Watch live: Senate acquits Trump in impeachment trial
GOP senate leader Mitch McConnell and seven Republicans who voted to convict Donald Trump face a fractured party that the former president intends to mould in his image and mount a political comeback with the looming 2022 midterm elections.
Mr Trump was acquitted by the US Senate following his impeachment for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on 6 January, though a bipartisan majority vote of 57-43 that found him guilty was shy of a two-thirds majority vote to secure a conviction.
The former president proclaimed in the hours after his second impeachment trial that his “Make American Great Again” movement “has only just begun”.
On Sunday, Lindsey Graham declared Mr Trump is “ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party” as he proclaimed the former president’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump “the future” of a GOP that has shed accountability for the deadly insurrection.
The senator claimed Republicans will attempt to impeach Vice President Kamala Harris if the GOP takes control of the House of Representatives in 2022, claiming that the trial “opened Pandora’s Box to future presidents”.
Republican senators who broke from the party to side with Democrats faced backlash at home – two senators were censured by their state party officials, and Mr Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr and his base have attacked them as “RINOs” and “traitors” following their vote.
While Mr McConnell voted with Republicans against convicting Mr Trump, he condemned his “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and said he is “practically and morally responsible” for his supporters’ assault on the Capitol.
Mr Graham said his “got a load off his chest, obviously, but unfortunately he put a load on the back of Republicans” with potential for negative adverts ahead of critical midterm elections.
“That speech you will see in 2022 campaigns,” Mr Graham told Fox News.
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live blog following the latest on US politics as we track the aftermath of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial acquittal.
Chantal Da Silva14 February 2021 08:58
Trump seeks to rally supporters, saying: ‘We have so much work ahead’
In the wake of his impeachment trial acquittal, former President Donald Trump sought to rally his supporters, telling them he would have more news on the “Make America Great Again” movement in the “months ahead”.
In a statement following his acquittal, the former president told supporters: “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.”
“In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!” he said.
“We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future,” the former president continued. “Together there is nothing we cannot accomplish.”
“We remain one People, one family, and one glorious nation under God, and it’s our responsibility to preserve this magnificent inheritance for our children and for generations of Americans to come,” Mr Trump added.
Chantal Da Silva14 February 2021 09:06
Trump’s family celebrates ex-president’s acquittal
Donald Trump’s family members welcomed the news of his acquittal on Saturday, with the former president’s son Donald Trump Jr hailing his father as a “back-to-back impeachment champ” with a meme shared on Twitter.
Sharing the meme showing the former president’s face superimposed onto Sylvester Stallone’s body from Rocky III, Mr Trump Jr accused “the establishment” of trying to block his father from “ever running again”.
“When the establishment hates you and wants to prevent you from ever running again you know you’re doing something right,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Eric Trump simply posted the message: “2-0”, suggesting the “Make America Great Again” movement is far from over for the Trump family.
Alex Woodward has on reactions from the Trump family and supporters here:
Chantal Da Silva14 February 2021 09:12
Mary Trump laments uncle’s impeachment trial acquittal
Mary Trump, a nice of former President Donald Trump, lamented the outcome of her uncle’s impeachment trial on Saturday.
In a tweet, the former president’s niece questioned why it felt like Democrats did not have “power” despite being the Senate majority.
“Why does it feel like when the republicans have the majority the democratic minority has no power and when the republicans are in the minority the democratic majority has no power?” Ms Trump, an outspoken critic of the former president, wrote.
Just seven Senate Republicans joined Democrats in voting to convict Mr Trump for inciting the mob that attacked the US Capitol Building on 6 January, resulting in a 57-43 vote.
Chantal Da Silva14 February 2021 09:29
Pelosi condemns ‘cowardly group of Republicans’ over Trump acquittal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has condemned the Republicans responsible for seeing former President Donald Trump acquitted of trying to incite a deadly insurrection on 6 January.
After just seven GOP senators joined Democrats in voting to convict Mr Trump, Ms Pelosi said the majority who voted to acquit him were a “cowardly group”.
“What we saw in the Senate today was a cowardly group of Republicans who apparently have no options, because they were afraid to defend their job, respect the institution in which they serve,” Ms Pelosi said on Saturday.
Alex Woodward has more on the House speaker’s comments:
Chantal Da Silva14 February 2021 09:35
GOP Sen Lisa Murkowski stands defiant over decision to vote in favor of convicting Trump
GOP Sen Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has suggested that she would not feel right asking voters to stand with her had she not voted in favor of convicting President Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial on Saturday.
