Tuesday, March 2, 2021

‘Political cowardice’: US reacts to Trump impeachment acquittal

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Democratic Party legislators and different public figures within the United States have reacted with indignation to the outcomes of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, after the US Senate discovered Trump not responsible of “inciting” a lethal riot on Capitol Hill final month.

In a Saturday afternoon vote that fell largely alongside social gathering traces, the Senate voted 57-43 in opposition to impeaching the previous Republican president.

The US House of Representatives impeached Trump in January for “incitement of insurrection” in relation to the lethal storming of the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who voted to question Trump on Saturday, slammed his Republican colleagues for failing to convict the ex-president, accusing them of placing “the fleeting politics of the moment” forward of their oath to defend the US Constitution.

“In private, they complain about feeling trapped by President Trump’s poisonous grip on the Republican Party and yet refused to free themselves by voting to bar him from running for future office,” Menendez mentioned in a press release after the vote.

“This is pure political cowardice and I fear their refusal to hold Donald Trump accountable will have lasting negative and even dangerous consequences for the future of our country.”

2021 02 13T210902Z 672891160 RC2WRL9YG0WE RTRMADP 3 USA TRUMP IMPEACHMENTThe US Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump by a vote of 57 to 43 on Saturday [US Senate TV/Handout via Reuters]

‘Witch hunt’

Trump’s authorized workforce had rejected Democrats’ effort to question the previous president, calling the trial “ludicrous” and unconstitutional as a result of Trump is now not in workplace.

“Mr Trump is innocent of the charges against him,” mentioned Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen in his closing arguments on Saturday afternoon. “The act of incitement never happened.”

In a press release after the vote, Trump – the one US president to ever be impeached twice – known as the Senate trial “yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country” and promised his Make America Great Again motion would proceed.

Other Republican legislators, in addition to Trump supporters within the US and overseas, welcomed the outcomes of the impeachment vote.

“I was against the Senate taking jurisdiction in this trial from the start,” mentioned Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who voted to acquit Trump and mentioned the incitement cost “was merely a rushed act of partisan retribution”.

“NOT GUILTY. Now maybe it would be nice if the senators stopped putting on show trials for free air time and actually started working for the American people for a change,” Donald Trump Jr tweeted.

“Thank goodness the second attempt to impeach Trump is over,” right-wing British politician Nigel Farage additionally mentioned on Twitter. “The Donald can now fight again.”

Bipartisan effort

But the House impeachment managers, who led the prosecution in opposition to Trump through the Senate trial, mentioned their effort was successful regardless of the outcomes.

“This was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment event in the history of the country,” House supervisor Jamie Raskin mentioned throughout a information convention after the vote.

“We have a clear and convincing majority of members of Congress that the president actually incited violent insurrection against the Union and against the Congress,” he mentioned.

Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting to convict Trump, together with Senator Ben Sasse, who mentioned he had promised to “always vote [his] conscience even if it was against the partisan stream”.

“I cannot go back on my word and Congress cannot lower our standards on such a grave matter, simply because it is politically convenient,” Sasse mentioned in a press release.

Some political observers criticised the Democratic Party, nevertheless, for failing to name witnesses within the trial after House impeachment managers indicated they wished to compel witnesses earlier on Saturday.

Instead, a deal was reached between Democrats and Republicans within the Senate to enter a press release by Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler detailing a dialog between Trump and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy through the riot.

But Raskin mentioned that “no number of witnesses” would have satisfied sufficient Republicans to vote for impeachment.

“They were hinging it on a matter of law,” he mentioned through the information convention, referring to a declare made by Republican lawmakers that Trump couldn’t be impeached since he’s not in workplace. That argument has been rejected by constitutional students.

Party divided

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in opposition to impeaching Trump. But moments later, he mentioned on the Senate flooring that, “there is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day”.

McConnell justified his vote by saying Trump couldn’t be impeached as a result of he’s now not president.

But the Kentucky legislator blocked efforts to begin the impeachment trial in January when Trump was nonetheless within the White House – a incontrovertible fact that drew widespread criticism from Democrats and different observers.

“It is so pathetic that Senator McConnell kept the Senate shut down so that the Senate could not receive the article of impeachment and has used that as his excuse for not voting to convict Donald Trump,” Democratic House Speak Nancy Pelosi mentioned.

“It is truly sad and dangerous that only 7 Republicans voted to convict a president who is promoting a Big Lie, conspiracy theories and violence, and is aggressively trying to destroy American democracy,” Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted.

Al Jazeera’s Andy Gallacher, reporting from West Palm Beach, Florida, mentioned most Trump supporters have remained staunchly within the former president’s nook and weren’t swayed by any of the allegations introduced within the US Senate trial in opposition to him.

Gallacher mentioned a wrestle is beneath means between institution Republicans and pro-Trump Republicans over the social gathering’s future.

“Donald Trump continues to cast a long and dark shadow over this party,” he reported.

“Mitch McConnell’s speech, as powerful as it was, doesn’t really put off the statement that this is Donald Trump’s Republican Party … It seems to belong to one man for now.”


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