On Wednesday, February 5th, President Trump was formally acquitted by the United States Senate on two articles of impeachment. This means Trump will remain in office for the remainder of this presidential term.
The president had been charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after the House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment on December 18, 2019.
President Trump had been accused of withholding nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine while asking that country to investigate a rival for his own personal or political gain. In the 2017 phone call to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, President Trump requested that the Ukrainian government investigate Hunter and Joe Biden.
After the exhausting five-month-long trial, the final Senate vote was split mostly down party lines with a final 52 – 48 not guilty verdict on the abuse of power charge and a total of 53 – 47 votes for not guilty on the obstruction of congress charge.
The public was met with a surprising twist when Mitt Romney, a Republican senator from Utah who ran against Obama in the 2012 elections, was the first to cross party lines and vote guilty on Trump’s abuse of power charge.
In the three impeachment trials the United States has held against a president, Romney has been the first senator to break from and vote to remove a member of their own party. Standing at a podium on the Senate floor, Romney spoke with misty eyes while choking back a cry, expressing that voting guilty was “the most difficult decision” he had ever faced.
“The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust… a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, national security and 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,” Romney said while explaining that his Christian faith was the main motivator in his choice to vote guilty.
After his acquittal, President Trump got to Twitter, sharing an attack advertisement which named the Utah senator a “Democrat secret asset.” He has since dismissed officials who testified against him in the impeachment hearings.