Senate votes to acquit Trump on articles of impeachment....
Senate votes to Acquit.
The Senate on Wednesday voted to acquit President Trump on impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his dealings with Ukraine, marking the end of the months-long saga that has dominated Washington.
Senators voted 48-52 on abuse of power and 47-53 on obstruction, falling well short of the two-thirds requirement for convicting Trump and removing him office.
Trump is the third president to be impeached in the country's history, and the first to run for reelection afterward. The battle also marked the first that occurred while the chambers of Congress weren't controlled by the same party, setting up the most sectarian and acrimonious of the three presidential impeachments.
Wednesday's votes cap off a weeks-long impeachment trial in which Trump's legal team and House managers spent hours making their case to the senators, but also to the American public.
President Trump has become the third president in history to be impeached.
The House passed both articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
President Donald Trump is already itching to broadcast the series finale of his impeachment.
The Trump team began its opening arguments in the Senate trial on Saturday, as Trump's lawyers tried to sow doubt about the Democrats' evidence that Trump asked Ukrainian leaders to investigative his political rival. The trial could conclude this week, depending on the mindset and demands of a handful of moderate Republican senators with whom the president's immediate fate now rests. If they vote with Democrats to call witnesses, then the trial could easily last an additional week and would buttress both the president's State of the Union address as well as the Iowa caucuses.
Undercutting the White House's strategy is new reporting that Trump told former national security adviser John Bolton to continue to withhold military aide to Ukraine until the country agreed to investigate his political opponents. The allegations, revealed by the New York Times, come from an excerpt of Bolton's upcoming book. Already it has renewed the Democrats' push to call witnesses during the Senate impeachment trial.
White House aides had been hoping to use the State of the Union address to lay out Trump's agenda for the rest of the year as well as a potential second term, and lately Trump has tried to cast impeachment and the investigations into his conduct as one of his many accomplishments for the country.
"I consider what I've done here, with this whole witch hunt, from day one with the insurance policy; with the horrible statements made between Strzok and Page; and McCabe; and Comey, who lied to Congress and did so many other bad things," he said during a press conference at Davos last week. "He lied and he leaked. When I finish, I think that this is going to go down as one of the greatest things I've done for our country. These are bad, corrupt people. These are bad people, and very bad for our country."
Meanwhile, the White House is doing its best to control and dominate the news cycle this week, with the goal of turning the coverage to Trump's political advantage. Current and former administration officials like the "counter-programming" approach to drown out negative news.
During the heart of the Senate impeachment trial this week, the White House will host a slew of activities including the presidential signing of USMCA, a major trade deal with Mexico and Canada, a visit from top Israeli leaders, the unveiling of the long-awaited Middle East peace plan; and a campaign rally in New Jersey. That's just the schedule Monday through Wednesday.
The tactic is seen by aides as one of the most effective tools to make Trump look presidential and busy with governing, while Democrats, they hope, look obsessed with the intricacies of impeachment. One senior administration official said it shows the president has not been driven into a "bunker" and consumed by the minute-by-minute updates from the Senate floor even if it's clear from Twitter that he's following along with the trial developments.
The counter-programming "elevates him above the partisan sniping going on on the Senate side and reminds people of the economic accomplishments and the global scale of his accomplishments like the trade deal or advancing Middle East peace," said Jason Miller, a former senior communications adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign. "It shows that President Trump is able to do these intricate things that have befuddled political professionals for decades."
The House has Impeached President Trump.
Here's what you need to know about the vote:
The House voted almost entirely along party lines: The House voted 230-197 to charge Trump with abuse of power and 229-198 to charge him with obstruction of Congress. Just two Democrats voted against both articles, Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who is expected to soon switch parties. A third, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voted for one impeachment article. Republican-turned independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan voted to impeach Trump on both counts. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted present for both articles.
There was a six-hour debate: An intense partisan debate over impeachment played out for hours on the House floor on rapid-fire fashion ahead of the impeachment votes. In one-to-two minute speeches, Democrats and Republicans traded passionate arguments for why they were voting for or against impeachment. Back and forth they went: Democrats explaining the duty to impeach, followed by Republicans declaring that impeachment was a massive mistake.
Trump held the longest rally speech of his presidency: Trump acknowledged the vote to impeach him, which occurred as he was speaking on stage at his nearly two-hour campaign rally in Michigan tonight. The votes occurred in the middle of his speech. It appeared he learned of the vote tallies from an aide. Trump used the result to tout Republican unity.
