Rubio, Scott vote for acquittal as Trump survives impeachment vote

Florida Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott both voted to acquit former President Donald Trump on Saturday, delivering a second acquittal to Trump a year after the Senate’s last impeachment vote. 

“The attack on 6 Jan was a crime & a disgrace,” Rubio tweeted shortly after the Senate’s 57-43 vote came 10 short of convicting Trump of inciting the Capitol riot. “But the Senate does not have the Constitutional power to convict a former government official no longer in office.”

Scott put out a similar statement calling the trial unconstitutional. 

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“The Democrats’ political theater was better suited for the Kennedy Center than the U.S. Capitol,” Scott said. “It was a waste of everyone’s time and tax dollars.”

The prosecution and defense went back and forth with arguments over the last three days. Rep. Jamie Raskin, R-Md., one of the House impeachment managers, said the fact that most Republicans voted for acquittal based on procedural grounds points to Trump’s guilt on the merits. 

“The bottom line is we convinced a big majority in the Senate of our case,” Raskin told reporters after the vote.

Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting to convict, including Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

After the vote Collins took to the Senate floor and said the Capitol attack was anything but spontaneous. She said Trump abused his power and cited his Dec. 19 tweet predicting the protest “will be wild.” 

“The president distorted the results of the election” Collins said. “President Trump’s falsehoods convinced a large number of Americans that he had won and they were being cheated.”

Former President Trump released a statement praising the result: “This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country.”

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