The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump continued Thursday with House Democrats concluding opening arguments in their case that he incited the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
As they did the day before, the prosecutors presented more video evidence, and argued events before Jan. 6, such as the siege on the Michigan Statehouse, served as a “dress rehearsal” for the insurrection. They also used the words of the Capitol rioters to emphasize Trump’s role in the attack.
The trial will resume at noon Friday when the former president’s lawyers will have up to 16 hours to present his defense.
Yahoo News is providing an uninterrupted live stream of the proceedings as well as instant analysis from our reporters at the trial in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.
Where things stand
• The U.S. Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump of impeachment on Saturday, concluding a five-day trial that began Tuesday.
• The Senate needed two-thirds of the 100-member body to vote against Trump in order to convict him of the charge he incited the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, but fell short with 57 members finding him guilty and 43 finding him not guilty.
• Seven Republicans joined all 48 Democrats and two independents in voting to convict Trump: 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.
• In a statement, Trump called the trial “another phase in the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”
Biden: 'This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile'
On Saturday night, hours after former President Donald Trump was acquitted, the White issued this statement attributed to President Biden, who is spending his first weekend as president at Camp David:
Statement by President Joe Biden on the Senate Vote in the Trial of Donald Trump
It was nearly two weeks ago that Jill and I paid our respects to Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who laid in honor in the Rotunda after losing his life protecting the Capitol from a riotous, violent mob on January 6, 2021.
Today, 57 Senators — including a record 7 Republicans — voted to find former President Trump guilty for inciting that deadly insurrection on our very democracy. The Senate vote followed the bipartisan vote to impeach him by the House of Representatives. While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute. Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate Minority Leader McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the violence unleashed on the Capitol.
Tonight, I am thinking about those who bravely stood guard that January day. I’m thinking about all those who lost their lives, all those whose lives were threatened, and all those who are still today living with terror they lived through that day. And I’m thinking of those who demonstrated the courage to protect the integrity of our democracy — Democrats and Republicans, election officials and judges, elected representatives and poll workers — before and after the election.
This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism has no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.
That is how we end this uncivil war and heal the very soul of our nation. That is the task ahead. And it’s a task we must undertake together. As the United States of America.
McConnell tears into Trump despite voting to acquit him
Yahoo News Senior Political Correspondent Jon Ward reports from Capitol Hill:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., issued a blistering speech on the Senate floor just after the vote in which he lashed out at Trump and said he held him directly and uniquely responsible for the riotous insurrection.
“There is no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it,” McConnell said. “The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”
McConnell went through the defenses mounted by Trump’s attorneys, dismissing each. He expressed agreement with many of the House manager’s arguments.
McConnell also dismissed the Trump attorneys' claim that impeachment was an attempt “to disenfranchise 74 million-plus American voters” who voted for Trump in the 2020 election.
“That’s an absurd deflection,” McConnell said. “Seventy-four million Americans did not invade the Capitol. Hundreds of rioters did. Seventy-four million Americans did not engineer the campaign of disinformation and rage. ... One person did. Just one.”
But in the end, after “intense reflection,” McConnell said he ended up concluding the Constitution did not allow the Senate to convict a former president. The irony is that McConnell on Jan. 13 rejected the notion of beginning the Senate trial immediately while Trump was still president.
An image of former President Donald Trump appears on video screens before his rally that preceded the deadly insurrection on Jan. 6. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images)
Trump after impeachment vote: 'Another phase of the greatest witch hunt'
Moments after his acquittal, former President Donald Trump's office released this statement on his behalf:
Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America
I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth.
My deepest thanks as well to all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country.
Our cherished Constitutional Republic was founded on the impartial rule of law, the indispensable safeguard for our liberties, our rights and our freedoms.
It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree. I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.
This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago.
I also want to convey my gratitude to the millions of decent, hardworking, law-abiding, God-and-Country loving citizens who have bravely supported these important principles in these very difficult and challenging times.
Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.
In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!
We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future.
Together there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
We remain one People, one family, and one glorious nation under God, and it’s our responsibility to preserve this magnificent inheritance for our children and for generations of Americans to come.
May God bless all of you, and may God forever bless the United States of America.
Breaking: Senate votes to acquit former President Trump
For the second time in 13 months, the Senate on Saturday voted to acquit former President Donald Trump of impeachment.
The Senate needed two-thirds of the 100-member body to vote against Trump in order to convict him of the charge he incited the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, but fell short with 57 members finding him guilty and 43 finding him not guilty.
All 48 Democrats, both independents and seven Republicans voted against Trump.
The GOP senators who voted to convict Trump were 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.
Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict at Trump's first impeachment trial while both Burr and Toomey are set to retire at the end of their current terms.
The trial began Tuesday but wrapped up quickly after Trump's defense team kept their arguments short and Democrats opted not to push for witnesses earlier Saturday.
Democrats closing argument: Trump 'must pay the price' for inciting insurrection
Raskin (via Reuters TV)
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the lead impeachment manager for House Democrats, concluded their case where it began: with an argument that former President Donald Trump incited the violent mob that breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, leaving five people dead and dozens injured.
"We are defending the U.S. senate and U.S. House against a president who acted no better than a marauder and a member of that mob by inciting those people to come here and in many ways he was worse," Raskin said. "He named the date. He named the time. He brought them here and now he must pay the price."
Trump defense begins closing arguments, say Democrats 'violently breached' due process
Van der Veen (via Reuters TV)
Former President Donald Trump's defense counsel began their closing arguments by stating they would not be going nearly as long as their counterparts, although they have up to two hours available. The Democratic impeachment managers reserved 28 minutes they could still potentially use.
Michael van der Veen, one of Trump's lawyers, began his closing statement by complaining that the House Democrats did not follow due process in presenting their closing arguments by allegedly introducing new video evidence that wasn't shown previously.
"It's a basic fundamental principle of due process and fairness," van der Veen said. "And that was violently breached today."