President Donald Trump acquitted in ouster trial

Friday, February 7th, 2020 00:00 |
Protesters chant and carry signs outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, after the US Senate acquitted US president Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. Photo/AFP

Washington, Thursday

President Donald Trump has been found not guilty in his impeachment trial, ending a bid to remove him from office that bitterly divided the US.

The Senate, run by the president’s fellow Republicans, voted to acquit him 52-48 on charges of abuse of power and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress.

Democrats charged Trump in December with pressuring Ukraine to smear a potential White House rival. He will now become the first impeached president to seek re-election.

Impeachment allows Congress—the part of the US government that writes and brings in laws—to put presidents on trial.

Political process

It is a rare event and a political process, rather than a criminal one.

In its historic vote on Wednesday, the Senate decided not to remove America’s 45th president from office on charges arising from his dealings with Ukraine.

If convicted on either charge, Trump would have had to turn over his office to Vice-President Mike Pence.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment on December 18.

Trump, who is seeking a second four-year term in the November 3 election, always denied wrongdoing.

His re-election campaign said in a statement: “President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people.

“The do-nothing Democrats know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him.”

It said “this terrible ordeal” and “nonsense” was merely a Democratic campaign tactic.

 “This impeachment hoax will go down as the worst miscalculation in the US political history,” the statement added.

Trump—whose personal approval rating with American voters hit a personal best of 49 per cent this week, according to Gallup - tweeted that he would speak on Thursday about the case.

How might Trump’s acquittal shape the 2020 race for the White House? According to polls, the nation’s political disposition is much as it was before the impeachment process began. The US is sharply divided along partisan lines.

This result, though, will energise the president’s campaign blueprint to rally his Republican base to support him in November.  -BBC

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