President Donald Trump won impeachment acquittal in the U.S. Senate yesterday. The decision brought to a close the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.
With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, senators stood and stated their votes for the roll call—“guilty” or “not guilty.” The tally was clear. The number of guilty votes on both articles (the charges against the President) fell far below the 67-vote threshold to remove him from office.
On the first article, abuse of power, 48 senators voted to convict. The second article, obstruction of Congress, received only 47 votes. The votes fell almost exclusively along party lines, with Democrats voting to impeach and all but one Republican voting to acquit.
A majority of senators expressed unease with President Trump’s interactions with Ukraine that were behind the allegations. But the Constitution requires a verdict that “high crimes and misdemeanors” were committed in order to warrant conviction and removal from office. The Senate majority was not convinced that the President’s actions qualified as grounds for removal.
As the case closed, Justice Roberts wished senators well in “our common commitment to the Constitution,” and hoped to meet again “under happier circumstances.”
(In this image from video of the trial at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., the vote total on the first article of impeachment is displayed on screen. Senate Television via AP)