UPDATE: February 5, 2020 4:50 PM: West Virginia’s U.S. Senators, Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) have released statements on their votes in the impeachment trial in which the US Senate acquitted President Donald Trump.
Senator Manchin, who voted “guilty” on both articles, said, “The charges brought against President Trump are serious and carry grave consequences for our nation… I have always wanted a fair trial in the Senate, and I am disappointed the President, his counsel, and a majority of my Republican colleagues decided not to support the inclusion of additional witnesses and documents during the trial, resulting in the first Senate impeachment trial of a President without witnesses… I have reached my conclusion reluctantly. For the reasons above I must vote yes on the articles of impeachment. I take no pleasure in these votes, and am saddened this is the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren.”
Senator Capito, who voted “not guilty” on both articles, said, “Our Constitution makes clear that only a particularly grave act – “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” – would justify a senator voting to reverse the will of the voters and remove from office the person they chose to lead our nation… I listened with an open mind to the arguments made by both the House managers and the president’s attorneys. I read the trial briefs submitted by both parties, and I listened as both sides answered questions from the Senate. Having considered the arguments and evidence, the House’s articles of impeachment do not provide me with a sufficient rationale for reversing the 2016 election and removing President Trump from the ballot in 2020.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — The US Senate has voted to acquit President Donald Trump in the impeachment trial. The trial is just the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. It began last month in the Senate nearly one month after the Democrat-led House voted to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
West Virginia’s U.S. Senators, Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) were split in their votes on both articles, Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress, with Manchin voting “guilty” and Capito voting “not guilty.”
The vote on Article I, Abuse of Power, is 52 “not guilty” and 48 “guilty.” All the Senate Democrats plus Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah and two independent senators voted guilty.
The vote on Article II, Obstruction of Congress, reflects the first with 53 “not guilty” and 47 “guilty.” All the Senate Democrats and two independent senators voted guilty.
Before the vote, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said he will vote to convict President Donald Trump, becoming the only Republican to break ranks in the Senate’s impeachment trial and favor removing Trump from office. Romney voted “not guilty” on Article II.
In a remarkable spectacle, Romney’s decision to vote “guilty” on Article I meant the GOP’s unsuccessful 2012 presidential nominee would be voting to oust a Republican president who seldom hides his contempt for the well-mannered party establishment that the patrician Romney symbolizes.
As Trump plunges into his reelection effort, Romney’s move also denied Trump a campaign talking point of asserting he had been unanimously acquitted by Republicans in a strictly partisan drive to remove him.
Senators sworn to do “impartial justice” rose to stand at their desks and state their votes for the roll call — “guilty” or “not guilty” — as Chief Justice John Roberts presided.
On Article I, Trump is charged with abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, in what House Democrats said political quid pro quo for personal political gain. He withheld U.S. security aid as leverage over the ally confronting a hostile Russia, though the money was eventually released.
On Article II, Obstruction of Congress, President Trump is charged over the administration’s defiance of the House’s requests for testimony in the ensuing probe.
Trump insisted throughout the proceedings that he did nothing wrong, and the president is eager for vindication as he launches his reelection bid.
The president’s legal defense said the articles of impeachment approved last year by the House did not rise to grounds for conviction in the Senate trial.
The outcome caps months of remarkable impeachment proceedings launched in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House and ending in Mitch McConnell’s Senate, reflective of the nation’s unrelenting partisan divide three years into the Trump presidency.
Few senators are straying in essentially party-line votes. There was nowhere near the two-thirds support necessary in the Republican-held Senate for the Constitution’s bar of high crimes and misdemeanors to convict and remove the president from office.