WASHINGTON, D.C., February 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump of both articles of impeachment Wednesday afternoon, ending a months-long political battle and giving Trump another potent talking point going into his re-election campaign later this year.
(2/2): “…it is, therefore, ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles.”
— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) February 5, 2020
The impeachment push was sparked in September by Trump’s requests that the Ukrainian government help investigate foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden’s role in the ouster of a prosecutor who had been investigating his son’s business dealings in the country.
Trump’s defenders argue it’s legitimate for world leaders to request assistance in rooting out a previous administration’s potential corruption; his opponents claim it was at the very least inappropriate given Trump and Biden’s political rivalry, and a serious abuse of power if Trump made congressionally-authorized foreign aid a condition of compliance.
Specifically, the two articles of impeachment accused the president of “abuse of power” in his requests to Ukraine, and “obstruction of Congress” for the administration’s non-compliance with House subpoenas.
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted 230-197 in December to impeach the president, but it was always considered unrealistic that the Republican-controlled Senate would vote to remove him from office. A 67-vote supermajority would have been required to convict and remove Trump, though a simple majority voting to acquit on both counts gives Trump a rhetorical vindication on top of allowing him to remain in office.
At National Review, former federal prosecutor and conservative legal analyst Andy McCarthy concluded the charges against Trump “range from insignificant to implausible to inane,” with the vague “abuse of power” meant to mask the “lack of an identifiable crime” on the president’s part. As for the obstruction claim, he argued that disputes between government branches over information requests often hinge on debatable issues of executive privilege or legal confidentiality, and as such “are meant to be resolved by politics, not judges.”
Every Senate Democrat voted to convict Trump on both articles, including perceived “moderate” Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a longtime critic of the president, was the only Republican who voted to convict (albeit on abuse of power, not on the obstruction charge), provoking conservative ire and enabling Trump’s left-wing detractors to claim the vote was “bipartisan.” Liberal Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who were perceived as potential swing votes, both chose to acquit Trump.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2020
President Trump has not yet issued a statement on the outcome, but did tweet the above video following the vote, which humorously suggests his detractors will be stuck with him far longer than four years.