Sen Richard Burr of North Carolina was one of the Republicans to vote to convict Donald Trump in the Senate's impeachment trial. This came as a surprise since Burr voted twice that the trial was not constitutional.
As The Hill reported, immediately after the upper chamber wrapped up the proceeding on Saturday, Burr released a statement explaining his vote.
The senator noted that he personally still believes it is unconstitutional to impeach a sitting commander-in-chief, but said that by voting to move forward with the hearing the Senate established a precedent.
"I have listened to the arguments presented by both sides and considered the facts," Burr said, noting that his duty was to act as an impartial juror.
"The President promoted unfounded conspiracy theories to cast doubt on the integrity of a free and fair election because he did not like the results. As Congress met to certify the election results, the President directed his supporters to go to the Capitol to disrupt the lawful proceedings required by the Constitution."After the mob invaded and vandalized the Capitol building, Trump added fuel to the fire by refusing to explicitly denounce the violence and therefore committed high crimes and misdemeanors, Burr added.
"By what he did and by what he did not do, President Trump violated his oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States," the senator concluded.
Six other Republicans voted to convict Trump. Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine all thought the evidence proved Trump was guilty of inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government.
Every Democratic senator voted to convict Trump, but, since a two-thirds majority was necessary, their effort to hold the former commander-in-chief accountable failed.Immediately after the acquittal, Trump released a statement dismissing the impeachment as a continuation of a "witch hunt" led by Democrats. He slammed Democratic lawmakers, said that he was treated worse than any of his predecessors, thanked his supporters and vowed that his movement will remain a political force for years to come.
Trump's future role in politics remains unclear, but reports suggest that he will play an important role in the 2022 midterms. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Friday that he will soon meet with Trump to discuss the future of the GOP and unite the party so that it can win back both chambers of Congress next year.