Once again, former U.S. President Donald Trump beat the rap and once again he wasted no time claiming victory. He released a statement one minute before the presiding officer in the Senate even officially declared that he had been acquitted Saturday, denouncing his impeachment as “yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”

But this one was still different. This one will come with an asterisk in the history books if not a dark stain. This time Trump did not have the East Room of the White House to summon allies for a celebration to crow about eluding conviction. This was the most bipartisan impeachment in history, and even the Republican leader castigated him. This was an escape, not an exoneration.

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