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Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on January 13. That was exactly a week after a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. The charge said that he acted to incite his followers to rise up against the government. The charge was then sent to the Senate for a vote on whether to convict him.
On February 13, 57 senators voted to convict Trump. All Democrats and Independents voted to convict him. Seven Republicans joined them. The other 43 Republicans voted to acquit him. The votes of two-thirds of senators, or 67, are needed for a conviction.
Trump is the only president to be impeached twice and face trial in the Senate. The Senate also voted to acquit him in his first impeachment trial. Trump also is the only president to be impeached after leaving office.
The Senate trial lasted five days. A legal team from the House presented what they said was proof that Trump caused the attack.
The January 6 riot and attack on the Capitol building stunned the world. It happened as lawmakers held an official count of election ballots from each state.
The count happens after each presidential election. It is part of the peaceful transfer of power from one U.S. leader to another.
Trump announced an event on that same day. He gave a speech that told the crowd to “fight like hell” to change the results of the election. Trump lost to President Joe Biden in November.
The crowd then attacked the Capitol. They fought with police. Lawmakers and their staff members fled for their lives. Many people were seriously hurt. Five people died, including a police officer.
The House legal team showed shocking video from that day. They also showed video of Trump claiming that the election was “stolen” from him. They said Trump knew he was urging his followers to fight for him. They said he did nothing to stop them during the attack.
Trump also had a legal team. They argued that his words were not meant to start the violence.
Senators act as jurors in an impeachment trial. But this trial was unusual. The senators also were witnesses to the attack. The videos showed how close they came to being hurt. They also showed that the nation’s democratic system was in danger.
Most senators in Trump’s party said they had reasons to acquit him. Some said they did not think he was fully to blame for the attack. Others said that impeachment is not the way to deal with a leader no longer in office.
Mitch McConnell is a Republican senator from Kentucky. He also is the leader of his party in the Senate.
McConnell voted to acquit Trump. He does not think the Senate has the power to put a president who has left the White House on trial. But he gave a speech when the trial was over. He said Trump was to blame for the actions of his supporters on January 6.
“These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flag, and screaming their loyalty to him,” McConnell said. “It was so obvious that only President Trump could end this.
“He was the only one.”
SOURCES: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, THE WASHINGTON POST
From the archive:
Trump Impeached for a Second Time (1/14/2021)