(WBTV/AP) - Former President Donald Trump was acquitted of an article of impeachment charge after Senate voted 57-43.
The vote didn’t reach the mandated two-thirds vote that was needed to find the former president guilty of inciting the insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
North Carolina’s two senators – both Republicans – were split in their vote on Saturday.
Sen. Richard Burr was one of seven Republicans who joined all Democrats to convict Trump.
Still, it was far from the two-thirds threshold required.
Sen. Thom Tillis, along with 42 other Republicans, voted to acquit the former president.
This historic moment was the second time Trump had been acquitted during an impeachment trial.
Though he was acquitted, it was easily the largest number of senators to ever vote to find a president of their own party guilty of an impeachment charge.
Tillis explained why he voted to acquit Trump.
“An impeachment trial is not the best or only way to hold a former elected official accountable for their actions,” Tillis said in a statement. “The ultimate accountability is through our criminal justice system where political passions are checked and due process is constitutionally mandated. No president is above the law or immune from criminal prosecution, and that includes former President Trump.”
Tillis questioned processes during the trial, and the case made by House of Representative Democrats.
“During their impeachment inquiry, the House declined to interview a single witness and conduct a formal and thorough investigation,” Tillis said. “The impeachment power should be used sparingly and only after careful and deliberate consideration, regardless of whether the individual is still in elected office. In their haste to impeach, they completely bypassed all due process for the first time in our nation’s history— including no representation of defense counsel in House proceedings, limited sharing of validating evidence, and only calling for witnesses after they already rested their case before the Senate.”
Tillis said the biggest issue he had with Trump’s case was the “leadership he failed to provide to put an end to it (the insurrection).”
“The most serious aspect of President Trump’s conduct was not necessarily what he said in the lead-up to the attack of the Capitol, but the leadership he failed to provide to put an end to it, and yet the House curiously chose not to file a charge or build their case around this point,” Tillis said.
Tillis once again reiterated that he condemns the actions that happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and considers Trump’s responsibility in the matter to be “reckless.”
“It is important to note that a not guilty verdict is not the same as being declared innocent. President Trump is most certainly not the victim here; his words and actions were reckless and he shares responsibility for the disgrace that occurred on January 6,” Tillis said. “Elected officials must stop embracing and propagating dangerous and baseless conspiracy theories that undermine the faith we have in our nation and our institutions. And when we see violence, anarchy, and thuggery—regardless of whether it comes from white nationalists in the Capitol or ANTIFA in the streets of Portland and Seattle—we have an obligation to condemn it. And most importantly, we need to stop casting those who we disagree with as ‘enemies’ with evil motives and instead recognize that despite our differences we are all fellow Americans.”