Former US President Donald Trump was acquitted on Saturday on charges of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol.
Trump was acquitted after a majority of Senate Republicans closed ranks and refused to punish the former president in his historic second impeachment trial.
The five-day trial saw Democratic prosecutors argue — bolstered by a dramatic video of the January 6 riot — that Trump betrayed his oath by whipping up his supporters into storming Congress in a last-ditch attempt to cling to power.
It concluded as expected with a majority of Republicans declaring him not guilty, in a sign of the powerful grip the 74-year-old Trump continues to exert on his party.
But while the 57-43 majority that voted to convict fell short of the two-thirds needed in the Senate, seven Republicans joined with Democrats to seek Trump’s conviction, making it the most bipartisan impeachment trial in US history.
Trump, who has been secluded in his Florida club since leaving the office on January 20, welcomed the verdict — denouncing the proceedings as “yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”
Despite the stain of a second impeachment, Trump hinted at a possible political future, saying that “our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.”
“We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future,” he said in a statement.
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on January 13, a week after the chaotic assault that stunned the nation and provoked widespread bipartisan outrage.