Donald Trump has been acquitted of all charges in his impeachment trial and will finish out the remainder of his presidency.
Senators voted 53 to 47 to acquit the president on the charge of obstruction of justice and 52 to 48 to acquit him of abuse of power, which was seen as a likely outcome from the beginning of the trial held in the Republican-led Senate.
A supermajority of 67 votes, or two-thirds of the Senate, was needed to impeach Trump on each charge. After the votes, Trump tweeted a video that seemed to suggested he would be president forever.
History was made at Trump’s impeachment trial, which was the third time a US president was tried in the Senate, after Republican Senator Mitt Romney declared he would vote to remove Trump on the abuse of power charge.
Romney is the first senator in American history to vote to remove a president of the same party. Not one Democratic senator voted to remove President Bill Clinton on the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice charges in 1999. The same occurred during the impeachment trial for President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, in 1868.
As senators took turns making closing statements, Romney took the floor and said Trump is ‘guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.’
‘Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.
However, despite Romney’s noteworthy defection from his party, Trump’s impeachment trial ended as many expected – as a futile gesture of partisan posturing that further demonstrated the divide between the country’s two parties.
Although Romney’s vote prevents Trump from touting his acquittal as entirely partisan.
The animosity could be felt in the Capitol on Wednesday as protesters gathered and chanted, ‘Trump is guilty…Honor your oaths.’ Law enforcement said ten were arrested.
Wednesday’s acquittal, which is the equivalent of a not guilty verdict, was seen as inevitable after Senators voted 51-49 to reject witnesses and evidentiary documents from the trial – a critical blow to Democrats, who needed support four Republican Senators to reach a 51-vote majority.
Before the Senate trial ended, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Representative Jerry Nadler indicated that Democrats will keep investigating the president, beginning with a subpoena for John Bolton, the former US national security adviser.
Bolton claimed that Trump told him in August that he was withholding the $391 million in US military aid to Ukraine until Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky agreed to open investigations into his political rival, former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine was the issue at the heart of the impeachment trial.
The explosive allegations were made in a manuscript of Bolton’s unpublished memoir, which was partially leaked to The New York Times. The White House has since tried to block the book’s publication, claiming it contains ‘top secret’ classified information that endangers the country’s national security.
Bolton, who referred to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine as a ‘drug deal,’ also claimed Trump directed him to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on the pressure campaign to obtain damaging information against Democrats from Ukraine officials.
Nadler said he does not know when a Bolton subpoena may happen.
In his closing remarks Senator Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, told the Senate: ‘You’re going to get pick the next president, not a bunch of politicians driven by sour grapes.’
‘I didn’t vote for president Trump. I voted for somebody I wouldn’t know if they walked in the door. But I accepted the fact that he won. That’s been hard for a lot of people.’
Trump’s acquittal may pave the way for his reelection and will likely be a campaign talking point for the president, who has never shied away from self-congratulatory remarks, which the US heard during Trumps State of the Union Address Tuesday night.
‘We are advancing with unbridled optimism and lifting our citizens of every race, color, religion and creed very high,’ Trump said during the speech in which he ignored the ongoing impeachment.
After the president’s 78-minute speech concluded, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was seen ripping up Trump’s speech, which she later dubbed a ‘manifesto of mistruths.’
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