Donald Trump acquitted in impeachment trial by the Senate

6 February 2020, 00:48 | Updated: 6 February 2020, 00:51

Donald Trump has been acquitted in his impeachment trial - only the third in history
Donald Trump has been acquitted in his impeachment trial - only the third in history. Picture: PA

US President Donald Trump has been acquitted by the Senate of charges of abuse of power and obstruction, bring to an end the third presidential impeachment in American history.

The chamber voted on two articles of impeachment - one claiming Trump abused power by pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of Joe Biden by withholding military aid, and the second claiming he withheld evidence from Congress during the investigation.

On the first trial, the Senate voted 52 to 48 to acquit Trump of the charge.

There needed to be a two-thirds majority in order for the President to be removed from power.

On the obstruction of Congress charge, Senators voted 53 to 47.

Most Republicans stuck fast and voted to stop their President from being removed, but one surprising breakaway was former Presidential candidate was Mitt Romney who earlier said he thought Trump was “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”

Senators voted to acquit Trump on both articles of impeachment
Senators voted to acquit Trump on both articles of impeachment. Picture: PA

He added what Trump did “was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security, and our fundamental values.

"Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one's oath of office that I can imagine.”

"My vote will likely be in the minority in the Senate, but irrespective of these things, with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability believing that my country expected it of me."

Democrats had pushed through the trial from Congress, but the many had claimed the trial was doomed from the start in the Republican-held Senate.

The Senate needed at least two-thirds to vote to convict for the constitution's bar of high crimes and misdemeanours to convict and remove the president from office.

Republican Mitt Romney was the only one to break ranks and vote against Trump
Republican Mitt Romney was the only one to break ranks and vote against Trump. Picture: PA
It comes the day after Trump gave his annual State of Union address
It comes the day after Trump gave his annual State of Union address. Picture: PA

The outcome caps nearly five months of impeachment proceedings launched in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's House of Representatives, ending in Mitch McConnell's Senate and reflective of the nation's unrelenting partisan divide three years into the Trump presidency.

No president has ever been removed by the Senate, and Mr Trump arrived at the Capitol for his State of the Union address on the eve of the vote eager to use the tally as vindication, a political anthem in his White House re-election bid.

With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, senators sworn to do "impartial justice" will stand at their desk for the roll call and state their votes - "guilty" or "not guilty."

Nancy Pelosi has been a key force behind the impeachment process
Nancy Pelosi has been a key force behind the impeachment process. Picture: PA

Today's voted marked only the third time a President has been on an impeachment trial.

Both Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868 drew cross-party support when they were left in office after an impeachment trial.

President Richard Nixon resigned rather than face revolt from his own party.

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