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Arizona Sens. Sinema, Kelly voted to convict Trump before acquittal

PHOENIX — Arizona’s two Democratic U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly on Saturday voted to convict Donald Trump of inciting the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 before the former president was eventually acquitted of the charge.

While the two senators were part of the 57 who said Trump was guilty of the claim, 67 votes were required to equal the two-thirds needed to convict and impeach the former president.

The two U.S. senators from Arizona released statements on their decision to convict Trump after House prosecutors and Trump’s defense lawyers wrapped up their closing arguments before the final vote got underway.

Sinema said she voted guilty because Trump, “betrayed his oath willfully, as no president has before.”

“He incited a violent insurrection against his own government because he did not like the outcome of a free and fair election,” she said.

Sinema in the statement said the future of democracy was at stake and whether the United States will be a country that fiercely protects democracy or lets it slip away to claims of party loyalty.

Kelly said he voted to convict Trump after listening to the testimony and considering the cases put forward by House managers and the former president’s defense team.

“The evidence demonstrated that former President Donald Trump incited the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 with the intention of overturning the decision of the voters of Arizona and other states, and then did nothing to stop it because he hoped it would be successful,” Kelly said. “That makes him guilty of the charge laid out in the article of impeachment, and it also makes him guilty of violating his oath of office.

“As a Navy veteran and senator, I’ve taken an oath to uphold the constitution. It was our duty to conduct this trial and make it clear that an attack on our democracy cannot stand.”

Kelly ended the statement saying with the impeachment trial concluded, it’s time to continue work on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuilding the economy.

Neither Kelly nor Sinema reacted to Trump being acquitted in the few hours after the vote.

House prosecutors in the trial argued that Trump stoked a months-long campaign and orchestrated a pattern of violent rhetoric and false claims which unleashed the mob that left five people dead, including a rioter who was shot and a police officer.

Trump’s lawyers countered by saying Trump’s words were not intended to incite the violence and the impeachment was a “witch hunt” designed to prevent him from serving in office again.

The House impeached Trump one week after the riot in what was the most bipartisan vote of a presidential impeachment.

Though Trump was acquitted by the split Senate, seven GOP senators voted to convict Trump, the largest number ever to find a president of their own party guilty of an impeachment charge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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