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Senate acquits Trump on two articles of impeachment

Posted in World

Published on February 10, 2020 with No Comments

What was Trump accused of ?

The impeachment charges focused on Donald Trump’s request that Kyiv announce a corruption investigation into Joe Biden, a Democratic White House candidate, and his son Hunter Biden.

Trump has argued that the younger Biden improperly held a board position with a Ukrainian natural gas firm while his father was US vice-president and in charge of American-Ukrainian relations.

Democrats accused Donald Trump of abusing his power by withholding $391m (£300m) in security aid to prod Ukraine’s president into digging up dirt on the Bidens. They also charged President Trump with obstruction of Congress after the White House blocked testimony and documents sought by the House impeachment investigators.

The impeachment inquiry stemmed from Trump’s phone call on 25 July this year in which he asked Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to “do us a favour”.

Following a complaint from an anonymous government whistleblower, Democrats launched their investigation in September, compiling a 28,000-page report.

What is the historical precedent?

Donald Trump is the third US president to have been impeached. The two others, Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868, were left in power by the Senate and did not seek re-election. President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.

How did Democrats react?

Democrats expressed concern that acquittal would further embolden a president whom they depict as a demagogue.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Mr Trump remains “an ongoing threat to American democracy” and that Senate Republicans had “normalised lawlessness”
  • Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said there will always be “a giant asterisk next to the president’s acquittal”
  • “No doubt, the president will boast he received total exoneration,” said the New York senator. “But we know better.”

What did Republican senators say?

  • Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee warned before he voted to acquit that a guilty verdict would “rip the country apart”
  • Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the entire case against Mr Trump had been a “circus” and “a colossal political mistake”
  • Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the proceedings were a “sham” designed to destroy a presidency
  • Mr Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, choked up on the Senate floor as he explained his decision to convict the president
  • He said Donald Trump had been “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust” and “a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security and our fundamental values”.

The Senate has voted to acquit President Donald Trump on two charges, an expected outcome to the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. The chamber voted 52-48 in favor of the president on an abuse of power charge and 53-47 on an obstruction of Congress charge. Within minutes of the votes, Trump posted a video on Twitter showing him on the cover of Time Magazine with campaign signs suggesting he’ll continue to run for the presidency even after he’s reached a term limit at the end of 2024. It’s a doctored social media video that was originally posted by Time when it ran a story on “How Trumpism Outlasts Trump.”

A statement from press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the votes a “full vindication and exoneration” of Trump. “Throughout this wholly corrupt process, President Trump successfully advanced the interests of the United States and remained focused on the issues that matter to Americans,” she said. “He spent his time achieving real victories for the people of this country, and the Democrats — once again — have nothing to show for their fraudulent schemes. The president is pleased to put this latest chapter of shameful behavior by the Democrats in the past, and looks forward to continuing his work on behalf of the American people in 2020 and beyond.”

A two-thirds majority vote was required to remove Trump from office on either charge, meaning 20 Republicans would have had to break ranks and vote with Democrats. Had the chamber voted to convict Trump, he would’ve become the first U.S. president to be removed from office under the impeachment process. Trump’s Republican Party supporters control the chamber and had shown no indications of wavering in their stated intentions of acquitting him on charges that say he abused his power in pressing Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden last year and obstructed the House investigation that followed. After the vote, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer released a clip of part of his Senate floor speech on Twitter.

“Madison and Washington were right. There’s no greater subversion of our democracy than for powers outside our borders to determine elections within. For an American president to deliberately solicit such a thing — blackmail a foreign country to help win an election — is unforgivable,” he said.

 

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