Donald Trump, who faced the brunt of impeachment, has been cleared in his impeachment trial, ending a congressional bid to oust him from the office that bitterly divided the US.
The president’s fellow Republicans in the Senate voted to acquit him 52-48 on charges of abuse of power and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress.
In December the Democrats charged Mr. Trump with pressuring Ukraine to smear a potential White House rival.
The vote means Mr. Trump will remain in office.
In November, he will become the first impeached president in American history to seek re-election.
The Senate decided that America’s 45th president will remain on office and not be removed on charges arising from his dealings with Ukraine after the historic vote on Wednesday.
If convicted on either charge, Mr Trump would have had to turn over his office to Vice-President Mike Pence.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment on 18 December.
Why was he impeached?
The House of Representatives impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and for obstructing Congress. He was accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic Party leader Joe Biden. A leading contender for his party’s presidential nomination – while using as leverage a nearly $400-million package of military assistance.
How did President Trump react?
Mr. Trump, has always denied any wrongdoing and at the same time, he is seeking a second four-year term in the 3 November election.
His re-election campaign said in a statement: “President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people.
“The do-nothing, the Democrats, know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him.” It said “this terrible ordeal”, and “nonsense” was merely a Democratic campaign tactic.
Mr 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.
“The Senate acquitted President Trump of both charges fabricated by Congressional Democrats, led by Speaker Pelosi and Adam Schiff, to carry out the most egregious and partisan attack against any president in our history – a man they knew to be innocent.” @LouDobbs @FoxBusiness— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2020
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 Mr 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”.
Donald Trump’s take on acquittal from impeachment charges.
After being cleared of from impeachment charges, Donald Trump celebrates his acquittal at the White House on Thursday along with his family, Republican Party members, and Cabinet colleagues, PTI reported.
“We went through hell, unfairly, did nothing wrong, did nothing wrong,” said Trump. “I’ve done things wrong in my life, I will admit. This is really not a news conference. It’s not a speech. It’s not anything. It’s just we’re sort of – it’s a celebration because we have something that just worked out. I mean it worked out.” Trump spoke for more than an hour.
President Trump addressed the members of the US Congress as “warriors” for handling the impeachment proceedings proficiently. He said the allegations involving Russia and former US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 elections.
Trump called Democratic Party politicians, who initiated the impeachment proceedings, “lousy”. “These people are vicious,” he said. “Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person. Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person. And she wanted to impeach a long time ago.”
“It’s called ‘total acquittal’ – words Trump described as “gorgeous” and said that he never thought it would sound so good.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 52-48 to acquit him on charges of abuse of power and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress. A two-thirds majority in the 100-seat chamber was needed to remove the president from his position. The Republicans control the Senate 53–47.