IMPEACHMENT: Brown votes to convict Trump; Portman to acquit

The Senate has voted to acquit former president Donald Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, bringing the most recent impeachment trial to a close.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, voted for conviction, while Senator Rob Portman, a Republican, voted for acquittal.

The House impeached him following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Portman sent out a statement Saturday saying he thought Trump deserved some of the blame for the attack on the Capitol, but he thought voting against Trump would be divisive.

“Consistent with the two votes I have already taken in this process, I believe the Constitution reserves the narrow tool of impeachment and conviction for removal of current officeholders and current presidents, and does not apply to former officeholders or former presidents,” Portman said. “Impeachment in the Constitution is fundamentally about removing someone from office.”

Portman previously voted against moving forward with the trial when the Senate took a vote on whether Trump could be put on trial when he no longer holds public office.

Portman added, “My decision was based on my reading of the Constitution, but I believe the Framers understood that convicting a former president and disqualifying him or her from running again pulls people further apart. Instead, our task should be to help bridge the growing gaps that separate us.”

Portman has said he will not run for reelection when his term is up.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Brown said: “Those who voted to acquit sent a clear message to our country and the world: Violent attacks on our citizens, our democracy, and the will of the people have no consequences.”

Brown had previously told reporters he planned to convict Trump.

“There’s no doubt he incited the insurrection,” Brown said in a Twitter video on Feb. 9

A total of 57 senators voted to convict, while 43 senators voted to acquit. It takes a two-thirds vote to find a president guilty in an impeachment trial, so 67 votes would have been needed for conviction.

The two senators voted similarly last year during the impeachment trial at the beginning of 2020, when Trump was accused of withholding security aid from Ukraine that had been appropriated by Congress.

If Trump had been convicted, senators would have taken a second vote on whether to ban him from running for office again. Two other presidents, Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868, have been impeached. No impeached president has been convicted in the Senate.

Representative Mike Turner, who represents Montgomery and Greene counties, said after the impeachment trial in the House that the trial was based on partisanship.

“Today starts another impeachment trial premised on partisanship, not facts or the Constitution. When President Trump left office, the Senate lost its authority to impeach,” he tweeted.

He added in a second tweet, “Democrats should have made true on their promise of unity by focusing on solutions for the American people, rather than pursuing yet another partisan impeachment.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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