Trump Acquitted of Impeachment Charges

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Trump Acquitted of Impeachment Charges

Shirley Huang, Staff Writer

President Donald Trump was found not guilty by the U.S. Senate, rendering him the third president in American history to face impeachment and be acquitted. The final verdict came five months after the impeachment inquiry began in the House, including several weeks of debates and over one hundred written questions from the Senators.

The verdict, however, had already been predicted before the trial had even begun, with every Democrat voting to convict Trump and nearly all Republicans voting to acquit him. Only Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, broke from his own party to convict the President on the charge of abuse of power. 

The one thing lawmakers from both parties could agree on was the widening partisan divide that can potentially damage the country and its institutions. Republicans viewed the impeachment process as a disturbing use of a constitutional duty as a political weapon. Democrats, on the other hand, perceived Republicans as having unethical support for President Trump. While some Republicans have acknowledged the President’s abuse of authority in office, they did not believe his actions were severe enough to have faced impeachment. 

Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi first announced the inquiry back in September 2019, all three branches of government have been weakened by partisanship. The impeachment ended just as it had begun: with the two parties bitterly divided over their political disagreements, and therefore, abdicating the responsibility of fairness in Congress. 

With the outcome already predicted, Senators remained stern and serious throughout the proceedings, lacking any reaction when Chief Justice John Roberts officially declared that the president was not guilty. 

Democratic leaders, nonetheless, insist that the verdict was illegitimate due to the fact that the Senate trial failed to provide witnesses and documents the president had withheld during the House inquiry, making this the first impeachment proceeding in U.S. history to reach a verdict without calling witnesses. 

Though the president has yet to directly address his acquittal, his re-election campaign celebrated his win by distributing a fundraising email with the message: “Sorry haters, I’m not going anywhere.”

As of now, the verdict appears to have split the nation in two. Public opinion polls suggest that while a majority of Americans agree that the president had abused his power in office, more than a slight majority does not believe he should be removed from office.

Consequently, President Trump has been viewed in a more favorable light among the public since the trial. Recent polls by Gallup estimate that 49% of Americans approve of his job performance—the highest percentage since he took office—while the Republicans’ image has improved from 43%, back in September, to 51%.

 

Photo courtesy of ABCNEWS.GO.COM