In Trump’s acquittal, a historic rebuke by his own party

Published on Feb 14, 2021 06:47 PM IST

Apart from Trump, only two US presidents, Andrew Johnson (1868) and Bill Clinton (1998), have faced impeachment trial in Senate.

Trump’s impeachment vote was the most bipartisan ever in favour of a president’s removal.(AP File Photo )
Trump’s impeachment vote was the most bipartisan ever in favour of a president’s removal.(AP File Photo )
By | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi

Former US president Donald Trump was on Saturday acquitted of inciting the January 6 Capitol riots but ended up being yet another “first in the history of the United States”, a phrase he remained fixated with during his four-year term. Trump’s impeachment trial was already a historic event as he was the first US president to face a second impeachment trial and the first former president ever to face an impeachment trial. However, these two firsts were achieved by Trump even before the Senate voted on the one article of impeachment - “Incitement of Insurrection”.

In the previous impeachment trial, Trump administration was accused of withholding $400 million in military aid, approved by Congress and the Pentagon, to Ukraine and pressurising President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into his Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. On February 5, 2020, Trump was acquitted from the charges and Senator Mitt Romney was the only Republican member who voted to convict the president on one charge of "Abuse of Power”.

Although the former president was once again acquitted by the Senate on the charges of “Incitement of Insurrection”, it was a historic rebuke of a president by his own party as seven Republican senators joined Democrats to convict Trump. The evenly split US Senate voted 57-43 in favour of the article of impeachment, falling 10 votes short of the two-thirds of the Senate required to convict the Republican leader.

Read | Donald Trump indicates active public life after second impeachment acquittal

The seven Republicans, who joined all Democrats, and two independent senators to vote in favour of Trump’s conviction were Susan Collins, Patrick J Toomey, Richard Burr, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, Bill Cassidy and Mitt Romney. It was in sharp contrast with the past impeachment votes when the party rallied behind its president to help him acquit of all the charges.

Apart from Trump, only two presidents, Andrew Johnson (1868) and Bill Clinton (1998), have faced impeachment trial in Senate. While Johnson, a Democrat, was acquitted with the help of seven Republicans voting against the conviction, all 45 Democrats rallied behind Clinton to acquit him of impeachment charges. In this context, Trump’s impeachment vote was the most bipartisan ever in favour of a president’s conviction and removal.

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