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'A Get Out Of Jail Free Card': Sen. Ed Markey Frustrated Over Acquittal In Trump's Impeachment Trial

BOSTON (CBS) - Senate Democrats came up short of the 67 votes needed to convict former President Donald Trump for impeachment on Saturday. Now, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey says that outcome could have serious repercussions down the line.

In a historic vote, the Senate acquitted Trump in inciting the January 6 riots at the Capitol, with only 57 Senators voting "Guilty".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued it's unconstitutional to impeach a President who is no longer in office. But Markey now fears the acquittal will empower not only Trump, but his supporters who stormed the Capitol.

"It's a get out of jail free card the Republicans have given him," Markey told WBZ-TV. "And I think we're now going to reap the whirlwinds from Donald Trump because he will feel there's no accountability, that there's no restrictions on what he can do or his supporters can do. And that's going to be very dangerous for our country, for our democracy for the next four years."

Among those who voted "Guilty" were seven Republicans. WBZ-TV Political Analyst Jon Keller says the overall outcome is not what's surprising.

"What is surprising really is the weakness of the defense and the fact that so many Republicans seem to think that they have to stand by Trump and stick with the Trump branding of the party," Keller said.

Keller added that it remains to be seen how much this will impact the GOP.

"I think the big question is, the Republicans acquitted their man, but did they buy themselves a world of hurt when it comes to their own party brand going forward?"

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