Trump remains dominant force in GOP following acquittal

NEW YORK (AP) — The Republican Party still belongs to Donald Trump.

The GOP privately flirted with purging the norm-shattering former president after he incited a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last month.

But in the end, only seven of 50 Senate Republicans voted to convict Trump in his historic second impeachment trial on Saturday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell savaged the former president in a post-vote speech. He charged that Trump was “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events” that led to the deadly insurrection.

But he, like the vast majority of his caucus, declared Trump “not guilty.”

For Trump’s Republican loyalists, the acquittal vote offers a vindication of sorts and a fresh connection to the former president’s fiery base.

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