Republican Senators called out after acquitting Trump

(The Senate acquits Donald Trump)

Saturday, the Senate acquitted twice-impeached Donald. J. Trump on the single charge of inciting the insurrection and deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6. The vote was 57 – 43 in the historic trial, but Democrats needed two-thirds majority needed to convict. The Republican minority, as expected, did not deliver.

Except for the Magnificent 7 Republicans — Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) – the vote was along party lines, capping off the lightning-fast trial. While there was a push by House Impeachment managers for witness testimony, Senate Democrat leaders reportedly denied the request.

“While a majority of the U.S. Senate has voted to convict Trump for his constitutional crimes, the Senate has failed to muster the two-thirds vote needed to convict him for crimes to which the senators themselves were eyewitnesses,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of consumer watchdog group Public Citizen. “So, this day, Feb. 13, 2021, will… be remembered for all American history as a stain on our history.”

Throughout the week of proceedings, many Republican senators didn’t bother trying to maintain even the appearance of upholding their oaths to act as impartial jurors in the trial.

As Common Dreams reported, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah)—each of whom voted to acquit Trump—met with the former president’s lawyers on Thursday to discuss “legal strategy.” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who also voted to acquit the twice-impeached former president, referred to Trump’s defense team as “our side” when speaking to the press earlier this week.

“A lawless attempt to retain power by a president was one of the founders’ greatest fears,” Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey said after the vote, later adding, “His betrayal of the Constitution and his oath of office required conviction.”

“The Republican senators who voted to acquit are cowards and fascists, and that is all their party stands for today,” Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) tweeted Saturday.

Reactions to the Republicans were quick and damning.

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McConnell Defends His Vote

After joining his 45 Republican partners in crime in voting to acquit former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did something unexpected – – he took to the Senate floor and explained why Trump was guilty.

“There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day,” Mcconnell said. “The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And their having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”

The speech was powerful and forceful, but relatively meaningless as the House Minority Leader voted to acquit Trump. His attempt to strike a balance between voting in Trump’s favor and verbally condemning him was an epic fail.

“Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty,” the House Minority Leader said. He then implied that Trump was not off the hook just yet with criminal and civil investigations looming.

McConnell claimed the former president is “constitutionally not eligible for conviction,” citing the argument made by Trump’s lawyers that because the Senate trial occurred after Trump left office, it was improperly held. And he blamed the House of Representatives for this fact: “Donald Trump was the President when the House voted, though not when the House chose to deliver the papers.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking after McConnell’s remarks, eagerly rebutted this claim: “When this distinguished group of House managers were gathered on Jan. 15 to deliver the articles of impeachment, we’re told it could not be received because Mitch McConnell had shut down the Senate. And was going to keep it shut down until the inauguration.”

Social Media was not kind to McConnell.