By Alberto Garcia
The impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is over after the US Senate voted against the two articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives in December.
On Wednesday, Senators cast their votes on the two separate articles: Article I, which impeached Trump for abuse of power; and Article II, which impeached him for obstruction of Congress.
Under the impeachment process outlined in the US Constitution, the House of Representatives has the power to impeach by a simple majority vote, but the Senate has the power to hold a trial for removal from office which must pass by a two-thirds vote, or 67 Senators.
The Democrat-controlled House voted to impeach President Trump along party lines on December 18th. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waiting until January 11th to release the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
During the past month, experts speculated whether the Senate would vote to call witnesses and allow more evidence to be reviewed during the impeachment trial. Since the passage of the Articles of Impeachment by the House, several witnesses have indicated they would testify if called by the Senate.
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who initially objected to testifying before the House, indicted in January that he would be willing to testify if called by the Senate.
Recently leaked portions of Bolton’s upcoming book appear to show that Trump asked Bolton to withhold military aid to Ukraine to force them into announcing investigations into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, becoming the first person close to the President to admit to having direct knowledge of the issue at the center of the impeachment.
After Bolton’s book leaks became public, however, President Trump said he would block Bolton from testifying by invoking executive privilege.
Last week, the Senate voted on motions by Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on whether to call witnesses, including John Bolton. All votes to call witnesses and allow more evidence failed on party-line votes of 47-53. Republicans refused to allow any witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial.
The Senate held its floor votes on the articles of impeachment on Wednesday this week.
In a surprise movie, Utah Senator Mitt Romney became the only Republican to vote for Article I, saying the President was “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust”. The article still failed by a 48-52 vote.
Romney, however, voted with all the other Republicans against Article II of obstructing Congress, saying that the House did not exhaust all avenues possible to deliver evidence and witnesses. All 47 Democrats voted for both articles.
After the Senate failed to approve both articles, President Trump on Thursday lashed out at what he called “evil” and “corrupt” opponents.
“It was evil, it was corrupt. It was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars and this should never happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it,” Trump said during a speech in the East Room of the White House.
Trump, of course, was not the first president to face impeachment and survive a Senate trial. President Andrew Johnson was impeached by the House in 1868, but later acquitted by the Senate. President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House in 1998, and also acquitted by the Senate.