Former President Donald Trump was found not guilty of impeachment charges on Saturday, Feb. 13.
The Senate voted 57 to 43 to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection after some of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 while Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s victory.
The vote fell short of the two-thirds vote needed to convict Trump — and Democrats’ push to ban him from running for the White House again in 2024.
Despite all the political drama and media hype around the trial, Democrats and Trump’s GOP foes never really had a chance of getting the needed votes for a guilty conviction.
Still, the trial was emotional for lawmakers, many of whom hid under desks or in locked offices and said they feared for their lives when the Trump supporters mobbed the Capitol.
Notably absent from much of the impeachment coverage and proceedings was the name of Ashli Babbitt. The Trump supporter was shot and killed by police inside the Capitol. Three others, as well as U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, also died because of the Jan. 6 riot.
There was a moment Saturday when it appeared the impeachment trial might go on longer with witnesses being called. Democrats retreated from that push after U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Trump attorney Michael van der Veen indicated they would call and depose U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and others. Van der Veen could have required them to be interviewed in Philadelphia at his law office.
We are glad the impeachment trial wrapped up Saturday.
Extending the trial would have continued the endless political and media focus on Trump.
A conviction would have resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court fight to whether Trump could be impeached after leaving office and whether he could be banned from running again in 2024.
The latter was the real push behind the post-term impeachment.
More importantly, Congress and President Joe Biden need to work on issues that directly impact the American people — and our friends and neighbors here on the Eastern Shore.
A new COVID-19 relief package is needed to help struggling small businesses and nonprofits. We need to start seriously addressing the mental health and overdose crisis that has arisen from pandemic.
We need Biden and Congress to work on those additional COVID relief checks for Americans hit hard by the pandemic. We hope those checks are for $2,000, not the $1,400 now proposed by Biden. We also hope the checks extend beyond lower-income folks and include middle class households, who have also seen job losses and pay cuts because of the pandemic and government restrictions.
We need Biden and Congress to get moving on fixing the U.S. Post Office and the frustrating delays with mail deliveries. Our small businesses and seniors need those USPS problems fixed now.
Now, Biden and Democrats can outline their priorities to the American people and their answers for the pandemic and economy.
Biden and his Democratic cohorts can also now shine more light on their changes in policies on issues such as immigration, climate change, trade and foreign policy.
Voters need to know more about how Biden is going to deal with immigrant caravans and asylum seekers.
We can now focus more on what is working and what is not with COVID and reopening schools and the economy. That includes making sure nursing homes are safe and not repeating the mistakes now being fully uncovered in New York and potentially other states.
There are certainly more legal proceedings related to those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. But the second, post-term impeachment of Trump is over.