Socialist Worker

How Trump escaped in the Senate trial over Capitol riot

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2742

Donald Trump has been found not guilty in his second impeachment hearing

Donald Trump has been found not guilty in his second impeachment hearing (Pic: Flickr/ Gage Skidmore)


Former US president Donald has once again been acquitted following an impeachment trial by the Senate.

Trump escaped conviction last Saturday despite seven senators from his own Republican party voting to convict him.

He was charged with incitement of insurrection and subsequently impeached by the House of Representatives after last month’s far right assault on the US Capitol.

Under the US constitution, two thirds of the Senate was required to find him guilty. The 57 to 43 vote was not enough. At the “Save America” rally he told his supporters to “fight like hell—or you’re not going to have a country anymore”.

Evidence

In reply to the overwhelming evidence against Trump, his lawyer Michael Van der Veen ridiculously said that those involved included “fringe left” groups.

He said they had “hijacked the event for their own purposes”.

But the Democrats also took part in their own version of a cover-up.

President Joe Biden and his team confined the hearings to a very narrow agenda—Trump’s personal involvement in and responsibility for the events on 6 January.

Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2019, which became a debate over US foreign policy, dragged on for a period of months and heard many witnesses.

This one, which might have revealed some truths about the state machine, saw a hearing in the Senate last less than a week.

There was no attempt to bring in witnesses to the role of senior military and police figures who aided the attackers.

The wider responsibility of the Republicans in supporting Trump and his efforts to overturn the election vote was also avoided.

So who was Trump really?
So who was Trump really?
  Read More

Nearly 150 Republican congresspeople voted against the ratification of the election results.

This aligned them with Trump’s lie that the election was stolen—the myth that emboldened the far right.

Far from seeking to wreck the Republicans, the Democrats have shored them up. “We need a strong Republican Party,” said Democrat House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi after the vote.

There are splits inside the Republicans. Some are seeking to push Trump’s legacy aside. But others are celebrating the result.

The day after the impeachment defeat senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News, “Donald Trump is the most vibrant member of the Republican Party.

“The Trump movement is alive and well. The most potent force in the Republican Party is President Trump.” It is clear Trumpism remains a major threat, and the impeachment result will give confidence to its supporters.

But the Democrats cannot be trusted in any way to fight it.

Resistance must be through workers’ organisations, strikes, Black Lives Matter and other campaigns on the streets.


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