The U.S. Senate voted largely along party lines Wednesday to clear President Donald Trump of the two impeachment articles passed by the House of Representatives in December, ending only the third such trial in American history.
Republican hopes for a unified front resisting the president’s ouster were dashed when Sen. Mitt Romney voted in favor of conviction on the abuse of power charge, but the Utah senator toed the party line on obstruction of Congress in a second vote.
All of the Senate’s 45 Democrats and two Independents voted to convict the president on both charges.
Romney earlier Wednesday announced his vote, saying Trump is “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”
“My promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and political biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience,” Romney told the Senate.
“Corrupting an election to keep one’s self in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive of one’s oath of office that I can imagine,” he added.
An oftentimes critic of the president, Romney had been eyed as the Republican senator most likely to break ranks with his party and support Trump’s removal from office. But given the two-thirds majority needed for that to happen, Democrats were certain to fail to gain the necessary support from across the aisle.
Soon after the historic vote, the White House issued a statement saying the trial ended in Trump’s “full vindication and exoneration.”
“As we have said all along, he is not guilty. The Senate voted to reject the baseless articles of impeachment, and only the President’s political opponents – all Democrats, and one failed Republican presidential candidate – voted for the manufactured impeachment articles,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
Trump will give a speech on the acquittal “victory” from the White House on Thursday.
“I will be making a public statement tomorrow at 12:00pm from the @WhiteHouse to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!” Trump tweeted.
Both of the charges stem from Trump’s repeated efforts to have Ukraine publicly announce criminal investigations into Democratic front-runner Joe Biden and his subsequent refusal to participate in the House’s investigation of the matter.
Conviction on either charge would have resulted in Trump’s removal from office.
Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to face a Senate impeachment trial. He along with Presidents Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were all acquitted of wrongdoing.
Shortly after his acquittal, Trump took to Twitter, posting a video of himself at the end of a series of election signs that gradually increased in election year increments as music built in tempo until the camera focused in on Trump standing above a sign that eventually read: “Trump 4EVA.”