NEW YORK POST- The Senate voted Wednesday afternoon to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment against him.
The chamber first handily voted down the article alleging abuse of power, 52 – 48, affirming an outcome that was widely expected essentially since the trial’s start on Jan. 21.
Minutes later, they voted 53-47 against the second article, alleging obstruction of Congress.
The effort to remove Trump from office needed the support of at least two-thirds — or 67 members — of the GOP-controlled body to carry, but Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was the only one of the 53 Republicans in the chamber to buck party lines and vote to convict on the first article.
He responded not guilty on the second article, making that acquittal a strict party-line vote.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat in the Trump stronghold of West Virginia, stuck to party lines, voting to convict.
No president has ever been removed from office via impeachment.
Senators will now vote on the second article of impeachment, alleging obstruction of Congress, for which an acquittal is also expected.
Approved in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in December, the two articles alleged wrongdoing by Trump in his request that Ukraine probe former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over their dealings in Ukraine.
Democrats alleged that that ask — made during a July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — constituted a quid pro quo because $391 million in US military aid to Ukraine hung in the balance at the time.
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and characterized the impeachment push as a partisan “witch hunt.”
Despite passing in the House, the impeachment bid was long expected to falter in the upper chamber.
But seemingly the final nail in the coffin came when the Senate voted last week, 51 to 49, to not call any witnesses in the trial.
Swing-vote Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander and Lisa Murkowski, respectively of Tennessee and Alaska, have said that they felt Trump committed actions that were “inappropriate,” but did not rise to warranting removal from office.
Following the acquittal, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), thanked the chamber’s pages as well as the presiding judge, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
McConnell presented Roberts with a ceremonial golden gavel as a token of his gratitude.
“We typically award this to new senators after about 100 hours in the chair, but we can all agree that the chief justice has put in his due and then some,” said McConnell of the memento.
“We know full well that his presence as our presiding officer came in addition to — not instead of — his day job across the street,” he added. “So the Senate thanks the chief justice and his staff who helped him to perform this unique role.”
As for the third branch of government, Trump announced in a tweet that he would issue a statement on “our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax” at noon Thursday from the White House.
In an earlier tweet, he also celebrated his acquittal by with an uncaptioned video clip of a mocked-up Time magazine cover suggesting he would be president “4EVA.”
For 2020, at least, re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale hailed the acquittal as a greenlight to move forward.
“President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people,” wrote Parscale. “The do-nothing Democrats know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him.
“Since the President’s campaign only got bigger and stronger as a result of this nonsense, this impeachment hoax will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history.”