Trump acquitted by U.S. Senate

Abigail McArthur-Self, Editor-in-Chief

On Feb. 5, 2020, Donald Trump, the current president of the United States of America, was acquitted by the Senate on both the charges of abusing his power and obstructing Congress. 

Throughout the process, both sides accused the other of partisanship. Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, initially delayed sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate over concerns that the trial would not be fair. 

Later in the trial, the Republican majority in the Senate chose not to bring in extra witnesses to testify on the case. The White House was uncooperative with providing documents and witnesses. John Bolton, a former member of the White House Administration, is believed to have relevant evidence on the case and has expressed willingness to testify before the Senate if subpoenaed. During the trial, however, the Senate voted against bringing Bolton as a witness. 

Though the trial is over, some Democrats are still hoping further evidence may come to light, as they believe the Senate did not hear all the evidence possible. 

Currently, no president in American history has been removed from office after impeachment. Though this acquittal follows that trend, Trump’s trial was historic for other reasons.

For the first time in history, a Senator voted against acquitting their party’s president. Sen. Mitt Romney voted to acquit Trump on the charge of obstruction but not on the charge of abuse of power. Romney has received backlash for his decision, especially from Trump. Although some other Republicans did have concerns about Trump’s actions as president, they did not believe they reached a level worthy of impeachment. 

Both sides believe the trial will have an effect on the way impeachment is viewed in the future. Some Republicans believe that the impeachment was motivated by partisan politics in light of the upcoming elections and have said that the process undermined the weight impeachment should carry. Democrats have accused Republicans of undermining the weight of impeachment as well, in this case because they believe the Republicans did not hold a fair trial. They believe that this vote is paving the way for unchecked presidential power. 

Going forward, this may affect the election. Trump has now been both impeached and acquitted. Four of the Democratic nominees, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael F. Bennet, left the campaign trails to be present for the trial just before the Iowa caucuses.

The exact effects of the impeachment and trial remain to be seen.