06 February, 2020
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 Trump in December with pressuring Ukraine to smear a potential White House rival.
In November, Trump will be the first impeached president to go for 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.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment on 18 December.
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.
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.
Mitt Romney of Utah was the only Republican senator to cross the aisle and convict Trump, on the first charge of abuse of power.
Despite Democratic hopes, two other moderate Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, did not join Romney in voting to convict the president.
Three centrist Democratic senators who Republicans had hoped would side with them instead voted to convict Trump.
They were Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Doug Jones of Alabama.
A two-thirds majority vote was needed to remove Trump, which was always going to be a long shot in a 100-seat chamber controlled by his party.
The impeachment charges focused on Trump’s request that Kyiv announce a corruption investigation into Joe Biden, a Democratic White House candidate, and his son Hunter Biden.
Democrats accused 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 Trump with obstruction of Congress after the White House blocked testimony and documents sought by the House impeachment investigators.
The impeachment inquiry stemmed from Trump’s phone call on 25 July this year in which he asked Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to “do us a favor”.
Trump is the third US president to have been impeached.
The two others, Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868, were left in power by the Senate and did not seek re-election.
President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.
Democrats expressed concern that acquittal would further embolden a president whom they depict as a demagogue.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump remains “an ongoing threat to American democracy” and that Senate Republicans had “normalized lawlessness”
“No doubt, the president will boast he received total exoneration,” said the New York senator. “But we know better.”
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee warned before he voted to acquit that a guilty verdict would “rip the country apart”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the entire case against Trump had been a “circus” and “a colossal political mistake”
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the proceedings were a “sham” designed to destroy a presidency
Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, choked up on the Senate floor as he explained his decision to convict the president
Trump has probably not heard the last of the Ukraine investigation.
Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Wednesday the chamber would “likely” issue a subpoena to Trump’s former National Security Adviser, John Bolton.
Senate Republicans ultimately declined to seek Bolton’s testimony during the president’s impeachment trial, provoking uproar from Democrats.
A manuscript of a forthcoming Bolton memoir reportedly alleges Trump told his former national security adviser to help him pressure Ukraine. (Int’l News Desk)