Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote


Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote

Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two Republican swing votes who have tilted against the president in the past, both voted against conviction and removal. And two Democrats from traditionally red states, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, voted to convict Mr. Trump, denying him a badly wanted bipartisan acquittal.

Democrats, who had lobbied hard to include witnesses and documents that Mr. Trump shielded from the House in the Senate proceeding, wasted little time in declaring the trial a sham. Senators had been offered evidence, including testimony by the former national security adviser John R. Bolton, that would have further clarified the president’s actions and motivations, they said. All but two Republicans refused, making the trial the first impeachment proceeding in American history to reach a verdict without calling witnesses.

As they closed their case this week, the seven Democratic House managers who prosecuted the case argued that Mr. Trump would emerge emboldened in his monarchical tendencies, and that those who appeased him would be judged harshly by history. Republicans, they said, had chosen to leave the president’s future up to voters in the very election in which they believe Mr. Trump is still trying to cheat.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, made a similar case in the minutes before the vote.

“The verdict of this kangaroo court will be meaningless,” Mr. Schumer said. “By refusing the facts — by refusing witnesses and documents — the Republican majority has placed a giant asterisk, the asterisk of a sham trial, next to the acquittal of President Trump, written in permanent ink.”

Seldom used in American history, impeachment is the Constitution’s most extreme mechanism for checking a corrupt or out of control office holder. In unsheathing it, even reluctantly, House Democrats took on political risk that could backfire in November on their presidential nominee or the House majority if voters conclude the effort was an overzealous partisan attack. Senate Republicans and Democrats up for re-election in swing states may face their own judgment for their stances on including witnesses in the trial or on Mr. Trump’s guilt.

At least one Democrat, Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, glancingly acknowledged that his vote to convict would most likely contribute to his loss this fall in deeply conservative Alabama.


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