The United States Senate let off former president Donald Trump after his second impeachment trial in 13 months. Even though seven Republicans voted to convict him, the Senate fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority required to convict Mr Trump of the charge that he incited the Jan 6 riot and assault on the US Capitol that required hasty evacuations, including of then Vice- President Mike Pence. In speeches, many, and particularly Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, made clear that Republicans were holding their noses even as most of them voted to acquit Mr Trump. Clearly, they were aware that while the Trump wing can never perhaps dominate the party, it has sufficient influence to cause immense damage to the re-election prospects of senators and the party's chances in future polls.
A conviction, although never likely, would have permanently banned Mr Trump from seeking the presidency again. But while he may savour his triumph over what he described as "the greatest witch-hunt in the history of our country", his battles may only be starting. Without the protection from federal prosecution that presidents in office enjoy, Mr Trump could be hit with a welter of probes into his conduct as president, and as a businessman before that. Most recently, this includes his well-publicised threatening phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the state's election results.