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Trump acquitted of inciting Capitol riots despite 7 Republicans voting to convict him

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Former United States President Donald Trump has been acquitted of inciting riots at the Capitol Building on January 6 despite seven Republican Senators joining 50 Democrats in voting to convict him on Saturday.

The seven Republican votes were short of the 10 needed to convict as a two-thirds majority of 67 is required under the Constitution of the US.

While celebrating his victory, the former president released a statement thanking his supporters and teasing a continuation of his MAGA movement. In the statement, Trump thanked his legal team and decried his impeachment, tying the move to broader efforts made against him by Democrats during his term in office.

“This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country. No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago.”

Read also: Trump impeachment trial managers close case, defense to begin on Friday

The grip appeared to loosen slightly during the vote Saturday afternoon, when seven Republicans crossed party lines to vote for conviction, a sign of the rift the Capitol siege has caused within GOP ranks and the desire by some in the party to move on from Trump.

Still, the 57-to-43 vote, in which all Democrats and two independents voted against Trump fell far short of the two-thirds required to convict.

The tally came after Senators briefly upended the proceeding by voting to allow witnesses to reverse themselves amid Republican opposition and following hours of negotiations with House Democrats and Trump’s defense team.

The decision in the end to forgo testimony set the stage for Trump’s acquittal without a full accounting of his actions on the day of the invasion of the Capitol when Trump supporters hearken to his call to fight till the end and invaded the Capitol while Congress sat to ratify President Joe Biden’s November 3, 2020, election win.

On the final day of the impeachment trial, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, took aim at the Republicans who defended Trump because of his continuing popularity among GOP voters and their fears that Trump or his base could turn on them if they did not remain loyal.

Schumer appeared to be previewing a political argument that is likely to feature prominently in the 2022 election cycle.

“Just look what Republicans have been forced to defend. Look what Republicans have chosen to forgive,” Schumer said while addressing his colleagues.

Trump is the only US president to have been impeached twice by the House, which last year handed down articles of impeachment for his attempts to pressure Ukraine in hopes of damaging his then-rival, Biden, who would go on to defeat him in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump was impeached again by the Democratic-controlled House last month over his alleged role in inciting the deadly Capitol insurrection.

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