Trump’s impeachment lawyer is representing an accused Capitol rioter after saying insurrectionists ‘wrought unprecedented havoc, mayhem, and death’

michael van der veen
Trump impeachment defense attorney Michael van der Veen.

  • One of Trump’s impeachment lawyers is now representing an accused insurrectionist, NPR reported.
  • It comes after he and Trump’s other lawyers called rioters’ actions “utterly inexcusable.”
  • They also demanded the “swift investigation and prosecution” of those who stormed the building.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

One of the lawyers who represented then President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial over the deadly Capitol riot is now representing an accused far-right extremist who was charged in the insurrection, NPR first reported.

During Trump’s trial, attorney Michael van der Veen argued that the responsibility for the deadly siege fell squarely on those who actually took part in the insurrection, and not on the president.

“On January 6, 2021, rioters entered the Capitol building and wrought unprecedented havoc, mayhem, and death,” Trump’s defense team said in an impeachment brief ahead of Trump’s trial.

“Counsel for the 45th President hereby stipulate that what happened at the Capitol by those criminals was horrible and horrific in every sense of those words,” the brief said, adding that the rioters’ “actions were utterly inexcusable and deserve robust and swift investigation and prosecution.”

Now, according to NPR, van der Veen is representing someone accused of participating in the siege.

Van der Veen represents 44-year-old Jason Dolan of Wellington, Florida, a Marine Corps veteran who was charged this month with conspiracy, obstruction, destruction of government property, and entering and remaining in a restricted building.

In a sweeping indictment that named Dolan and 14 other defendants, prosecutors said Dolan had communicated via Signal with members of the far-right militia-style group Oath Keepers ahead of the Capitol siege, and that they went over their plans to storm the Capitol. Dolan and the other defendants later joined the crowd storming the Capitol, the indictment said.

According to WPTV, NBC’s affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, van der Veen was Dolan’s lead defense attorney and appeared via Zoom at a court hearing last week where he said that although his client was part of the broader conspiracy to lay siege to the Capitol, he didn’t lead or organize others who were charged.

Bruce Castor, another one of Trump’s defense attorneys, is also representing two people who were charged in connection to the siege, NPR reported, but neither has been accused of breaching the building itself or engaging in violence.

Castor is representing Yevgeniya Malimon and her daughter Kristina Malimon, both of whom were arrested on the evening of January 6 outside the Capitol. The two Oregon women have been charged with two counts each of curfew violation and unlawful entry and accused of running afoul of Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s curfew of 6 p.m. that day.

Van der Veen and Castor did not respond to multiple requests for comment from NPR, and they didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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Former Rep. Justin Amash says Liz Cheney could have spoken out against Trump sooner, rejects her being ‘some sort of hero’

Justin Amash
Former Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.

  • Justin Amash warned against turning Liz Cheney into “some sort of hero” for her criticism of Trump.
  • Amash said that Cheney didn’t join him when he was criticizing Trump’s behavior before January 6.
  • “I also think we need to be careful, because you want to give people the room to learn and change,” he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who became a contrarian within the GOP after former President Donald Trump’s 2016 election before eventually leaving the party, warned against calling Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming a “hero” for her criticism of the former president.

During an interview on “The Axe Files” podcast with CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod, Amash said that Cheney could have joined him in rebuking Trump years ago.

Amash, who served in the House from 2011 to 2021, was a member of the Republican Party until 2019, when he officially became an Independent. Last year, he became a Libertarian.

“For a long time, I was warning that the president’s approach could lead to things like violence, could lead to a lot of animosity and contempt, and all sorts of things that would be harmful to our country,” he said. “She didn’t stand up for that view.”

Amash has been a longtime critic of Trump and called for the former president’s impeachment based on the findings from the Russia investigation in February 2019, months before Trump’s eventual 2019 impeachment by the Democratic-led House.

The former congressman, who nixed his third-party presidential bid last year, said Cheney was nowhere to be found when he was the lone voice pressing for Trump’s ouster.

