President Donald Trump was cleared by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday following a landmark intense 78-day House investigation of the Democrats impeachment trial that shone a harsh light on the tensions in America, without ever upsetting his electoral base’s allegiance.
Trump drew on staunch Republican support in a political victory for the U.S. leader to easily defeat a Democratic effort to expel him from office for pressuring Ukraine to help strengthen his reelection effort.
The president immediately claimed “victory,” while it was proclaimed a complete “exoneration” by the White House — and Democrats dismissed the acquittal as the “valueless” result of an unfair trial.
But the Senate vote revealed how strong a grasp the former real estate owner has over the Republican Party — an advantage nine months before it’s looking for a second four-year term.
Although several agreed that Trump’s behavior was incorrect, Republicans eventually remained loyal in voting to clear the president of charges of power abuse, 52-48, and Congress obstruction, 53-47—far from the two-thirds supermajority needed for conviction.
“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, who presided over the trial.
One Republican, a long-time Trump adversary, Senator Mitt Romney, faced White House wrath to vote on the first count alongside Democrats, saying Trump was “guilty of an egregious breach of public trust.” He voted not guilty on the second charge.
Trump’s impeachment and conviction would leave a permanent mark on his record, as it did for the only two presidents, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, to have met the same fate.
But since the House of Representatives formally impeached Trump in December, the Senate verdict has never been really in question, and it has now cleared up a major hurdle for the president to plunge fully into his November re-election campaign.
In reaction to the ruling, Trump announced a formal statement from the White House on Thursday to address “the VICTORY of our country on the Impeachment Hoax!”
The president had previously tweeted a montage depicting a fake Time magazine cover which declared him president for all years to come. Trump later tweeted a video attacking Romney, the first senator in US history to back his own party convicting a president.
While the White House proclaimed Trump to have received “complete vindication and exoneration,” the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, cautioned that Trump Republicans had “normalized lawlessness” by approving it.
“Without a trial there can be no acquittal, and there can be no trial without witnesses, documents and evidence,” said the top Democrat in Congress — who ripped up her copy of Trump’s State of the Union address on live television a day earlier.
Unfortunately, because of the violation of the Constitution by the Republican Senate, the president is a persistent threat to American democracy, maintaining that he is above the rules and that if he wants to, he will manipulate the elections.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said the acquittal was “virtually worthless” because Republicans turned down witnesses at his court, which Democrats said had never occurred before in any impeachment proceedings.
Encountered public suspicions and high-pressure stonewalling of the White House, a maneuver that led to the accusation of obstruction.
Concerned about the party’s political risk, Pelosi resisted an early last year appeal to impeach Trump on facts gathered by then-special counsel Robert Mueller that he had obstructed the investigation into Russia’s election meddling.
Yet her fears dissolved after new allegations emerged in August that Trump had lobbied Ukraine in his 2020 campaign for assistance.
Although doubting from the outset that they would win support from Republicans, an investigation piled up solid evidence to support the charges at alarming speed.
The evidence showed that Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and a close political partner, European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland, were preparing to pressure Kiev to help smear Democrats by launching inquiries into them, including Trump’s potential rival Joe Biden in 2020.