U.S. president now free to fully focus on his re-election campaign following exoneration on two charges
The United States Senate on Wednesday acquitted President Donald Trump of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, proving the leader retains staunch Republican support despite increasing Democratic rancor.
Even though several conceded Trump’s behavior was wrong, Republicans ultimately voted to clear the president of charges of abuse of power, by 52 to 48, and of obstruction of Congress, by 53 to 47—far from the two-thirds supermajority required to convict him.
The president immediately claimed “victory” while the White House declared it a full “exoneration.” Democrats, meanwhile, rejected the acquittal as “valueless” following what they termed an “unfair” trial.
“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,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts while presiding over the trial.
Only one Republican offered any dissent, choosing to vote alongside Democrats on the first count. But while Senator Mitt Romney risked the wrath of the conservative belt with his decision, he still opted to vote “not guilty” on the second charge of obstruction of Congress.
Trump is only the third U.S. president to have been impeached and tried—the first two were Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Responding to the “not guilty” verdict, he announced on Twitter that he would deliver a formal statement on Thursday from the White House “to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!”
While the White House declared that the vote granted Trump “full vindication and exoneration,” Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, warned that by clearing Trump Republicans had “normalized lawlessness.” She also slammed the trial, saying there is no trial without witnesses, documents and evidence. “Sadly, because of the Republican Senate’s betrayal of the Constitution, the president remains an ongoing threat to American democracy, with his insistence that he is above the law and that he can corrupt the elections if he wants to,” she added.