“We had four years where she could have stood up and said, ‘There’s a problem here. What Donald Trump is doing is wrong,'” he said. “I think this effort to turn her into some sort of hero is a bit misguided.”

Cheney, the scion of a prominent GOP family, was ousted as House Republican Conference Chair earlier this month after continuing to publicly blast Trump for his debunked election claims, despite her reliably conservative voting record.

The congresswoman said that she now regrets voting for the former president in the 2020 election.

Read more: Assassination threats, AOC potshots, and wolf teats: 2 wild weeks inside Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Georgia district as it flips a giant middle finger at DC

During the interview, Amash questioned what “changed” for Cheney to shift her tolerance for Trump.

“I say that not as someone who’s saying you can never change, you can never grow, you can never learn, but I’d like to see some real development when people learn,” he said. “Like, what is it that changed your mind? Liz Cheney, what is it that you saw that made it so different for you versus how Trump was behaving, say, before January 6th?”

He added: “I don’t think there was any radical difference there. It was the same, what, because the outcome was different? Because that was the one time they stormed the Capitol?”

Amash then expounded on political consistency and how people are often lionized for rejecting positions that they once supported.

“One of the biggest problems we have in politics is that when someone is inconsistent like that, where they’re doing the wrong thing for four years and then they flip on a dime, there’s a tendency to turn them into heroes,” he said. “I think that’s a huge problem because it lets people get away with things.”

He added: “With that said, I also think we need to be careful, because you want to give people the room to learn and change.”

In January, days after Amash left office, Cheney joined nine other House Republicans in voting to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot.

Some of the more conservative elements of the House caucus slammed Cheney for her vote, but she survived a February leadership vote to keep her position.

However, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California helped engineer her ouster this month, saying that she wasn’t staying on message ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

Cheney was eventually replaced in leadership by Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, a Trump loyalist.

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Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk, typically a Democrat donor, gave $2,800 to each GOP lawmaker who voted to impeach Trump

Donald Trump, Kimbal Musk
Former President Donald Trump (left) and entrepreneur Kimbal Musk.

  • Kimbal Musk gave $2,800 to each of the 10 GOP lawmakers who backed Trump’s impeachment.
  • Musk had previously to Democratic lawmakers including President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
  • His brother, Elon Musk, has donated to both Republicans and Democrats in the past.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Restaurateur and philanthropist Kimbal Musk, the younger brother of tech billionaire Elon Musk, gave thousands of dollars to the Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.

Ten Republican House members voted to impeach Trump in January for inciting the January 6 Capitol siege.

New filings by the Federal Election Committee (FEC) show that Musk gave $2,800 to each of the 10 lawmakers on January 26, the day that the House transmitted the article of impeachment against Trump to the Senate.

Read more: These 10 high-profile Republicans who dumped Trump are mostly wary to back Biden’s re-election. At least for now.

The donations were filed in Boulder, Colorado, where Musk lives and owns a bistro.

Bloomberg first reported on the news.

Musk had previously donated heavily in favor of Democratic lawmakers, per FEC filings. This includes donations to the presidential campaigns of President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, and John Kerry.

Elon Musk has given to both Democrats and Republicans. He gave $990 to the Republican National Committee in January, but had previously donated to presidential campaigns of Clinton and Obama, FEC filings show.

The 10 GOP lawmakers who voted for Trump’s impeachment collectively received $6.4 million in donations in the first three months of 2021.

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The 10 GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump have already received $6.4 million in donations this year – far more than their 2022 midterm opponents

trump wind
Former President Donald Trump.

  • Donors are giving millions to the GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump.
  • Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, for example, received $1.54 million in the first three months of 2021.
  • They have received far more money than their prospective 2022 midterm opponents, who Trump has backed.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump have received more than $6 million in political donations between them since January – far more than their prospective opponents in the 2022 midterms.

