Former US President Donald Trump was on Saturday found not guilty in his impeachment trial.
Although the final vote was 57 ‘guilty’, 43 ‘not guilty’, there only needed to be 34 ‘not guilty votes’ – that is a two-thirds majority – for acquittal.
Seven members of Mr. Trump’s own party (Senators Sasse, Romney, Burr, Collins, Murkowski, Toomey, and Cassidy) joining Democrats on the charge of incitement.
In a statement after the trial, Mr. Trump said it was “a sad commentary on our times” that the Democrats had been given a “free pass to transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree”.
He added: “I always have, and always will be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.
“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. ”
Mr Trump had been charged with “incitement of insurrection” over last month’s violence when the US Capitol was stormed by his supporters, just as Congress was attempting to ratify the 2020 election result.
Michael van der Veen, Mr. Trump’s lawyer said: “This whole spectacle has been nothing but the unhinged pursuit of a long-standing political vendetta against Mr. Trump by the opposition party.”
Just before the 6 January riots, thousands of his supporters gathered at a “Save America” rally on the National Mall, only minutes’ walk from the Capitol.
It had been organized to challenge the election result and Joe Biden’s win.
They listened as Mr. Trump spoke to them for 70 minutes, and at one point exhorted them to “fight like hell – or you’re not going to have a country anymore”.