Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Donald Trump acquitted of impeachment charges

Agency News

US President Donald Trump has won acquittal in the Senate on impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In the impeachment process, Trump could draw on solid backing of Republican senators Wednesday to defeat the impeachment threat, the biggest challenge in his three-year-old presidency.

Trump, who is the third leader in American history to face impeachment trial, defeated the effort to expel him from office for seeking illicit help from Ukraine to bolster his 2020 re-election effort.

Despite being confronted with strong evidence, Republicans stayed loyal and mustered a majority of votes to clear the president of both charges -- by 52 to 48 on the first, 53 to 47 on the second -- falling far short of the two-thirds supermajority required for impeachment.

"Two-thirds of the senators present not having pronounced him guilty, the Senate adjudges that respondent Donald John Trump, President of the United States, is not guilty as charged," said Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who presided over the trial.

Only one Republican, Senator Mitt Romney, shifted camp during voting. As a known Trump foe, Romney voted alongside Democrats on the first count, saying Trump was "guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust." He voted not guilty for the second.

Trump had repeatedly dismissed the probe as a "hoax" and a "witch hunt" but argued he had the right as president to pressure Ukraine, while refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas for testimony and documents.

Anticipating the likely party-line vote by the senators, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly said that, whatever happened, Trump would join two previous presidents as being tarred with the "impeached" label.