Not Guilty: Sharply divided Senate acquits President Trump

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Senate aquits President Trump of impeachment (Photo: ABC News)

(ABC NEWS/WWAY) — The months-long impeachment and Senate trial of President Donald Trump came down to an anticlimactic end Wednesday afternoon with acquittal on both articles.

But there was drama on the Senate floor when each senator’s name was called, and standing at their desks, they pronounced Trump “guilty” or “not guilty” as required by Senate rules on each of the two articles alleging “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.”

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The Constitution requires “[N]o Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.”

Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to face an impeachment trial, but largely because Republicans have a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, his fate has been mostly a foregone conclusion since even before the proceedings began.

Earlier Wednesday, in a dramatic moment on the Senate floor, Utah Republican Mitt Romney announced he would vote to convict Trump, the first to break ranks with his party and the first senator ever to say he would find a president of his own party guilty.



Meanwhile, Rep. David Rouzer, Senator Thom Tillis and Senator Richard Burr released statements on the vote to acquit President Trump.

Congressman Rouzer statement:

“The facts show that the Democrats’ impeachment obsession began before President Trump even took office.  Finally, this chapter of the hard left’s obsession with removal of this President has come to an end.  All this endeavor has done is divide the country even more.  Rather than continue on this path, let us unite in focusing on the pressing domestic and international issues that face our country.”

Sen. Tillis statement:

“This entire impeachment effort was motivated by partisan politics and a desire to remove the President from office instead of allowing the American people to decide his fate at the ballot box in November. Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats denied the President basic due process rights from the start and ultimately presented a weak case for removal that was rejected by the Senate. The President has been acquitted and we now need to move on. I’m committed to continuing my work to deliver more results for North Carolinians to keep our economy and military strong.”

Senator Burr statement:

“In my 25 years representing North Carolina in Congress, I have cast thousands of votes, each with their own significance. I approached today’s vote with sober and deliberate consideration, conscious of my Constitutional responsibility to serve as an impartial juror. The Senate’s role is to determine whether the House has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and whether, if true, these charges rise to the level of removing the President from office.

The House had ample opportunity to pursue the answers to its inquiry in order to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. They chose not to do so. Instead, investigators followed an arbitrary, self-imposed timeline dictated by political, rather than substantive, concerns. When due process threatened to slow down the march forward, they took shortcuts.

The Founding Fathers who crafted our modern impeachment mechanism predicted this moment, and warned against a solely partisan and politically-motivated process. They understood that an impeachment process rooted purely in disagreements about policy would subordinate the Executive to Congress, rather than delineating it as a co-equal branch of our federal government. Instead, they believed issues that do not meet the Constitutional threshold for impeachment should be navigated through our electoral process.

To remove a U.S. President from office, for the first time in our history, on anything less than overwhelming evidence of ‘Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors’ would effectively overturn the will of the American people. For these reasons, I voted to acquit the President on both articles of impeachment.”