PROMO 64J1 Politician - Donald Trump - FlickrCC - Gage Skidmore

Senate finds Trump 'not guilty' of both impeachment offenses

U.S. President Donald Trump. FlickrCC - Gage Skidmore

By Dan McCaleb | The Center Square

Less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump delivered a politically charged argument for his re-election during his State of the Union address, a sharply divided U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to acquit the president on both articles of impeachment brought against him by the House in December.

The first article accused Trump of abusing his power for his own political gain by engaging in an alleged quid pro quo with the Ukrainian government to interfere in the 2020 election.

The Senate voted, 52-48, to find Trump not guilty of the first count, with one Republican – Mitt Romney of Utah – voting to convict, along with all Democrats. A two-thirds majority of 67 votes was needed to convict Trump and remove him from office.

The second count accused Trump of obstructing Congress in its efforts to investigate the alleged abuse.

The Senate voted, 53-47, to find the president not guilty of the second count. Romney voted with his party on the second count.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, praised the Senate vote in a statement.

“After wasting over a year of the American people’s time and taxpayer dollars, the Senate finally voted to confirm what we’ve known all along: The president did nothing wrong," Collins said. “As Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi made evident when she claimed President Trump was ‘impeached for life,’ this sham impeachment was never about the Constitution. It was never about an imminent threat. Democrats had one goal and one goal only: Nullifying the last election to win the next one."

In December, the House voted, 230-197, to impeach on the article alleging abuse of power. Two Democrats joined all Republicans against it, and another Democrat, presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, voted present. The House then voted, 229-198, to impeach on the article alleging obstruction of justice. Three Democrats joined all Republicans against it. Gabbard also voted present on the second article.

Just before Wednesday's vote, Romney explained his decision to split from his party on the Senate floor.

"The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust. What the president did was wrong, grievously wrong,” Romney said.

"The great question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes he did," he added.

Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott made a brief statement on Trump's acquittal on Twiiter.

"Finally. I’m glad that charade is over. Let’s get back to work," Scott wrote.

With the president seeking a second term in November and a thinning contingent of Democratic challengers just beginning the primary process, Trump used much of his State of the Union address Tuesday night to tout the accomplishments he said he achieved during his first three years in office.

"Three years ago, we launched the great American comeback," Trump said. "Tonight, I stand before you to share the incredible results. Jobs are booming. Incomes are soaring. Poverty is plummeting. Crime is falling. Confidence is surging. And our country is thriving and highly respected again."