President Donald Trump was acquitted on all charges by the Senate on Wednesday afternoon. After a vote of 52-48 in favor of Trump's acquittal, the third presidential impeachment trial in the history of the United States was brought to a close.
Many Senators took issue with Trump's actions surrounding an attempted effort to pressure the government of Ukraine into investigating presidential candidate Joe Biden and his family. Two articles of impeachment were levied against the president -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. However, there was nowhere near enough support for impeachment in the Republican-controlled Senate to make up the two-thirds majority necessary to convict Trump and remove him from the White House, as required by the Constitution's bar of high crimes and misdemeanors.
During the trial that lasted about three weeks, prosecuting Democrats built a case that Trump had abused the power of the presidency when he made a phone call to the president of Ukraine and referred to needing a "favor." Shortly after that call was made, the United States froze its aid to Ukraine, who has been engaged in military actions with its neighbor Russia in recent years. When these actions came under investigation, the president instructed his members of the Executive Branch not to testify, leading to the charge of obstruction of Congress.The voting process consisted of Chief Justice John Roberts, who presided over the trial, calling a roll call of the Senate, with each senator giving a vote of either "guilty" or "not guilty." The vote saw very few members crossing party lines, a departure from the previous impeachment trials of Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868, in which both men received cross-party support to remain in office. Richard Nixon -- who resigned rather than face an impeachment trial -- would have likely also seen cross-party cooperation, in support of his removal from office, however.
The final vote brings to an end five months of impeachment hearings that operated almost entirely along party lines as it progressed through the Democrat-controlled House into the Senate. No sitting president has ever been removed by the Senate.
During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, Trump made no mention of the impeachment as he spoke in front of the same House that had impeached him. When he finished giving his speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up a printed transcript of the speech that was in front of her.