Trump acquitted of having instigated an uprising, even if the bipartisan majority votes “guilty”
But their overarching political calculation was clear. After party leaders briefly used the process to remove Mr Trump from their ranks, Republicans doubled the bet they made five years ago that it would be better not to stir up another open confrontation with a man whom millions of their voters still uniquely embrace .
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and minority leader, embodied the tortured balancing act and sentenced Mr. Trump on Saturday, minutes after his vote to acquit him, of “a shameful breach of duty”. In blistering statements from the Senate, Mr McConnell, who had openly considered convicting Mr Trump, effectively argued that he was guilty as a defendant, while he argued that there was nothing the Senate could do about it.
“There is no…