incited the attack and argued that the former president’s rhetoric was protected under the First Amendment. His lawyers also described the trial as unconstitutional since Trump was no longer president.
“Democrats were obsessed with impeaching Mr. Trump from the very beginning of his term,” Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen said in closing arguments.
“In short, this impeachment has been a complete charade from beginning to end. The entire spectacle has been nothing but the unhinged pursuit of a longstanding political vendetta against Mr. Trump by the opposition party,” he added.
Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland urged senators to consider what he described as “overwhelming,” “irrefutable” and “unrefuted” evidence during his closing remarks.
“This trial, in the final analysis, is not about Donald Trump. The country and the world know who Donald Trump is. This trial is about who we are,” Raskin said.