The US president said despite the vote, there was no doubt Donald Trump was responsible for provoking the riots (Picture: Getty)
Mr Biden said the Senate’s clearing of the former US president for inciting the deadly Capitol Hill riots was a reminder that every citizen has a duty to defend the truth.
President Biden said in a statement hours after the acquittal: ‘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.’
‘Each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies,’ he added.
The result means Mr Biden’s predecessor will be permitted to run for president again in three years, after the Senate voted 57-43 to acquit Mr Trump in his second impeachment trial.
Every Democrat and seven out of 50 Republicans voted to convict Mr Trump – but it was not enough to secure the two-third threshold needed – making it the most bipartisan impeachment trial in US history.
The impeachment trial was called following the January 6 siege (Picture: Rex)
President Biden said that while the vote did not lead to a conviction, there was no doubt that Mr Trump provoked the January 6 riots which led to five deaths, and noted that a record number of Republicans had voted for conviction.
Mr Biden pointed to Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who voted for his acquittal but believed Mr Trump was ‘guilty of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the violence unleashed on the Capitol.’
Mr McConnell said following the vote: ‘There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.
‘The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republicans’ refusal to hold Trump accountable would be remembered ‘as one of the darkest days and most dishonorable acts in our nation’s history.’
Mr Biden spoke hours after the outcome of the trial on Saturday, during which senators viewed graphic video of the siege, including scenes of a police officer screaming in pain as he was crushed in a door.
Other footage showed the mob chanting ‘hang Mike Pence’ as hundreds attempted to hunt down the vice president, while other scenes showed lawmakers having near-misses with rioters as security officers hurried the elected officials into hiding.
As Trump left office on January 20, impeachment could not be used to remove him from power – but Democrats had hoped to secure a conviction to hold him responsible for the siege.
They had hoped an impeachment would stop him from being able to run for office again.
‘The bottom line is that we convinced a big majority in the Senate of our case,’ said Representative Jamie Raskin, the lead Democratic prosecutor from the House of Representatives.
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