The Senate voted Wednesday to acquit President Donald Trump of both articles of impeachment brought against him by the House of Representatives.
House Democrats passed two articles of impeachment in December accusing the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in relation to Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During the call, Trump asked Zelensky to look into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine while the elder Biden was vice president and point man for the Obama administration’s policy toward Kyiv.
Neither impeachment article identified criminal conduct by Trump.
On the first article of impeachment regarding abuse of power, the Senate vote was 48 guilty, and 52 not guilty.
The vote was strictly along party lines, except for Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.
Romney broke ranks and voted to convict Trump, announcing his decision from the Senate floor ahead of the vote.
“The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust. What he did was not perfect. No, it was a flagrant assault of our electoral rights, our national security and our fundamental values,” Romney said.
On the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, 47 senators found Trump guilty, while 53 said he was not guilty in a strictly party-line vote.
Chief Justice Roberts: “It is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles.” pic.twitter.com/61M9Ugs72K
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 5, 2020
Ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged senators to break the “factional fever” that fueled the nation’s first completely partisan impeachment in the House.
Trump’s acquittal came following Friday’s Senate vote rejecting calling additional witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial.
After remaining non-committal on the issue, Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee voted with the Republican colleagues in opposition to further testimony.
In a Friday statement after the vote against calling in further witnesses, McConnell said, “A majority of the U.S. Senate has determined that the numerous witnesses and 28,000-plus pages of documents already in evidence are sufficient to judge the House Managers’ accusations and end this impeachment trial.”
A total of 17 witnesses testified during the House impeachment inquiry.
In a December letter to McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for four additional witnesses, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
McConnell said in response that it’s not the Senate’s responsibility to spend its time and resources going on a “fishing expedition” to try to cure a flawed House impeachment inquiry, overseen by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
“So now, the Senate Democratic leader would apparently like our chamber to do House Democrats’ homework for them,” the majority leader said. “He wants to volunteer the Senate’s time and energy on a fishing expedition to see whether his own ideas could make Chairman Schiff’s sloppy work more persuasive than Chairman Schiff himself bothered to make it.”
Trump’s acquittal ends a four-month impeachment process, which began in late September with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that the House was launching a formal inquiry into Trump’s alleged wrongdoing.
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