On Saturday Feb. 13, the Senate voted to acquit former President Trump in his second impeachment trial. The vote was 57-43, short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
This vote was almost identical to the vote held Feb. 9 on the constitutionality of holding an impeachment trial for a former president.
The Senate was not expected to gain enough Republicans to convict.
“The partisan lines are quite stark these days,” said Professor Gary Rose, advisor for Club Republicans.
“I think the [Republican] Senators know that Trump is at least partially responsible, but they won’t act on it because they don’t want Trump and his supporters to be mad at them,” said freshman Brian Fosey, member of Club Democrats.
Many argued that the impeachment trial in the House of Representatives was flawed because of the lack of due process.
“Impeaching a president should never be done in such a rapid fashion,” said Rose. “However, the trial within the Senate appears to be following proper protocols.”
Seven Republicans joined Democrats in their voting. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania all voted to convict Trump.
In the future, there may be consequences for these votes.
“It is possible that when some of them come up for reelection, they will face a primary by pro-Trump Republicans,” said Rose. “Their votes to convict will not be forgotten.”
The trial, which was expected to last through February, came to a close after just five days.
“I suspect that the Senate’s Democratic leadership knew what the outcome would be,” said Rose. “So they decided to move quickly and get back to normal business.”
Although the Senate did vote to allow witnesses, no witnesses were brought forward after Trump’s legal team threatened to call dozens of witnesses to drag out the duration of the trial.
Witnesses most likely would not have affected the outcome of the trial.
“It would have been interesting for the general public to hear some high profile people’s perspectives,” said Fosey. “But, most Senators already had their minds made up.”
The verdict is certain to affect politics in the future.
“I think America is never going back to what we thought was normal before the Trump presidency,” said Professor David Luesink, advisor for Club Democrats.
This trial will also affect Trump’s future role in the GOP. Since he was found not guilty, he will not be barred from running for office again.
“Trump has been the center of the GOP since 2016,” said Rose. “So I’m interested in watching and studying what will become of the Republican party in the post-Trump era.”
Some are worried about the possibility of Trump running for president in 2024.
“If Donald Trump were to run for office again and lose, think of what he would do,” said Fosey. “It would be deadly, disastrous, cataclysmic.”
With a deep divide between parties, it is possible that this trial will push Republicans to submit articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden.
“If the Republicans take the House [of Representatives]in the next election, I think it is almost certain that they will try to impeach Biden for anything they can think of,” said Luesink.