Former US President Donald Trump has been acquitted by the Senate in his second impeachment trial for his role in inciting the deadly attack on the Capitol on January 6.

The Senate fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump.

A majority of senators – 57 to 43 – voted to convict Trump, which was 10 votes short of the 67 required for conviction, which would have barred Trump from running for president again.

It is Trump’s second impeachment in just over a year and he is the first US president to be impeached twice.

The former president said in response to the acquittal that the trial was “the greatest witch hunt in history”.

On the day electoral college votes were being counted on January 6 he told supporters to “fight like hell” and encouraged them to go to the Capitol after making false claims of electoral fraud.

Trump expressed no remorse to the but said “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.”

In a floor speech after the vote, Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, said: “There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.”

He suggested that Trump could still face criminal prosecution.

“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he’s in office,” McConnell said. “He didn’t get away with anything yet.”

The vote was held over five days and was delayed until after he left office.

‘Democracy is fragile’

While seven Republicans voted with the Democrats to convict him, many more stood by Trump.

“The most despicable act that any president has ever committed and the majority of Republicans cannot summon the courage or the morality to condemn it,” said Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority leader.

“This trial wasn’t about choosing country over party even not that. This was about choosing country over Donald Trump. And 43 Republican members chose Trump.”

While the ruling leaves Trump to run again, his support has waned since the Capitol attack.

President Joe Biden said: “While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute.

“This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant.

“That violence and extremism has no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”

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