Former U.S. President Donald J Trump for a second time escaped impeachment by the Senate.
The Senate voted 57-43 to acquit him on Saturday, with the vote falling short of the two-thirds or 67 needed to impeach him for inciting riots at Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021.
The Trump’s defense team had rested their case Friday after making less than three hours of arguments in his Senate impeachment trial. House Democrats took up two days, including presentations of harrowing footage of last month’s Capitol riot.
The trial then moved into the question and answer phase, with members of the Senate submitted questions for both sides.
Trump’s lawyers argued that an impeachment trial of a former president is unconstitutional — a point legal experts dispute. They also say the former president’s speech at a rally that preceded the violence at the Capitol, in which he riled up the crowd with repeated false claims of election fraud, is protected by the First Amendment.
Democratic House impeachment managers made the case Thursday that the mob of Trump supporters who ransacked the Capitol believed they were doing so at his direction. The managers methodically documented how rioters echoed the exact words of Trump while they stormed the building, and how, once inside, many of them said they were acting at his behest.
Managers went on to play a series of clips of times Trump explicitly called on his supporters to commit violent acts, or expressed support for violent groups, which they said showed a “pattern and practice of inciting violence.”
Read the latest updates below:
19h ago / 9:05 PM EST
Trump impeachment trial highlights: Defense team rests case
SHARE THIS —
Dartunorro Clark and Julie Tsirkin
19h ago / 8:57 PM EST
Trump’s defense team confident ahead of closing arguments
Bruce Castor, one of President’s Trump defense attorneys, said their arguments today at the Senate impeachment trial “went exactly as planned.”
Castor said he plans for his closing argument to be concise, and if the House managers plan to call witnesses the defense team would also call their own witnesses.
The team was criticized by pundits on both sides for their free-wheeling presentation earlier this week but declined to tell reporters if the president was pleased with the defense team’s presentation today.
“I think he would have let me know if he was displeased,” Castor told reporters as he was leaving the Capitol.
Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers put up a pugnacious if brief defense presentation in his impeachment trial Friday, saying his rally speech before the Capitol riot was “ordinary political rhetoric” and blasting the proceedings as a “sham” fueled by Democrats’ “political hatred” for the ex-president.
Parts of the attorneys’ presentation invoked the former president’s language and arguments, with his lawyers charging that Trump’s second impeachment trial is “constitutional cancel culture” while making numerous false claims.
During the question-and-answer session, however, the lawyers wouldn’t say when Trump discovered the Capitol had been breached on Jan. 6 and what, if anything, he did to stop it.