Notably, Noem and the lawmakers who filed the articles of impeachment are fellow Republicans, with Ravnsborg elected to the post in 2018 after securing the nomination at the South Dakota GOP’s convention.
Investigation materials released in recent days have cast further doubt on Ravnsborg’s initial story. Phone records show he logged into a Yahoo email account and visited news sites in the minutes before he called 911, according to a compilation by the Argus Leader newspaper out of Sioux Falls.
After emerging from a meeting to announce the articles of impeachment on Tuesday, Republican state Rep. Will Mortenson of Pierre said the attorney general should not go to prison, but needs to be held accountable.
“This is not political, and it is not personal,”Mortenson said. “Again, I do not believe Attorney General Ravnsborg belongs in prison, but I know he does not belong in the Office of the Attorney General anymore.”
In his attempt to both keep the GOP voter base happy and keep the GOP donor class happy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted to acquit former President Trump for inciting the January 6 riots. Then he blasted Trump for his behavior in a speech following the vote.
This is called having your cake and eating it too. Historically, this never works, especially not with someone like Donald Trump. In a statement on Tuesday, Trump fired back at McConnell, calling the Kentucky Republican a “dour, sullen, unsmiling political hack.” The now-private citizen vowed to support Trumpy primary opponents against GOP establishment candidates who sided with McConnell. In other words, this means war.
This might have been the most obvious turn of events in American politics. Donald Trump has a history of viciously turning on people who fall even a little bit out of line. You’re either with him 100% or you’re an enemy. He turned on former Attorney General Jeff Sessions because Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, as ethically he was bound to do.
And then there’s Michael Cohen, Trump’s most loyal adviser and attorney. When Cohen got in legal trouble for paying adult actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her affair with Trump, Trump tried to destroy Cohen.
Yet with all this history, McConnell thought that he could deviate from Trump’s line – blasting him for inciting the January 6 riots, while still allowing Trump to keep the spectre of another presidential run hanging over the GOP. This was supposed to keep the hardcore Trump voters excited and on the Republican bandwagon while letting the donor class know the GOP hasn’t completely lost its mind. But that doesn’t work for Trump.
Trump is vindictive, but he is also lazy. So it’s quite possible that McConnell could’ve saved himself a lot of heartache if he had just voted to convict Trump and barred him from running for office in the future. Trump may have found the work of politics too taxing without the prospect of another stint in the White House.
But no, like any coward, it appears McConnell wanted someone – anyone– to take care of the GOP’s Trump problem but him.
Now, even if Trump doesn’t run for President in 2024, the mere prospect of him running gives him sway over the party. It will excite the base. He’ll hold rallies. He’ll be a kingmaker. And, most important for him of all, he’ll raise lots of money that could be going to the GOP and their actual candidates instead.
McConnell’s caucus has got to be despondent. Trump just raised a lot of money, and to the extent that he can’t use it on himself, he will use it to cause pain to people he dislikes. Menwhile, the Senate has a number of presidential hopefuls waiting in the wings, and the prospect of having to choose sides in a war between winning back the suburban voters who abandoned the party in droves or driving out the Trump base is not great for their chances at the White House.
Because remember, Donald Trump is a loser. He lost the 2020 presidential election by 6 million votes. He contributed to the loss of not one but two GOP Senate seats in the state of Georgia making McConnell the Minority – not Majority – Leader of the Senate.
And as the GOP decides whether or not it has more respect for Rep. Liz Cheney, or conspiracy theory addled Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, President Biden is presenting his agenda to the American people and speeding up our national coronavirus vaccination program more and more every day.
Mitch McConnell and the GOP are really going to need that donor money now.
Former President Donald Trump has reportedly cut ties with his personal attorney and ally, Rudy Giuliani, according to CNN.
Senior Trump adviser Jason Miller told the outlet Tuesday that the former New York mayor is “not currently representing President Trump in any legal matters.”
Miller later explained in a tweet that Giuliani is not representing the former president “simply because there are no pending cases” in which he’s involved. “The Mayor remains an ally and a friend,” Miller tweeted.
Insider reported that Trump was “offended” by some of Giuliani’s actions, including requesting $20,000 a day for his work fighting the election results. Though Giuliani vehemently denied he had requested the sum, he eventually acknowledged that one of his associates had asked campaign officials for a $20,000 a day fee to help Trump after his election loss.
