Former President Donald Trump has been acquitted in his second impeachment trial, for “incitement of insurrection”, following his involvement in the Capitol riots on January 6th. The senate voted 57-43 in favour of impeachment, but was still 10 votes short of the two thirds majority necessary.
Every Democrat voted in favour of impeachment along with seven Republicans, the largest bipartisan support ever seen in a presidential impeachment trial. This result demonstrates that, while Trump may no longer be president, he continues to hold influence over his party. Speaking about the trial, congressman Jaime Raskin said “If this is not a high crime and misdemeanor against the United States of America then nothing is, President Trump must be convicted, for the safety and democracy of our people.”
Minority leader Mitch McConnell accused Trump of being “practically, and morally, responsible for provoking the events of the day”, in a “disgraceful dereliction of duty”. However, he still chose to vote against convicting Trump, stating that the former President is still “liable for everything he did while he’s in office,” and “He didn’t get away with anything yet”.
Despite the failed impeachment trial, the controversy surrounding Trump’s involvement in the attacks on the Capitol is far from over. Democratic congressman Bennie Thompson and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump, and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. They argue that Trump and Giuliani, along with the extremist groups the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, were responsible for inciting the attack on January 6th. By conspiring to do so with the aim of preventing the peaceful transition of power to the new President, they were in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act. The law was passed in 1871, following Klan violence and intimidation against congresspeople, with the aim of preventing conspiracies.
The lawsuit states: “The carefully orchestrated series of events that unfolded at the Save America rally and the storming of the Capitol was no accident or coincidence,
“It was the intended and foreseeable culmination of a carefully coordinated campaign to interfere with the legal process required to confirm the tally of votes cast in the Electoral College.”
It argues that Trump “endorsed rather than discouraged” these acts of violence.