President Joe Biden kept the prospect of justice and accountability alive in response to the Senate failing to convict disgraced former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial for inciting insurrection at the Capitol.

Senate Republicans proved once again that they are owned by Trump when 43 of them voted to acquit him despite the damning evidence against him.

It’s a miscarriage of justice that lets Trump off the hook and allows him to run for president again in 2024 and incite another insurrection if/when he loses.

In response to the acquittal, Biden focused on the 57 senators who voted to convict, the most such votes in any impeachment trial and a bipartisan one at that. And while hope that Trump will be held accountable for his crimes has been deflated, Biden suggested that justice will still be pursued.

“Today, 57 Senators – including a record 7 Republicans – voted to find former President Trump guilty for inciting that deadly insurrection on our very democracy,” Biden wrote in a statement. “The Senate vote followed the bipartisan vote to impeach him by the House of Representatives. While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute. Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate Minority Leader McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and ‘practically and morally responsible for provoking’ the violence unleashed on the Capitol.”

Indeed, McConnell made those remarks despite voting for acquittal, therefore upholding his status as a disingenuous hypocrite. But it’s more important than ever that Merrick Garland be confirmed as Attorney General and that Justice Department prosecutors pursue federal charges against Trump and his co-conspirators as soon as possible. This isn’t over until consequences are paid in full.

Biden concluded by calling on Americans to defend democracy.

“This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile,” he wrote. “That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism has no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies. That is how we end this uncivil war and heal the very soul of our nation. That is the task ahead. And it’s a task we must undertake together. As the United States of America.”

80 million Americans voted in 2020 to oust Trump and put Democrats in charge of the Senate. That many voters will be necessary again in 2022 and beyond as long as Republicans continue to adhere to Trumpism. Preventing another insurrection not only requires prosecution, it requires voting.

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