What happens next: The vote shifts the impeachment proceedings to the Senate, where a trial is expected in January. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republican senators at a policy lunch Tuesday that he will announce by the end of the week the date for the start of the Senate trial, according to sources. The Senate will decide whether to convict Trump and remove him from office.
High Crimes and Misdemeanors
House Democrats released articles of impeachment accusing Trump of abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment on Tuesday charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, a historic step that will define Trump's presidency and plunge Washington even deeper into a state of partisan polarization.
"We do not take this action lightly, but we have taken an oath to defend the Constitution and unlike President Trump, we understand that our duty first and foremost is to protect the Constitution and to protect the interests of the American people," Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said. "That is why we must take this solemn step today."
Standing alongside Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Nadler said Trump committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" by soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election and blocking the House's efforts to investigate the matter. In doing so, Democrats said, Trump betrayed the country and his oath of office, engaged in a "cover up" of his own alleged misconduct, and "ignored and injured the interests of the nation."
The announcement comes ahead of the Judiciary Committee's plans to approve the articles later this week on Thursday, according to multiple Democrats with a full House vote expected next week.
The articles written in a nine-page House resolution state that Trump sought to pressure Ukraine's government to announce investigations into his political rivals by "conditioning" official acts "of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of investigations."
"In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process," the resolution states, adding that Trump should be removed from office and further disqualified from holding federal office.
The unveiling of the articles comes a day after impeachment investigators presented their evidence to the Judiciary panel, with Democrats accusing Trump of prioritizing his personal political interests over U.S. national security when he sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.
The resolution states that Trump pressured Ukraine's president to open an investigation targeting former Vice President Joe Biden as well as other Democratic adversaries and withheld a crucial White House meeting and military aid to extract a public announcement of the probes.
Democrats' announcement Tuesday was a moment that, at times, seemed both inevitable and impossible amid the party's battles with the president.
It will also close the first year of the Democratic House majority with a call for Trump's removal from office just the third time in history the House will have taken that step. The next few days will likely feature a frenetic vote-counting effort and internal debate among Democrats about the form and scope of the articles of impeachment, particularly among vulnerable Democrats who have been wary of taking the impeachment plunge.
The announcement also came as Democrats attempt to end the year with a flurry of legislating and deal making with a president whom they are calling to oust including a major agreement on a North American trade pact that is one of Trump's top priorities.
Nadler said the articles of impeachment outline how Trump "compromised our national security and threatened the integrity of our elections," and subsequently "attempted to conceal evidence" when he sought to block investigators' access to key witnesses and documents as part of their investigation.
Nadler added that Trump "engaged in unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance" of the impeachment inquiry, summarizing the article charging Trump with obstruction of Congress. It was a nod to the third article of Richard Nixon's impeachment a process that was halted when Nixon ultimately resigned.
"Without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed executive branch agencies, offices and officials not to comply with subpoenas," the impeachment resolution states.
It names specific departments and agencies that have refused to produce subpoenaed documents, including the Office of Management and Budget, the State Department and the Pentagon. The resolution also names the senior officials who defied subpoenas seeking their testimony including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, OMB Director Russell Vought, and National Security Council attorney John Eisenberg.
Members of the Judiciary Committee previewed some of the language of the articles during their public questioning of witnesses throughout the impeachment inquiry. For example, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) pressed witnesses about the administration"s blanket defiance of demands for testimony and documents.
"In the history of the republic, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate 'high crimes and misdemeanors,'" the resolution states.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the facts uncovered by impeachment investigators are "overwhelming and uncontested," even as Republicans continue to assert that there is no direct evidence tying Trump to the Ukraine scheme that Democrats have portrayed. m
In a statement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Democrats were engaging in a "baseless and partisan attempt to undermine" Trump.
"House Democrats have long wanted to overturn the votes of 63 million Americans," Grisham said. "They have determined that they must impeach President Trump because they cannot legitimately defeat him at the ballot box."
Democrats sought to use the articles to outline a "pattern" of Trump's alleged misconduct, including his efforts to thwart special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
The resolution states that Trump's refusal to comply with the inquiry was "consistent with President Trump's previous efforts to undermine United States government investigations into foreign interference in United States elections" a veiled reference to allegations that Trump sought to shut down the Mueller investigation.
Schiff said that despite ongoing court battles that could ultimately yield substantial testimony from key witnesses, the House should not delay its proceedings.
"Despite everything we have uncovered the president's misconduct continues to this day, unapologetically and right now," Schiff said. "The argument 'why don't you just wait' amounts to this: Why don't you just let him cheat in one more election?"