SWITZERLAND, FEBRUARY 06 – US President Donald Trump has been cleared in his impeachment trial, ending a congressional bid to remove him from office that bitterly divided the US.
The Senate, run by the president’s fellow Republicans, voted to acquit him 52-48 on charges of abuse of power and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress.
The vote capped a frenetic four-month push by House Democrats to investigate and impeach Trump for allegedly withholding U.S. military aid from Ukraine to pressure its leaders to investigate his Democratic rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden. The impeachment articles also charged Trump with obstructing the House’s investigation into the matter.
He will become the first impeached president to seek re-election.
In its historic vote on Wednesday, the Senate decided not to remove America’s 45th president from office on charges arising from his dealings with Ukraine.
If convicted on either charge, Mr Trump would have had to turn over his office to Vice-President Mike Pence.
The first article, abuse of power, failed 48-52 — well short of the 67-vote super-majority required to remove Trump from office. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was the lone Republican to vote in favor of the abuse of power charge. The second article, obstruction of Congress, failed 47-53 — a party-line vote.All Democratic senators voted to convict Trump on both counts.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who presided over just the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, announced the result on each article of impeachment Wednesday afternoon, bringing the three-week trial to a close.
“The Senate, having tried Donald Trump, president of the United States, upon two articles of impeachment exhibited against him by the House of Representatives, and two-thirds of the senators present not having found him guilty of the charges contained therein: it is, therefore, ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles,” Roberts said.
The Senate’s verdict was the climax of a three-year existential threat to the Trump presidency that began with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in May 2017 and continued with the House’s Ukraine probe, which began in September. And it comes just days after the first votes were cast in the 2020 presidential campaign.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment on 18 December.
Mr Trump, who is seeking a second four-year term in the 3 November election, always denied wrongdoing.
His re-election campaign said in a statement: “President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people.
“The do-nothing Democrats know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him.” It said “this terrible ordeal” and “nonsense” was merely a Democratic campaign tactic.