The Senate has acquitted former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial Saturday, voting that Trump was not guilty of inciting the deadly January 6 riots at the Capitol.
The vote was 43 not guilty to 57 guilty, short of the 67 guilty votes needed to convict. Seven Republican senators voted that Trump was guilty of incitement, but most Republicans argued that the trial itself was unconstitutional because Trump was no longer president, saying that fact trumped any evidence presented during the trial.
The final vote came quickly Saturday on the fifth day of the Senate trial after a surprise Democratic request for witnesses earlier Saturday threw the trial briefly into chaos.
The move to the trial’s finishing stages was a final twist after the House managers’ surprise request for witnesses had appeared to extend the trial indefinitely. The Senate voted 55 to 45 to consider witnesses — with five Republican joining Democrats — after the managers said they wanted to hear from Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Washington Republican who had told CNN new details about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s phone call with Trump. But after several hours of intense negotiations between Senate leaders, the managers and Trump’s legal team, the managers agreed to enter Herrera Beutler’s statement into the trial record as evidence and move forward without hearing from witnesses.