Trump acquitted by Senate in impeachment trial

Written By: BBC
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President Donald Trump has been cleared in his impeachment trial

President Donald Trump has been cleared in his impeachment trial, ending a congressional bid to oust him from the office that bitterly divided the US.

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The Senate, run by the president’s fellow Republicans, voted to acquit him 52-48 on charges of abuse of power and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress.

Democrats charged Mr. Trump in December with pressuring Ukraine to smear a potential White House rival.

The vote means Mr. Trump will remain in office.

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In November, he will become the first impeached president to seek re-election.

In its historic vote on Wednesday, the Senate decided not to remove America’s 45th president from office on charges arising from his dealings with Ukraine.

If convicted on either charge, Mr. Trump would have had to turn over his office to Vice-President Mike Pence.

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The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment on 18 December.

Mr. Trump, who is seeking a second four-year term in the 3 November election, always denied wrongdoing.

His re-election campaign said in a statement: “President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people.

“The do-nothing Democrats know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him.” It said “this terrible ordeal” and “nonsense” was merely a Democratic campaign tactic.

Mr. Trump, who is seeking a second four-year term in the 3 November election, always denied wrongdoing.

His re-election campaign said in a statement: “President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people.

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“The do-nothing Democrats know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him.” It said “this terrible ordeal” and “nonsense” was merely a Democratic campaign tactic.

The statement added: “This impeachment hoax will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history.”

Mr. Trump – whose personal approval rating with American voters hit a personal best of 49% this week, according to Gallup – tweeted that he would speak on Thursday about the case.

Despite Democratic hopes, two other moderate Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska did not join Mr. Romney in voting to convict the president.

Some Republican senators criticized Trump’s behavior in recent days but said it did not rise to the level of impeachment.

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Mr. Trump has argued that the younger Biden improperly held a board position with a Ukrainian natural gas firm while his father was US vice-president and in charge of American-Ukrainian relations.

Democrats accused Mr. Trump of abusing his power by withholding $391m (£300m) in security aid to prod Ukraine’s president into digging up dirt on the Bidens.

They also charged Mr. Trump with obstruction of Congress after the White House blocked testimony and documents sought by the House impeachment investigators.

The impeachment inquiry stemmed from Mr. Trump’s phone call on 25 July this year in which he asked Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to “do us a favor”.

Following a complaint from an anonymous government whistleblower, Democrats launched their investigation in September, compiling a 28,000-page report.

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