For months, Giuliani encouraged baseless conspiracy theories that challenged the integrity of the 2020 US election. He was also a part of several losing lawsuits that attempted to overturn the election results.
Trump lost presidential immunity when he left office in January, and a “tsunami” of civil and criminal matters targeting his administration, campaign committee, business interests, and his own words await him, now without the protective powers of the presidency.
Though the Senate acquitted Trump for his role in the Capitol riots, federal prosecutors haven’t ruled out investigating the former president for inciting the attack that left five dead, according to Insider’s Dave Levinthal.
The former president also faces potential legal repercussions for his January phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump pressured the official to “find” additional votes in an attempt to overturn the state’s election results. Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, said earlier this month that they were launching a criminal investigation into Trump’s actions.
Giuliani remained one of Trump’s most loyal supporters throughout his presidency, even though his close relationship with the president has resulted in numerous legal troubles of his own.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland said on Sunday that he would have crossed party lines to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial if he were a member of the Senate.
During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Hogan was asked by host Jake Tapper if he would have voted to convict Trump.
“I would have,” he answered.
The effort to convict Trump for “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the January 6 Capitol riots fell short by a 57-43 margin. A conviction required two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes.
While all 50 Democrats voted to convict Trump, they were joined by 7 Republicans, including Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Despite escaping a conviction yesterday, Hogan said that Trump’s fate would likely be decided over the next two years.
“There was yesterday’s vote, but there’s definitely a number of potential court cases, and I think he’s still going to face the courts and the court of public opinion,” he said.
For Hogan, a second-term governor in one of the most Democratic states in the nation, his words hearkened back to his father, the late Congressman Lawrence Hogan, who served in the House of Representatives from 1969 to 1975.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead House impeachment manager for the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, defended the decision to pass on calling witnesses despite a Senate vote on Saturday that would have permitted the action.
The Senate initially passed a motion 55-45 to call witnesses, with five Republican senators crossing over to support the effort. But, after some debate, Democrats shifted course.
The effort to convict Trump for “incitement of insurrection” fell short by a 57-43 margin, but 7 GOP senators joined with all 50 Democrats in finding the former president guilty. A conviction required two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes.
Raskin said that the decision to forgo witnesses rested with him.
“We could have had 5,000 witnesses, and [GOP Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell would be making the same speech, because what he’s asserting is that the Senate never has jurisdiction over a former president,” he said. “The point is that no number of witnesses demonstrating that Donald Trump continued to incite the insurrectionists even after the invasion of the Capitol would convince them. They wouldn’t be convinced. They were hinging it on a matter of law.”
He added: “I made the call. So you want to blame somebody [it’s me].”
The last-minute debate over witnesses came after a CNN report from Washington state GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler about a call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California on January 6. The Democratic managers sought to use the call to demonstrate Trump’s indifference to the chaos that unfolded that day.
Raskin said that he didn’t speak with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, or any other official in the White House before a decision was made to enter Herrera Beutler’s statement into the record without witness depositions.
He then roundly praised the work of the Democratic prosecution team, which included Delegate Stacey Plaskett of the US Virgin Islands and Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado, Joe Neguse of Colorado, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Joaquin Castro of Texas, Ted Lieu of California, Eric Swalwell of California, and Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania.
“We tried this case as aggressively as we could on the law and on the facts,” he said. “We got from the president’s lawyers exactly what we wanted.”
“I know people are feeling a lot of angst and believe that maybe if we had this, the senators would have done what we wanted, but listen, we didn’t need more witnesses, we needed more senators with spines,” Plaskett, a delegate from the Virgin Islands, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper Sunday.
As Insider’s Sonam Sheth reported, the vote to call witnesses came after CNN reported on new details of a phone call between Trump and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy on January 6, as the deadly Capitol insurrection was underway. Trump and McCarthy got into a shouting match because Trump refused to call off the rioters, according to the report.
Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler first revealed the details of the phone call at a town hall earlier this week and confirmed them to CNN. As Insider reported, the Democrats pulled back on their decision to call the GOP Washington congresswoman as a witness during the trial and just entered her statement into the record.
“We had no need to call any witnesses at the end of the trial because, as all Americans believed at that moment, the evidence was overwhelming,” Plaskett said Sunday during an interview with NPR.
During the impeachment trial, impeachment managers shared a trove of previously unseen video footage from inside the Capitol on January 6, as Business Insider’s Azmi Haroun reported.
Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin made the case that Trump directed rioters to storm the Capitol. “He told them to fight like hell, and they brought us hell,” Raskin said. Lawmakers of both parties offered emotional reactions to the videos between sessions, and reporters observed their reactions as the videos were shown.
Raskin on Sunday said he “made the call” to hold off witnesses from the trial. “We could have had 5,000 witnesses, and [GOP Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell would be making the same speech because what he’s asserting is that the Senate never has jurisdiction over a former president,” he said.
On Saturday, the Senate voted to acquit Trump. All 50 Democrats and 7 Republicans voted to convict Trump, while 43 Republicans voted to acquit.
“Those 43 who voted to acquit the president did so because they were afraid of him because they were more interested in party and in power than they were in our country and in duty to their Senate oath,” Plaskett said, adding that Trump’s legacy “will be forever tarnished” by his second impeachment.
“I think it leaves him for all history – our children and my grandchildren will see in history that this was the most despicable despot attempting to become a fascist ruler over a country that was founded in democracy,” Plaskett said.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top ally of former President Donald Trump, said on Sunday that Trump is “ready to move on” after the Senate voted to acquit the former president in his second impeachment trial.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” the South Carolina Republican told host Chris Wallace that Trump “was grateful to his lawyers” and “he appreciated the help that all of us have provided.”
Graham added: “He’s ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party. He’s excited about 2022. I’m going to go down to talk with him next week, play a little golf in Florida. And I said Mr. President, this MAGA [Make America Great Again] movement needs to continue.”
The effort to convict Trump for “incitement of insurrection” fell short by a 57-43 margin. A conviction required two-thirds of the Senate or 67 votes.
“I think Senator McConnell’s speech, he got a load off his chest, but unfortunately put a load on the back of Republicans,” Graham said. “That speech you will see in 2022 campaigns. I would imagine, if you’re a Republican running in Georgia, Arizona, New Hampshire where we have a chance to take back the Senate, they may be playing Senator McConnell’s speech and asking you about it if you’re a candidate.”
He added: “I think his speech is an outlier regarding how Republicans feel about all this.”
House impeachment managers last week brought their case against former President Donald Trump to the Senate for a five-day trial. Trump was charged with incitement of insurrection related to the deadly event at the Capitol on January 6. Trump was acquitted on Saturday.
Trump was photographed playing golf in Florida on Monday, as House impeachment managers prepared their case against him in Washington.
Over the weekend, a top conservative lawyer had dismissed Republican arguments against Trump’s impeachment. Republican senator Ron Johnson, speaking on Fox News on Sunday, suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bore responsibility for the Capitol riot.
In a pretrial brief submitted Monday, lawyers representing Trump argued that his January 6 rally speech “was not and could not be construed to encourage acts of violence.”
As the impeachment trial began on Tuesday, 56 senators – including six Republicans – voted that the trial was constitutional. The House impeachment managers set the tone for the trial with a graphic video syncing up Trump’s January 6 rally speech with the march on the Capitol.
After Trump’s defense lawyers made their opening statements, CNN reported that Trump was “borderline screaming” and “deeply unhappy.” Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, said the defense needed changes, The Associated Press reported.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he wasn’t watching the trial. “I have a job,” he told reporters.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday reportedly said he hadn’t ruled out the possibility of voting to convict Trump.
“The mob was looking for Vice President Pence because of his patriotism because the vice president had refused to do what the president demand, and overturn the election results,” said Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett.
Trump’s tweets, speeches, and statements were focal points, but the former president didn’t testify. Trump reportedly was unmoved and mocked Democrats as they laid out their case against him on Wednesday.
House impeachment managers also showed footage of Officer Eugene Goodman urging Senator Mitt Romney to turn around and get to safety.
On Thursday, three Republican senators met with Trump’s lawyers. CNN reported that Sens. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Mike Lee met with the defense team at the US Capitol.
“We were discussing their strategy for tomorrow, and we were sharing our thoughts, in terms of where the argument was and where to go,” Cruz said on Thursday.
The Daily Mail published photos of Trump playing golf on Friday. Trump reportedly “loved” it when his lawyers called the trial “constitutional cancel culture.”
Trump was acquitted on Saturday. Fifty-seven senators voted to convict. Cruz said he had previously advised Trump’s lawyers that they’d “already won” the case. McConnell voted to acquit Trump, but tore into the former president in a speech.
