Former US President Donald Trump was has been acquitted by the Senate of inciting the deadly riot at the US Capitol.
A two-thirds majority of the 100 senators was needed at Trump’s impeachment trial for conviction, but it fell short in a 57-43 vote.
Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting to convict.
“This trial wasn’t about choosing country over party, even not that this was about choosing country over Donald Trump and 43 Republican members chose Trump. They chose Trump,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said following the vote.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, was among those who voted to acquit the former president.
Explaining his decision in a floor speech after the vote, McConnell said Trump committed a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” by refusing to intervene as his supporters carried out a violent insurrection at the Capitol.
“There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically, and morally, responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said, before concluding that the Senate was never meant to serve as a “moral tribunal”.
McConnell also dismissed the Trump attorney’s 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. “74 million Americans did not invade the Capitol. Hundreds of rioters did. 74 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.