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GOP's Burr convicts: Trump 'bears responsibility for these tragic events'

GOP's Burr convicts: Trump 'bears responsibility for these tragic events'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrRick Scott caught in middle of opposing GOP factions Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks Republicans, please save your party MORE (R-N.C.), who twice voted that the impeachment trial of President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE was not constitutional, was a surprise vote to convict in Saturday's 57-43 vote.

Burr in a statement condemned Trump for his actions, arguing he failed his duty and incited the mob attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

"The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors," he said in the statement. "Therefore, I have voted to convict."

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Burr was one of seven Republican senators to vote in favor of Trump's impeachment along with Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.). 

A two-thirds majority of 67 votes was needed to secure a conviction. Every one of the chamber's 50 Democrats voted to convict.

Trump's acquittal marks the first time a U.S. president has been impeached and acquitted twice.

Burr said he shifted from the vote on the trial's constitutionality because those votes had established a precedent.

"When this process started, I believed that it was unconstitutional to impeach a president who was no longer in office. I still believe that to be the case," he wrote.

"However, the Senate is an institution based on precedent, and given that the majority in the Senate voted to proceed with this trial, the question of constitutionality is now established precedent," he said. "As an impartial juror, my role is now to determine whether House managers have sufficiently made the case for the article of impeachment against President Trump.

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Burr then said he had concluded that was the case.

"I have listened to the arguments presented by both sides and considered the facts. The facts are clear," he  said.

"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. When the crowd became violent, the President used his office to first inflame the situation instead of immediately calling for an end to the assault," he said.

Burr said he had not come to the decision lightly, but believed it was necessary.

“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," he said.