Kansas senators differ on why they voted to acquit Trump

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Savannah Rattanavong, The Manhattan Mercury, Kan.
·3 min read
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Feb. 15—While both of Kansas' U.S. senators voted to acquit former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial, they gave different reasons for doing so.

Jerry Moran believes Trump's statements led to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, but he didn't think it was proper to try a president who is out of office.

Roger Marshall believes the whole trial was a political ploy by Democrats.

The Senate on Saturday acquitted Trump for his role in encouraging a mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

The Senate voted 57-43 in favor of convicting him, but that number didn't meet the required two-thirds majority.

Like Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, Moran said Trump had a hand in stoking the violence, but he acquitted the former president because he is no longer in office.

"The violence at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6 was an attempt to subvert democracy, and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms," Moran said in a statement. "Rioters and extremists sought to prevent members of Congress and Vice President (Mike) Pence from performing their constitutional obligation to affirm the results of an election, and President Trump was wrong to continue to spread allegations of widespread fraud and not immediately discourage the reprehensible and unpatriotic behavior.

"The Constitution does not clearly state whether a former president can be tried for impeachment by the Senate, but I believe the impeachment process is intended to be used for considering whether or not 'The President' should be removed from office," Moran continued. "Because former President Trump is no longer in office, I voted to acquit. Establishing the precedent that the Senate has jurisdiction to convict a former president would cause extreme damage to our country and the future of the presidency."

Marshall, who has been a staunch backer of Trump, said the "unconstitutional" trial was a distraction. An impeachment trial of a former president was unprecedented.

"This trial has brought to light just how much was known about the planning of the riot prior to Jan. 6 and questions now linger as to what was known by (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and security officials in the Capitol and across federal agencies ahead of time," Marshall said in a statement. "One question does not remain and that is: What was the motivation of this trial? The motivation was political hatred and was simply a continuation of the four-year impeachment fixation on the part of the House Managers and the Democrat Party.

"Let me be clear, both sides of the aisle are guilty of heated rhetoric," he said. "But, equally guilty are the House Managers and the Democrats for their hypocrisy, and President Trump's defense team painted that picture clearly."

The House had charged Trump with "inciting violence against the government of the United States" in his efforts to overturn election results. As lawmakers convened to certify President Joe Biden's election win, a mob of Trump supporters breached security measures at the Capitol building, sending politicians into hiding. Five people died during the chaos, including a Capitol police officer.

A conviction would have prevented Trump from being able to run for a federal office again.

It was the second time in just over a year that Trump had been acquitted in an impeachment trial. Last February, the Senate voted to acquit Trump after the House impeached him over his dealings with Ukraine.