On February 13, the United States Senate voted 57-43 to impeach former President Donald Trump on the grounds of incitement of an insurrection. The vote, which saw seven Republicans and all Democrats vote to convict, was shy of the 66 votes needed for a conviction, yet it was the most bipartisan impeachment trial in history.
House managers, who acted as prosecutors in the trial, argued that Trump’s rhetoric would lead to more violence even after his leaving office. Additionally, they argued that Trump’s actions required formal accountability and that these actions should disqualify him from ever running for future political offices.
Meanwhile, Republicans and Trump’s legal team argued that it was pointless to convict a president no longer in office, with some even questioning the constitutionality of the trial even after a Senate vote to determine constitutionality.
The trial, which lasted only five days, featured video evidence of rioters from the January 6 Capitol riots chanting violent threats to lawmakers and even former Vice President Mike Pence. Pence, along with a few members of his family, were hiding only 100 feet from rioters.
The charge for incitement of insurrection stems largely from Trump’s comments at a rally prior to the attack on the Capitol, where he urged supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell” against what he claimed to be widespread voter fraud and a stolen election, according to Reuters.
Former President Trump issued a statement at the conclusion of the trial, thanking his lawyers and supporters in Congress.
Michigan senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both Democrats, issued statements on the impeachment trial result, according to the Detroit Free Press. Senator Stabenow said in part, “He inspired, encouraged, and incited a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in order to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote. And then he did nothing to stop the violence, which caused massive injury and loss of life. This wasn’t just an attack on a building. It was an attack on all of the people who work there. It was an attack on our form of government. It was an attack on our Constitution. It was an attack on We the People. This bipartisan vote sent an important message: In America, no President is above the law. And inciting violence against the government is illegal and dangerous.”
Senator Peters added, “After carefully listening to all the evidence presented in this trial, it is overwhelmingly clear that Donald Trump violated his oath of office by inciting a violent, deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol and our democracy. The facts show that Trump intentionally promoted false conspiracies—including here in Michigan—that provoked an assault on the peaceful transfer of power. The bipartisan vote to hold Trump accountable in both the House and the Senate reflects the gravity of his misconduct.”
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