Donations to the 10 lawmakers in the first three months of 2021 totaled $6.4 million, per new filings from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), first reported by Bloomberg. The money has come from GOP donors, conservative PACs, and even some Democrat donors, such as entrepreneur Kimbal Musk, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s brother.

Three of the lawmakers – Kinzinger, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, and Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio – had their biggest-ever quarters for political contributions, Bloomberg reported.

The GOP lawmakers have been ostracized by some members of the party since they voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6 Capitol riots, and Trump has urged other candidates to run against them in the 2022 midterms. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger was even accused of treason by members of his own GOP-supporting family.

So far, 15 challengers have announced primary bids against the incumbents in the 2022 midterms, though one incumbent, Rep. John Katko, is currently unopposed. The challengers have collectively raised $1.9 million this year, Bloomberg reported.

Here’s how much the GOP lawmakers raised between January 1 and March 31, per the FEC:

  1. Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyoming): $1.54 million
  2. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Illinois): $1.15 million
  3. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (Washington): $744,750
  4. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio): $616,524
  5. Rep. Peter Meijer (Michigan): $519,741
  6. Rep. John Katko (New York): $436,291
  7. Rep. Tom Rice (South Carolina): $404,731
  8. Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan): $360,392
  9. Rep. David Valadao (California): $322,144
  10. Rep. Dan Newhouse (Washington): $289,493

Cheney topped the list with $1.54 million in funding between January 1 and March 31, the FEC filings show. This includes $10,000 from Mitt Romney’s Believe in America PAC, and $5,600 from her father, former Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Liz Cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney has been an outspoken critic of Trump.

Cheney has said she would not support Trump if he were the 2024 GOP nominee, and has accused him of “embracing insurrection.”

The FEC data shows that some PACs and individual donors gave to each of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach, suggesting blanket support for lawmakers who stood up to Trump.

Read more: These 10 high-profile Republicans who dumped Trump are mostly wary to back Biden’s re-election. At least for now.

These included some major Democratic donors who crossed the party line. Both Baupost Group CEO Seth Klarman and Lone Pine Capital CEO Stephen Mandel gave $2,900 to each lawmaker, Bloomberg reported.

Restaurateur Kimbal Musk, typically a Democrat donor, gave $2,800 to each of them.

Some lawmakers loyal to Trump have also received a flood of donations. Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene raised $3.2 million in her first three months in Congress, the FEC’s records show. Greene has repeatedly spread Trump’s voter-fraud conspiracy theories, which have been thoroughly debunked.

marjorie taylor greene
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene received $3.2 million in her first three months.

The size of Greene’s haul is almost unheard of for a first-term congresswoman, Insider’s Grace Panetta reported. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in comparison, brought in $726,000 in her first quarter in office in 2019.

Trump said on March 10 that he expected Republicans to regain control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections and win back the White House in 2024.

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Trump’s scathing letter attacking Mitch McConnell could have been nastier, according to a new report

Trump McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell listens to President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting Republican congressional leaders and members of Trump’s cabinet in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Former President Donald Trump’s blistering letter attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could have been much worse, Politico and The New York Times reported Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Trump lashed out at McConnell in a scathing statement through his Save America PAC, calling him a “dour, sullen, unsmiling political hack” and urged GOP senators to find a new leader.

“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” Trump said in the statement. “McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse.”

An earlier draft of the length statement could have been much more personal, according to both the Politico report and The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman. An individual familiar with the thought process behind the statement told Politico that Trump wanted to mock McConnell for having multiple chins, but advisors recommended against it.

“There was also a lot of repetitive stuff and definitely something about him having too many chins but not enough smarts,” the person told Politico.

The letter followed McConnell’s vote to acquit the former president in his second impeachment trial on a charge of inciting the Capitol riots. However, following the vote, McConnell blasted Trump and blamed him for the insurrection.

