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Daines, Tester issue statements after Trump’s narrow acquittal in impeachment trial

U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Steve Daines (R-MT) each issued statements following the acquittal of former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial in the Senate on Saturday.

Sen. Daines said in his statement he voted to acquit Trump because he believed the trial to be unconstitutional and does not believe the Senate has the authority to remove a President who is no longer in office. Daines added that the focus should shift to arresting and prosecuting those who broke into the U.S. Capitol seeking to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.

Sen. Tester said he believed the House Impeachment Managers proved their case that the former President incited the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6., adding that Trump should be held accountable to the rule of law.

Daines said in his statement that he rejects both “extreme rhetoric and radical false conspiracies like QAnon” and the notion that former Vice President Mike Pence had constitutional authority to overturn the results of the election on Jan. 6.

“Vice President Pence faithfully upheld his oath of office and certified the election,” Daines said.

Tester pointed to the fact that a bipartisan majority of Senators found Trump guilty, despite falling short of the two-thirds margin required for a conviction. Tester said he voted with his Democratic and Republican colleagues to send “a powerful signal that politicians must be held accountable if we want our democracy to survive.”

In total, seven Republican Senators—Sens. Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey—voted in favor of convicting Trump.

You can read the full statements from Sen. Daines and Sen. Tester below.

Statement from Sen. Jon Tester:

“I took my duty to serve as an impartial juror seriously and listened to the evidence presented by the prosecution and defense. Ultimately the House Managers presented a clear, evidence-based case that proved to a majority of my Republican and Democratic colleagues that former President Trump incited a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th that came within a hundred feet of destroying our democracy. I joined with this group from both parties to defend our Constitution by holding the former president accountable to the rule of law, and sending a powerful signal that politicians must be held accountable if we want our democracy to survive.”

Statement from Sen. Steve Daines:

“January 6th will forever be remembered as a very dark day for our country. I’m thankful for the officers who defended our Capitol that day—they are American heroes. I categorically condemn all violence, and I reject extreme rhetoric and radical false conspiracies like QAnon. These values do not represent who we are as Americans.

“I reject the notion that Vice President Pence had the constitutional authority to overturn the election on January 6th. It’s simply not true. Vice President Pence faithfully upheld his oath of office and certified the election.

“I voted to acquit President Trump of a second impeachment because I believe the trial was unconstitutional. I do not believe the Senate has the authority to remove a former President from office who is no longer in office. Going forward, the focus must be to arrest and prosecute the domestic terrorists who broke into our Capitol, attacked law enforcement officers, sought to cause harm, and tried to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”