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Senate votes to acquit Trump in historic impeachment trial

In this image from video, Republican senators and staff talk on the floor after a vote on the motion to allow witnesses in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Saturday acquitted Donald Trump of inciting the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, concluding a historic impeachment trial that exposed the fragility of America’s democratic traditions and left a divided nation to come to terms with the violence sparked by his defeated presidency.

The vote was 57-43, short of the two-thirds needed for conviction. Seven Republicans broke from their party to find Trump guilty.

The quick trial, the nation’s first of a former president, showed how perilously close the invaders had come to shattering the nation’s deep tradition of a peaceful transfer of presidential power after Trump had refused to concede the election. Rallying outside the White House on Jan. 6, he unleashed a mob of supporters to “fight like hell” for him at the Capitol just as Congress was certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

Many senators kept their trial votes closely held until the final moments, particularly Republicans who are now thrust into minority status. Democrats took narrow control of the Senate with runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5, the day before the siege.

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