“If I can’t say what I believe that our president should stand for, then why should I ask Alaskans to stand with me?” the Alaska senator told reporters, according to AP. In addition to Ms Murkowski, six other Republican senators voted against Trump, including: Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Chantal Da Silva14 February 2021 09:44
‘#Trump2024’ and ‘#LeaveTheGOP’ trend on Twitter following former president’s acquittal
The hashtags “#Trump2024” and “#LeaveTheGOP” were trending on Twitter in the hours after former President Donald Trump was acquitted of inciting a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol Building on 6 January.
While many tweets sharing the “#Trump2024” hashtag called on the former president to attempt a political comeback by running in the next presidential election, a large share also appeared to be mocking the push for Mr Trump’s return.
Among those tweeting in favor of a Trump comeback was Sebastian Gorka, who served as a deputy assistant to Trump:
Other Twitter users condemned the former president and used the hashtag to urge against a comeback:
Meanwhile, the “#LeaveTheGOP” hashtag trended as MoveOn, a progressive public policy advocacy group and political action committee, called on Republicans to part ways with the party following Mr Trump’s acquittal.
Chantal Da Silva14 February 2021 09:58
GOP party faces ‘Catch:22’ over Trump, Republican strategist says
The Republican party faces a “real Catch:22” when it comes to its stance on former President Donald Trump, who was acquitted of inciting the deadly mob that attacked the US Capitol Building in January, a GOP strategist has said.
“It’s hard to imagine Republicans winning national elections without Trump supporters anytime soon,” Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and aide to Senator Marco Rubio during his 2016 presidential primary race against Mr Trump told Reuters.
“The party is facing a real Catch 22: it can’t win with Trump but it’s obvious it can’t win without him either,” he said.
Just seven Republican senators voted in favor of convicting Mr Trump on Saturday, with the majority voting to acquit the former president.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell was among those who voted to acquit Mr Trump. However, he said he believed the former president was “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the 6 January insurrection at the Capitol.
Citing sources close to Mr McConnell, CNN had reported that the Senate minority leader did not believe it was right for the Senate to pursue a trial for someone who had already left office.
Chantal Da Silva14 February 2021 10:20
Mitt Romney: Trump used the power of his office to incite deadly mob
GOP Sen Mitt Romney of Utah has explained why he joined six other Republican senators in voting to convict former President Donald Trump for inciting a deadly insurrection on 6 January.
While Mr Trump was acquitted in Saturday’s Senate impeachment vote, Mr Romney said he believes the former president used the power of his office to incite the mob that attacked the US Capitol Building last month.
“After careful consideration of the respective counsels’ arguments, I have concluded that President Trump is guilty of the charge made by the House of Representatives,” he said, in a statement shared on Twitter.
President Trump incited the insurrection against Congress by using the power of his office to summon his supporters to Washington on January 6th and urging them to march on the Capitol during the counting of electoral votes,” Mr Romney asserted.
“He did this despite the obvious and well known threats of violence that day,” he continued.
The Utah senator said Mr Trump also violated his oath of office by “failing to protect the Capitol, the Vice President, and others in the Capitol”.
He also said he believed Mr Trump had earlier on “attempted to corrupt the election by pressuring the Secretary of State of Georgia to falsify the election results in his state.”
“Each and every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction,” he said.
Chantal Da Silva14 February 2021 10:58
Mitch McConnell has ‘indicted’ himself for an ‘even greater dereliction of duty’ than Trump, Adam Schiff says
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California has struck out at GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing the Republican of having indicted himself in his own comments condemning former President Donald Trump’s actions in the lead-up to the 6 January attack on the US Capitol Building.
“Watching McConnell’s harsh indictment of Donald Trump for his lies and incitement, for his lack of remorse and dereliction of duty, I couldn’t help but think of how much McConnell indicts himself for an even greater dereliction of duty: Failing to hold Trump accountable,” Mr Schiff said in a tweet.
On Saturday, Mr McConnell voted to acquit Mr Trump of inciting the deadly mob that attacked the US Capitol Building last month. However, he issued a stunning rebuke of the former president, asserting that he believed Mr Trump was “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the attack.
According to reporting from CNN, the senate minority leader voted in favor of Mr Trump’s acquittal because he believed it was not right for the Senate to hold an impeachment trial after a president had left office.
Chantal Da Silva14 February 2021 11:18
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