The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to acquit President Donald Trump on impeachment charges brought by the House of Representatives late last year.
That means Trump won’t be removed from the White House and can remain in office through at least January 2021, when the winner of the November 2020 presidential election will take office. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah announced Wednesday that he would cross party lines to join Democrats in supporting Trump’s conviction. Romney supported the article charging Trump with abuse of power, but voted against the article charging him with obstruction of Congress.
Only a simple majority of House members was needed to approve the two articles of impeachment against the president. But votes from a two-thirds majority of senators would have been needed to convict and remove Trump from office.
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Democrats in the House say Trump withheld $400 million in military aid from Ukraine in order to get that country to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
The House Judiciary Committee released a report in December outlining the two articles of impeachment and evidence against Trump.The report states: “Taken together, the articles charge that President Trump has placed his personal, political interests above our national security, our free and fair elections, and our system of checks and balances. He has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that will continue if left unchecked. Accordingly, President Trump should be impeached and removed from office.”
SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
In terms of removing Trump from office, Democrats’ focus moves to the 2020 election.At the impeachment trial, Trump’s lawyers argued that the choice to remove a president should have been left to the voters in November — and that Democrats were undermining American voters’ will by trying to remove him.Democrats’ House impeachment managers countered that impeachment was the appropriate recourse because Trump was accused of trying to influence the 2020 election itself by pushing Ukraine’s leader to investigate Biden, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president.