“These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags, and screaming their loyalty to him,” McConnell said. Trump 

McConnell, a one-time ally of the former president, also did not side with Trump in his disputed claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Trump slammed McConnell for the latter, blaming him for doing “nothing” amid the “complete election disaster” in Georgia and other swing states.

“McConnell did nothing, and will never do what needs to be done in order to secure a fair and just electoral system into the future,” the former president said in the statement. “He doesn’t have what it takes, never did, and never will.”

Jason Miller, a Trump advisor who Politico reported had a hand in crafting the statement, denied in an email to Insider that the earlier draft mocking McConnell exists.

Read the original article on Business Insider

An impeachment manager says Republicans privately told her she made a compelling case to convict Trump, but they acquitted him anyway

Stacey Plaskett
Del. Stacey Plaskett in the Capitol during Trump’s second impeachment trial.

  • Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) was a House manager in Trump’s second impeachment trial.
  • She told CNN some Senate Republicans privately told her she “made the case” for conviction.
  • But she said they already planned to acquit Trump and didn’t want to “stand out on a limb” by convicting.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A House impeachment manager says Republican senators told her privately that she “made the case” to convict former President Donald Trump, but they still voted to acquit him. 

Del. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat from the Virgin Islands, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday about the interactions she had with unnamed Republican senators during Trump’s second impeachment trial last week.

“I had senators, even after we presented, who stopped me in the hallway, Republicans, who said that we had made the case, but yet they were going to vote to acquit the president,” Plaskett said.

Plaskett said she tried to win these senators over by saying they could vote to acquit Trump, but not vote to disqualify him from holding office in the future – a vote which would have taken place after conviction, and only requires a simple majority.

“The response was, ‘Well, I don’t think you’ll get to 17, so I’ll never get to that second disqualification vote and I don’t want to stand out on a limb by myself,'” Plaskett recalled, referring to Democratic senators’ needing 17 Republicans to vote with them in order to convict Trump.

Read more: 7 yuuge reasons Donald Trump isn’t going away

Plaskett has in recent days also defended her decision not to call witnesses during the trial.

“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 told NPR on Sunday.

She also told CNN in a separate Sunday interview: “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.”

Trump was acquitted at his second impeachment trial on Saturday, with 57 votes to convict and 43 votes to acquit. A two-thirds majority vote is required to impeach a president. Seven Republican senators voted to convict, joining all 50 Senate Democrats.

Among the Republicans who voted to convict is North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, who is retiring after this term. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close confidante of Trump, said Burr’s vote in the trial paves the way for Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, to run for his seat. 

While Plaskett didn’t get the outcome she was looking for in Trump’s second impeachment trial, she said it was necessary for the country, and it may work to stop Trump from running for office in the future. 

“I believe that January 6 [Capitol riot] was a second kind of Civil War and it was necessary for us to have a reckoning and for those individuals who made war against our democracy be brought to justice, they needed to be held accounted for,” Plaskett told CNN’s Cuomo on Monday.

“And so that’s what I saw as my duty and my service to my country. I believe that we were on the front lines to save our union and our republic,” she added.

“I do believe, even though we lost that case, that we have shown who Donald Trump is, we’ve shown the enemy that was among us, that was attempting to lead us, that was using us for his own greed and power, and that he will not have the same power that he had, should he ever attempt to run again.”

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GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s relatives called him a ‘disappointment to us and to God’ in a scathing letter over his criticism of Trump

Adam Kinzinger 1
In this image from video, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks as the House debates the objection to confirm the Electoral College vote from Pennsylvania, at the U.S. Capitol early Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s relatives excoriated him as “a disappointment to us and God” and “an embarrassment” to the family in a scathing two-page letter hammering the congressman over his criticism of former President Donald Trump.

“Oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to God!” the letter, which Kinzinger first discussed in an interview with Insider’s Anthony Fisher and was shared in full with The New York Times, began. “We were once proud of your accomplishments! Instead, you go against your Christian principles and join ‘the Devil’s army’ (Democrats and the news media).” 

