By Miriam Raftery
February 5, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – After refusing to allow any witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, the Senate voted to acquit the President, who will remain in office. The vote split down party lines with the exception of Utah Senator and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the lone Republican who voted to convict on one of the two counts.
Romney said that his vote stemmed from his “inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it.” He said Mr. Trump was “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust” and indicated he was voting to convict despite the prospect of retaliation for becoming the first member of Congress ever to vote to convict a president in his own political party. Read his floor speech.
Pushback came quickly from Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son, who tweeted, ““Mitt Romney is forever bitter that he will never be POTUS. He was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he’s joining them now. He’s now officially a member of the resistance & should be expelled from the @GOP.”
The vote was 52-48 for acquittal on abuse of power and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress, the two charges of impeachment filed by the House of Representatives. The abuse of power charge stemmed from Trump’s actions to block military aid to the Ukraine and pressure Ukraine’s president to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, one of Trump’s political rivals running in the 2020 presidential race. The obstruction of Congress charged stemmed from the Trump White House refusing to turn over documents requested by Congress or allow witnesses to testify.
Trump is the third president to face impeachment; Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were also both acquitted down partisan lines. However a fourth president, Richard Nixon, resigned to avoid an impeachment trial after members of his own party told him there were enough votes in Congress to impeach and remove him from office for his cover-up of the Watergate break-in at Democratic party headquarters for purposes of swaying an election.
It will now be up to voters in November to determine whether to reelect President Trump, who is virtually certain to receive the Republican party nomination, or vote him out and elect whichever candidate wins the Democratic primary race.