The U.S. Senate predictably cleared President Donald
Trump on Wednesday of charges that he pressured Ukraine for political
favors — with one lone Republican, Senator Mitt Romney, voting against.
Democrats fell far short of winning the needed 67 votes to convict the president of abuse of power, the first charge, followed by a second on obstruction of Congress.
Trump’s impeachment trial was the third against a president in the country’s nearly 2 1/2-century history with the same likely result, acquittal after a Senate trial. Andrew Johnson in the mid-19th century and Bill Clinton two decades ago were both exonerated and remained in office to finish their terms.
Trump, meanwhile, is the first acquitted president to then face a re-election contest to remain in office.
The president made no mention of impeachment during his State of the Union address Tuesday night. But he has derided the process throughout as a “witch hunt” and said he did nothing wrong.
The articles of impeachment charged Trump with abusing his power by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch the Biden investigations even as he withheld $391 million in military aid to Ukraine that Kyiv wanted to help fight pro-Russian separatists.
Trump released the assistance in September without Zelenskiy announcing any Biden investigations, which Republicans said was proof Trump had not engaged in a quid pro quo deal with Ukraine, the military aid in exchange for the politically tinged probes.
The second impeachment article accused Trump of obstructing congressional investigations into his Ukraine-related actions by directing key aides of his to not testify before impeachment investigators or provide documents.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday, “The administration, its top people and Senate Republicans are all hiding the truth. The charges are extremely serious. To interfere in an election, to blackmail a foreign country to interfere in our elections, gets at the very core of what our democracy is about.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Trump supporter who helped plan an abbreviated trial that didn’t allow for new witness testimony or evidence, said the impeachment charges against Trump did not “even approach a case for the first presidential removal in American history.”