Kinzinger, who has represented Illinois’ solidly Republican 16th congressional district since 2013, has made waves as one of the most vocal and forceful critics of Trump beginning during Trump’s presidential campaign. 

Read more: GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger on recognizing the QAnon threat and not fearing a GOP primary challenger for voting to impeach Trump

Kinzinger was one of just 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the January 6 insurrection, and one of 11 to vote to strip far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments in a  February 4 vote.

After stating they believe Trump will be forgiven the God, the letter from Kinzinger’s relatives said: “It is most embarrassing to us that we are related to you. You have embarrassed the Kinzinger family name.”

Karen Otto, Kinzinger’s cousin who spearheaded the letter signed by 11 other family members, told The Times that she spent $7 to send the letter via certified mail to make sure that he saw it, adding that she wants to see Kinzinger “shunned.” 

They sent Kinzinger the letter after he called for Trump to be removed from office via the 25th Amendment over the Capitol insurrection. 

 

Kinzinger, for his part, believes his family members have been subject to “brainwashing” by their churches.

“I hold nothing against them,” he told The Times, “but I have zero desire or feel the need to reach out and repair that. That is 100 percent on them to reach out and repair, and quite honestly, I don’t care if they do or not.”

With Trump out of office, Kinzinger told both Insider and The Times that his goal is to heal the Republican Party, including through a new PAC supporting anti-Trump Republicans. 

“The party’s sick right now,” Kinzinger told The Times, saying, that he plans to “fight like hell to save it first” before he would consider disaffiliating himself from the GOP.

But as The Times noted, Kinzinger could see himself drawn out of his district in upcoming post-2020 redistricting by Illinois’ Democratic-controlled state government. Illinois is one of several Midwestern states expected to lose a congressional district following the 2020 census.

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6 of the 7 GOP Senators who voted to convict Trump are facing blowback and formal censures back home

senator susan collins
Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine.

  • Almost all of the GOP Senators who voted to convict Trump are receiving blowback back home.
  • Several are facing formal censures from local or statewide Republican parties in their states.
  • Only one, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, is up for reelection next year in 2022. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Nearly all of the seven Republican Senators who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, which concluded February 13, are now facing significant blowback and potential censure votes in their home states.

The senators who voted to find Trump guilty on a charge of inciting the January 6 insurrection on the US Capitol are Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. 

Burr and Toomey are both retiring their seats when their terms are up in 2022, but their state Republican parties still issued strong statements condemning their votes. 

Read more: Trump just beat his 2nd impeachment conviction, but a tsunami of legal peril awaits

Leaders of at least five county-level Republican parties have moved to censure Toomey already, KDKA News reported, and the North Carolina Republican Party’s central committee held an emergency meeting on Monday night where it voted unanimously to censure Burr. 

“It is truly a sad day for North Carolina Republicans,” Burr responded in a statement. “My party’s leadership has chosen loyalty to one man over the core principles of the Republican Party and the founders of our great nation.”

Censures are formal votes of disapproval or disavowal of a lawmaker’s decisions or actions, but often only carry symbolic consequences and not material punishment. 

Perhaps the most surprising vote to convict came from Cassidy, who unlike some of the other Senators who moved to find Trump guilty, had not been a vocal Trump critic prior to his conviction vote. The Louisiana Republican Party’s Executive Committee censured Cassidy in a unanimous vote on Saturday evening, just hours after the impeachment vote.

“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty,” Cassidy, who just won reelection for a six-year term in 2020, said in a short statement explaining his vote on Saturday night.

In Utah, a number of Republicans are circulating a petition to censure Romney, who is up for reelection next in 2024, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The petition asserts that Romney “appears to be an agent for the Establishment Deep State” and “misrepresented himself as a Republican” during his 2018 campaign. 

The state Republican Party, however, is not backing any censure effort, and issued a statement that did not condemn either Romney or Sen. Mike Lee, who voted to acquit Trump. Their statement instead framed the healthy disagreement within their party as a positive thing.