“There is no question – none – that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said. “The people that stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.”
In a statement, Trump thanked his supporters. “This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country,” he said.
He added: “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.”
Biden said the trial was a “sad chapter” that demonstrated how “fragile” US democracy was.
“While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute,” he said in a statement.
“While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute,” Biden said in the statement, noting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s remarks from earlier in the day.
McConnell, who voted to acquit, said Trump is “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”
Trump’s acquittal came one month after the House of Representatives voted to impeach him over incitement of insurrection, in a historically bipartisan vote.
The Senate trial was also the most bipartisan in US history, with seven Republicans joining all 50 Democrats to vote to convict Trump. The Senate needed 67 votes for a conviction, but 43 GOP senators voted to acquit.
In the statement, Biden recalled attending the funeral of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who died during the attack.
“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 the terror they lived through that day.” Biden said.
He also said “this sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile,” and that “violence and extremism” do not belong in the US.
“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,” Biden said.
“That is how we end this uncivil war and heal the very soul of our nation,” he said, adding that Americans must undertake that task together.
An emotional appeal to the nation’s spirit defined former President Donald Trump’s second historic impeachment trial; Democrats tried to use the chaos and terror of the Capitol siege to drive Republicans to put aside their natural political instincts in the name of justice.
“This cannot be our future,” Raskin said during the trial on Tuesday. “This cannot be the future of America. We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people.”
The effort to convict Trump for “incitement of insurrection” fell short by a 57-43 margin. A conviction required two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes.
All 50 Democrats in the Senate voted to convict Trump, while seven Republicans crossed over to support the former president’s conviction, including Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. The remaining 43 Senate Republicans opposed the former president’s conviction.
Here’s what shaped the final day of impeachment:
McConnell voted to acquit Trump
For four years, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell worked in tandem with Trump to install scores of conservatives to the federal judiciary, including three Supreme Court justices: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.
But after the Capitol riots, McConnell distanced himself from the former president and told his caucus that individual impeachment decisions were a “vote of conscience.”
In the end, McConnell decided that he would not vote to convict Trump.
“While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction,” McConnell said to GOP colleagues early on Saturday.
After the final vote on Saturday, McConnell heaped blame on Trump, calling him out for spreading debunked claims of voter fraud after his loss in the 2020 presidential election.
“There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the event of that day,” he said.
Still, McConnell, a sly 36-year veteran of the upper chamber, chose to play the long game. Trump is very likely to boost like-minded GOP candidates in the 2022 midterm elections and the Kentucky conservative would very much like to control the upper chamber once again.
Democrats demanded to call witnesses and then reversed course after the Senate approved the measure
The US Senate agreed not to hear witnesses on Saturday, avoiding an extension of the deliberate process that has consumed the Capitol this past week.
The Senate initially passed a motion 55-45 to call witnesses, with five GOP senators crossing over to support the effort. But, after some debate, Democrats changed their minds.
The last-minute debate over witnesses came after a CNN report from Washington state GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler about a call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California on January 6. Democrats sought to use the conversation to paint the former president as indifferent to the chaos that unfolded that day.
But the agreement to avoid having witnesses testify set the stage for closing arguments from the Democratic House impeachment managers and Trump defense attorney Michal Van der Veen.
Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado, one of the Democratic impeachment prosecutors, implored senators to convict and “put country above our party because the consequences of not doing so are just too great.”
However, Van der Veen called the trial “a complete charade from beginning to end” and insisted that “the act of incitement never happened.”
Republicans who voted to acquit make their stand
While Republicans like Collins and Romney were not huge surprises in terms of their votes to convict Trump, there were some notable exceptions.
Sens. Burr and Cassidy are Southern conservatives who rarely stray from the party line. And yet, they thoroughly repudiated the former president’s actions on January 6.
“The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” Burr said in a statement. “Therefore, I have voted to convict.”
He continued: “By what he did and by what he did not do, President Trump violated his oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person,” Cassidy said in a recorded statement explaining his vote. “I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty.”
Murkowski, who’s up for reelection in 2022 and hasn’t been shy about calling out Trump in the past, said political considerations were not part of her calculus in voting to convict Trump.
“If I can’t say what I believe that our president should stand for, then why should I ask Alaskans to stand with me?,” she said to Politico. “This was consequential on many levels, but I cannot allow the significance of my vote, to be devalued by whether or not I feel that this is helpful for my political ambitions.”