U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks about former U.S. President Donald Trump, accusing him of dereliction of duty, immediately after the U.S. Senate voted to acquit Trump by a vote of 57 guilty to 43 not guilty, short of the 2/3s majority needed to convict, during the fifth day of the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on charges of inciting the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2021. U.S. Senate TV/Handout via Reuters

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The Senate may have acquitted former President Donald Trump, but even some of Trump’s closest allies hinted all weekend that they do not find him innocent. One of them, Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), was one of many who called for a 9/11-like commission to study the Jan. 6 Capitol attack to attach some culpability to the former president. 

“His behavior after the election was over the top,” Graham said of Trump. 

A bill to establish a commission was introduced last week, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy floated that idea along with others this weekend. Commission results are mixed, but the most effective tend to be made up of Democrats and Republicans no longer holding public office and come after tragedies, such as the attack. 

The commission could give lawmakers another chance to punish Trump, something that 58 percent of Americans support. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ruled out censure, saying the punishment, in her mind, doesn’t fit the crime. Graham may not want much punishment at all despite his comments — he said he was looking forward to campaigning with Trump in 2022 — but Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump “was still liable for everything he did while in office.” McConnell said he voted to acquit because of the constitutional limits of the Senate. 

“He didn’t get away with anything yet,” McConnell said. “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation.”

Indeed, Trump faces possible charges in several states outside of the attack. But he also appears to have a desire to re-establish himself politically. He still looms large among Republicans despite mixed feelings about him.  

“Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun,” Trump said in a statement following the vote. “In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Can a Former President Be Prosecuted for Conduct for which He Was Impeached but not Convicted? – Reason – 2/15/2021
This raises the question of whether a former President may be criminally prosecuted for the same conduct for which that President had been impeached, but not convicted. As it happens, the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel examined that question in 2000 (when Bill Clinton was still President) and concluded that the answer was “yes.”

A bloody insurrection, a deadly pandemic: Historians weigh in on Trump’s legacy after his acquittal – USA Today – 2/15/2021
Republican senators acquitted Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection. History isn’t likely to be so kind.

Joe Biden Calls on Americans to ‘Defend the Truth’ and ‘Defeat the Lies’ Following Donald Trump’s Senate Acquittal – Hill Reporter – 2/14/2021
After ex-President Donald Trump was acquitted in the United States Senate for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, President Joe Biden beseeched all Americans to prioritize rebuilding unity as citizens of the United States.

Historians say impact of expected Trump acquittal will be felt for years – Axios – 2/13/2021
It’s not lost on historians that Donald Trump’s likely impeachment trial acquittal could fall on Presidents’ Day weekend, a holiday celebrating the examples set by America’s first president, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln, who held the republic together through civil war and ended slavery.

Blame Our Flawed Constitution for Trump’s Acquittal – Rolling Stone – 2/14/2021
Now that I’m a constitutional law professor myself, I always start my introductory course telling my students the same thing. “The Constitution has done great things,” I say, “but don’t forget that it was and still is a deeply flawed document.”

Why We Need a January 6 Commission to Investigate the Attack on the CapitolRand Corporation – 1/20/2021
The history of politically charged violence in and against the United States can be read in the reports of its national commissions. The Warren Commission investigated the Kennedy assassination. The Kerner Commission looked at the causes of urban uprisings in the 1960s. Terrorist attacks from the 1983 Beirut bombings to 9/11 prompted the creation of commissions aimed at coming to grips with the growing threat.

McConnell’s next chapter: Guiding the post-Trump GOP – Politico – 2/14/2021
McConnell is the de facto leader of the GOP for at least the next two years, as Trump remains exiled in Florida with no real public platform. And though McConnell is done talking about the former president after giving his most critical remarks ever about Trump on Saturday, he’s well aware that they may be on a collision course.

The Republican Party May Be A Lost Cause – The Liberty Loft – 2/15/2021
As the dust settled surrounding the second Trump impeachment, we started to see the statements of Republicans and their future actions come into view. We saw some previous Trump supporters, like Nikki Haley, come out and attack the President as they start to lay the groundwork for their 2024 Presidential runs. As we continue to hear the statements, what we are learning is that the Republican party may be a lost cause.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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