The Republican-controlled Senate has acquitted Donald Trump in his high-profile impeachment trial, giving the US President a major political victory in an election year but not before bitterly dividing the country and costing millions of dollars to the tax payers.
The Senate voted on Wednesday 52-48 to acquit Trump of abuse of power and 53-47 to absolve him of obstruction of Congress, the two charges he faced. The vote along party lines foiled the Democratic Party’s determined bid to overthrow Trump from the White House ahead of the November 3 presidential election.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment on December 18 after charging Trump with pressuring Ukraine to smear former US vice president Joe Biden, a potential Democratic rival in the 2020 presidential election, using nearly USD 400 million in military aid as leverage.
Though Trump, 73, has been acquitted, he will become the first impeached President to seek re-election.
A two-thirds majority vote was needed to remove Trump, which was always going to be a long shot in a 100-member Senate controlled by his Republican Party with 53 seats. “For now, the impeachment of Mr. Trump appears to have evenly divided the nation,” The New York Times reported. “The outcome represented a political triumph for the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,” The Washington Post noted.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham slammed the Opposition Democrats. “Today, the sham impeachment attempt concocted by Democrats ended in the full vindication and exoneration of President Donald J Trump. As we have said all along, he is not guilty,” she said.
“The Senate voted to reject the baseless articles of impeachment, and only the President’s political opponents — all Democrats, and one failed Republican presidential candidate — voted for the manufactured impeachment articles,” Grisham said.
Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale said, “The do-nothing Democrats know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him. This terrible ordeal was always a campaign tactic to invalidate the 2016 votes of 63 million Americans and was a transparent effort to interfere with the 2020 election, only nine months away.”
Democratic Party accused the Republican-dominated Senate of ignoring the facts, “the will of the American people and their duty to the Constitution”.
“Today, the President and Senate Republicans have normalized lawlessness and rejected the system of checks and balances of our Constitution,” said Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.