Trump Acquitted Of Charges In Congress

On Feb. 13, 2021, Congress voted on whether former U.S. President Donald Trump was guilty of inciting the insurrection at Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021, and voted 57-43 to acquit him of all charges.


Julia Galway

With a vote of 57-43, Congressional Democrats were ten votes needed short to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection in Congress.

Ensuing from the second impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump was an acquittal from Congress, only 10 votes short of the threshold needed to impeach him in the Senate. On Jan. 13, 2021, The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump, with the vote then being passed onto the Senate where they needed a ⅔ majority– or 67 votes– in order to impeach him in the Senate. This became the second instance where Trump had been impeached, but not charged through the Senate. 


The question at hand was whether Trump was to blame for the insurrection at Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021, where pro-Trump advocates infiltrated the Capitol Building in order to halt the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election, where President Biden was officially declared the winner of the general election. This was heavily disputed in Congress, along with the Trump legal team raising concerns over whether it was within their constitutional rights to move forward with the trial as Trump was no longer president by the time the Senate voted. 


Though, according to the National Constitution Center, the question had already been answered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in an issued guidance depicting that if the trial continued after Trump’s term that the Senate had the right to proceed with the trial. There had been multiple historical events that set a precedent in cases similar like this, such as the impeachment trial of War Secretary, William Belknap, in 1876.


Despite this, the question of whether Trump was to blame for the insurrection on Jan. 6 remained. Antioch Community High School senior Connor Reinwald agreed with the majority of Senators and Representatives. 


“He should have been found guilty,” said Reinwald. “He waited hours to respond, and even when he did he prefaced it by saying that, ‘he didn’t lose the election,’… by him saying this, it allowed the rioters to continue the assault and passively told them to maintain the belief that they should keep fighting.” 


In a difference of opinions, Antioch alumni Chris Penn disagreed that he should have been found guilty. 


“I think once the House voted to impeach, he should’ve been acquitted,” Penn said. “If Trump had incited the violence, a lot more people would’ve been violent… [We] are basing our rebuttals to the impeachment on assumptions.”


According to NBC News, Trump said this particular instance had been, “‘Yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.’” 

Though the impeachment trial could only be the first step in the legal processes to come for former President Trump. According to the Associated Press, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell believed the courts were a more appropriate avenue to hold Trump accountable over the events on Jan. 6. Though the acquittal was a good sign for the Trump legal team, this could be the first step of many they have to take in response to the Capitol insurrection.