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Photo: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

Former President Trump thanked his defense team and supporters in the Senate who voted to acquit him on Saturday, and promised that his "movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun."

Why it matters: Trump's comments came in a statement issued moments after his second acquittal. He had closely watched the trial from Mar-a-Lago with his former social media director, Dan Scavino, and other advisers, and even directed his legal team ahead of their closing arguments on Friday.

Our thought bubble via Axios' managing editor for politics, Margaret Talev: While Trump may well seek revenge in primaries against the GOP Senate and House members who sided with Democrats, he mostly held his fire in his statement. Instead he tried to rewrite history.

What he's saying: “I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate,“ Trump said in a statement.

  • "It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree."
  • "This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago." 
  • "Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!"
  • "We remain one People, one family, and one glorious nation under God, and it’s our responsibility to preserve this magnificent inheritance for our children and for generations of Americans to come."

Go deeper

Updated Feb 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The Senate acquits Trump

Photo by congress.gov via Getty Images

The Senate failed to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to convict former President Trump on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors, with a final vote of 57-43 cementing his acquittal.

Why it matters: Seven Senate Republicans voted ‘guilty,’ the most bipartisan margin in favor of conviction in history.

Feb 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump thrilled with "full Trump" defense as impeachment end nears

Michael van der Veen, one of the lawyers for former President Trump, walks to the Senate floor. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Donald Trump directed his own defense via speakerphone on Friday, repeatedly calling his lawyers in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Room on the Senate side of the Capitol to relay his feedback, sources tell Axios.

What we're hearing: In contrast to Tuesday's widely panned start of his defense, the Trump was said to be thrilled with his lawyers' performances on Friday — particularly by Michael van der Veen and David Schoen, both of whom "went full Trump," one person familiar with the situation told Axios.

Impeachment trial recap, day 4: Trump's team concludes speedy defense

Members of former President Donald Trumps defense team, David Schoen, center left, Michael van der Veen, center, and Bruce Castor, center right, arrive at the Capitol. Photo: Bill Clark/Getty Images

Donald Trump's legal team argued four key points during its defense of the former president on Friday — all focused on process.

The big picture: The lawyers delivered a swift defense in which they called the House charge that the former president incited the Jan. 6 insurrection a "preposterous and monstrous lie." In their presentation, the defense team asserted that the trial itself is unconstitutional; there was no due process; convicting Trump violates his First Amendment rights; and impeachment fails to unify the country.