President Donald Trump on Wednesday was found not guilty of all articles of impeachment, putting him on the verge of a successful 2020 re-election. The third presidential impeachment trial in American history came to a close but rapid conclusion.
Senators sworn to do “impartial justice” are rising to stand at their desks and state their votes for the roll call — “guilty” or “not guilty” — as Chief Justice John Roberts presided.
On the first article of impeachment, Trump was charged with abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, in what House Democrats said political quid pro quo for personal political gain. He withheld U.S. security aid as leverage over the ally confronting a hostile Russia, though the money was eventually released.
President Trump was acquitted on both charges — obstruction of Congress and abuse of power — just after 4:30 pm, obstruction of Congress, over the administration’s defiance of the House’s requests for testimony in the ensuing probe.
Trump insisted throughout the proceedings that he did nothing wrong, and the president is eager for vindication as he launches his reelection bid.
The president’s legal defense said the articles of impeachment approved last year by the House did not rise to grounds for conviction in the Senate trial.
This is a developing breaking news story.
Additional Reporting by The Associated Press