Donald Trump’s acquittal in his second impeachment trial was not a surprise to many Americans or Pakistanis.
“Lawmakers passed judgment before the trial so this outcome was expected,” said Faisal Khan, a Pakistani-Canadian and a restaurateur from Karachi. “Things like the evidence and presenting the case seem like a formality then.”
The final Senate vote on Saturday was 57 guilty and 43 not guilty, falling 10 votes short of the two-third majority requirement, acquitting the former President.
The House impeachment managers presented videos and tweets of the Capital riots on Jan. 6 which left 5 people dead and more than 140 injured. They alleged that Trump had incited the riot to stop the confirmation of the electoral votes. For weeks Trump told his supporters the election was stolen.
Many Pakistanis believe that Trump was directly responsible for the insurgency.
“Former President Donald Trump motivated this attack,” said Muhammad Ali Mustafa, a former political activist from Karachi, based in New York. “He should have been impeached and convicted.”
According to Khan, the arguments presented by the House managers were convincing. The Republican senators who voted guilty have been the center of attention.
“What surprises me though is the half a dozen senators who broke from the party and voted in favor of convicting Trump,” he said.
Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania voted to convict the former president. The Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who lambasted the former President, voted not guilty.
“It’s a shame that McConnell chose the party over the country,” he said.
The Republicans and Trump’s defense lawyers Bruce L. Castor and Michael van der Veen used the First Amendment as a qualifying argument for the basis of acquittal. Veen said that Trump is deserving of First Amendment protection as an elected official.
Hasan Jamshed, a corporate banker from Karachi believes that the Republican argument regarding the constitutionality of putting a former president on trial exposes a glaring weakness in their accountability framework.
“If we are to accept that Trump is now a private citizen and should not be tried in the Senate, it would set a precedent,” he said. “This means any future president could technically commit crimes before the end of their term and get away with it.”
U.S . politics has always been the focal point of discussions in the global arena. Mustafa said, this attempt at coup d’etat will be remembered for years to come regardless of the verdict of the trial.