“The differences between our own Utah Republicans showcase a diversity of thought, in contrast to the danger of a party fixated on ‘unanimity of thought,'” the statement read. “There is power in our differences as a political party, and we look forward to each senator explaining their votes to the people of Utah.”

In Maine, the chair of state’s Republican party told members in an email “to be prepared for an emergency state committee meeting in the near future” over Collins’ conviction vote, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Collins, who has long positioned herself as an independent-leaning Republican voice, handily won reelection to a six-year term in 2020. She was the only senator in either the 2016 or 2020 cycles to win in a state that voted for a presidential candidate of the opposite party. 

And several Nebraska Republican activists were already pushing to censure Sasse, one of the bluntest and most vocal GOP critics of Trump’s role in the January 6 riots, prior to his vote to convict Trump. Sasse too is not up for reelection until 2026. 

“You are welcome to censure me,” Sasse told the Nebraska GOP in a February 5 video statement. “But let’s be clear about why this is happening. It’s because I still believe, as you used to, that politics isn’t about the weird worship of one dude.”

Murkowski is the only one of the seven senators up for reelection in 2022. She’ll be somewhat insulated from a primary challenge from the right, however, due to Alaska adopting nonpartisan top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting beginning in 2022. 

“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,” Murkowski told Politico’s Burgess Everett after her vote on Saturday.

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Trump rails against ‘witch hunt’ impeachment trial, vows that MAGA movement ‘has only just begun’

donald trump
Outgoing US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump address guests at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021.

  • Former President Donald Trump released a statement after his impeachment trial ended in acquittal.
  • He called the trial “yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country.”
  • He also said he would have more to share with the public in the coming months.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Former President Donald Trump thanked his supporters and derided what he called “the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country” in a statement on Saturday, after his second impeachment trial ended in an acquittal earlier that day.

Trump faced one charge of inciting an insurrection after the deadly January 6 Capitol siege, in which his supporters stormed the building while lawmakers counted the Electoral College votes.

Ultimately, seven Republicans joined 50 Democrats in their vote to convict Trump, but failed to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to convict a federal official and remove them from office.

In his statement, Trump did not directly address the insurrection that left five people, including a police officer, dead last month. Instead, he simply said he was a “champion for the unwavering rule of law” and supported law enforcement and peaceful debate.

“This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country,” the statement said. “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.”

Trump also hinted at a future in public life, saying “our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.”

He said he would have more to share in the coming months.

“We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future,” he said.

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McConnell tears into Trump after voting to acquit, says there’s ‘no question’ Trump was responsible for the Capitol siege

mitch mcconnell
In this screenshot taken from a congress.gov webcast, Minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responds after the Senate voted 57-43 to acquit on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the former president in a speech Saturday.
  • McConnell voted to acquit former President Donald Trump, but blamed him for the Capitol siege.
  • “These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags, and screaming their loyalty to him.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked former President Donald Trump in a blistering speech on the Senate floor Saturday afternoon – almost immediately after voting to acquit Trump in his second impeachment trial.

McConnell tore into Trump for his “disgraceful dereliction of duty” during last month’s Capitol siege, blaming the former president for the deadly event.

“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.”

He continued: “And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole.”

McConnell was referring to Trump’s false and baseless claims that the presidential election had been stolen from him, which culminated in hundreds of his supporters storming the Capitol as lawmakers counted Electoral College votes.

“A mob was assaulting a Capitol in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags, and screaming their loyalty to him,” McConnell said.

Ultimately, seven Republican senators joined 50 Democrats in voting to convict Trump of one charge of inciting an insurrection. But a two-thirds majority was required to convict.

McConnell said he voted to acquit Trump because he believed the Constitution did not permit the Senate to remove a former president – only one still in office.

He added that Trump “didn’t get away with anything” and still faces criminal and civil actions.

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