Donald Trump has been acquitted over impeachment by the US Senate, ending a historic and turbulent four-month ordeal and freeing him to seek re-election in November.
Senators voted by 52 to 48 to reject the abuse of power article of impeachment and 53 to 47 to defeat the obstruction of Congress article, meaning he remains in the White House.
Mitt Romney, the Utah senator and former Republican presidential nominee, was the only member of the body to vote against party lines, saying “guilty” to the charge of abuse of power.
Trump’s acquittal was nearly entirely along party lines. Every Democrat voted to convict Trump and all but one Republican voted to acquit him. Only Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, broke with his party and voted to remove the President from office by convicting him on abuse of power.
By the conclusion of the trial, there was only one thing on which weary lawmakers from both parties could agree: this impeachment has heralded a dangerous new hyper-partisan era that could damage the workings of government for a generation. Republicans said an impeachment process that was initiated and played out almost entirely along party lines was a disturbing use of a grave constitutional duty as a political weapon in an election year. Democrats said that Republican lawmakers had shirked their constitutional duties in their politically expedient support for Trump, even after multiple government officials testified that the President abused the authority of his office.
“We have changed. The members of Congress have changed,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Democrats’ lead impeachment manager, lamented during his closing arguments. Members of Congress, he said, are “now far more accepting of the most serious misconduct of a president as long as it is a president of one’s own party. And that is a trend most dangerous for our country.”
We will see what that will mean for the US.