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Trump impeachment: Analysis and news on the House charges and Senate acquittal of the president

The Senate trial on the two articles of impeachment against Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, ended with acquittal on both charges.
Image: Impeachment live blog
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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The fast-moving impeachment of President Donald Trump, stemming from his dealings with Ukraine, moved to the Senate for trial in January after the House voted a month earlier to adopt two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The Senate voted in early February to acquit the president on both charges.

Trump's impeachment followed weeks of testimony related to his efforts to press Ukraine for investigations into Democratic rivals and hours of fiery debate over the process.

Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Read all of the breaking news and analysis on impeachment from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

Trump impeachment highlights

Download the NBC News mobile app for the latest news on the impeachment inquiry

Live Blog

How Democrats view this week's impeachment inquiry hearings

Below are some insights on the impeachment inquiry as the open hearings get underway, from a Democratic aide working on the inquiry:

"This week the American people will hear evidence for themselves. This is a sober and serious occasion for us and not something any member take pleasure in."

"The first witnesses will lay out for the American people the timeline of the President’s serious misconduct wherein he used his presidential powers to pressure a foreign government to improperly interfere in our elections by investigating his political rival. Later in the week, we will hear from the first victim of the President’s scheme – Ambassador Yovanovitch," the aide said.

The witnesses "have all committed their lives and their careers to defending this country and everything it represents so we respect and honor their courage to participate in this investigations and look forward to their testimony," the aide added. “Our goal is to lay out the facts in a fair and thorough manner. Ultimately this is a very simple story – again, the President abused his office and his presidential powers to force and pressure a foreign government to interfere with our election on his behalf."

"Even though we don’t anticipate additional information beyond that, what we have already made public, there is a real value in hearing directly from the witnesses so the American people can hear it from their mouths and firsthand.”

"Following the public hearings that the President demanded for weeks and now opposes, Republicans will need to answer one question – are they going to defend the president or are they going to defend democracy."

"From our perspective, the pressure and the onus is now on the Republicans – they have to do one of two things. They either have to provide some evidence to exonerate the president or they have to admit that what the President did was ok to pressure a foreign government to interfere and taint our election on his behalf using the office of the presidency and the power of the presidency to do so."

"The evidence and the facts all substantiate the President’s words ‘do us a favor.’  They depict a sinister picture and scheme on the part of the president to achieve his desired deliverables. The one thing we've not heard back from either the White House or the Republicans is anything, any piece of evidence, one shred of evidence that would exonerate the president."

"We think it’s going to be a phenomenal week where the public gets to again hear for themselves the evidence and the extent of the president’s abuse of power and abuse of his office. And we do believe after they hear all of it that they will agree that it’s wrong for the President of the United States to try to use his office to taint our elections."

Schiff tends to write his own opening statement.

“I think he hopes to lay out the scope of what we have been looking at for the last month and a half and I think he hopes to lay out the stakes for the American people and why this matters. I don’t want to preview anything beyond that," the aide said.

How to watch the Trump impeachment hearing: Schedule, witnesses and more

The first public presidential impeachment hearing in over 20 years is set to be held before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, with witnesses Democrats believe will bring to life allegations that President Donald Trump has abused the power of the presidency.

The witnesses will emphasize the "simple abuse of power case" and illustrate the damage that abuse has caused, multiple sources have told NBC News. Republican lawmakers are expected to focus on the witnesses' lack of direct interaction with the president while giving credence to a debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine and not Russia that meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Click here to find out how to watch and what to expect.

ANALYSIS: Trump public impeachment hearings: More like Watergate or Clinton?

Starting Wednesday, Americans will have the opportunity to see for themselves what's been happening behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. The question is whether the House Intelligence Committee's public hearings will change public opinion on impeachment — or lock it into place.

Support for impeaching and removing President Donald Trump now stands at about 49 percent in a running average of polls. Opposition is at 46 percent. Notably, these numbers are almost exactly in line with the 2016 election result, when Trump received 46 percent of the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton's 48 percent. In other words, public opinion on impeachment now resembles the basic political divide that has defined the Trump era.

This is why, as of now, it is likely that Trump will be impeached in the House and acquitted by the Senate. It would take significant defections from either party to produce any other outcome. The hope among Democrats is that the hearings will feature televised testimony so compelling that public opinion breaks decisively toward impeachment, thereby scrambling the politics on Capitol Hill. For encouragement, they often invoke a past impeachment inquiry in which public hearings did play a crucial role.

Read the full analysis here.

On eve of first impeachment hearing, Schiff releases memo outlining procedures

WASHINGTON — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., on Tuesday released a six-page memorandum outlining the procedures for the public phase of the impeachment inquiry. 

“The hearings will be conducted in a manner that ensures that all participants are treated fairly and with respect, mindful of the solemn and historic task before us,” Schiff said in the memo, released on the eve of the first House impeachment hearing. 

“These procedures are consistent with those governing prior impeachment proceedings and mirror those used under Republican and Democratic House leadership for decades,” he added.

The release came with career diplomat William Taylor and State Department official George Kent scheduled to testify publicly Wednesday before the Intelligence Committee. On Friday, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is expected to testify. 

Schiff said in the memo that he would not allow Republicans to use the hearings to further “sham investigations” into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, or to promote “debunked conspiracies.” 

“Nor will the Committee facilitate any efforts by President Trump or his allies to threaten, intimidate, or retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously and lawfully raised concerns about the President’s conduct,” he wrote. 

During the impeachment hearings, only Schiff and the committee's ranking member, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., are allowed to deliver opening statements, with each of them having equal time. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has been added to the committee to ask questions for the minority.

The memo also reiterated that the format will entail Democratic and Republican staff counsels questioning witnesses for periods of up to 45 minutes per side, a rule that was included in a House-passed resolution that outlined the rules for the impeachment inquiry. 

It also said that only members of the Intelligence Committee may participate in the hearings — those not on the panel are not permitted to sit on the dais and question witnesses, but are allowed to sit in the audience. And it included a call for decorum: “The Code of Official Conduct for Members of Congress requires that every Member ‘shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.’”

Nikki Haley grilled over Trump's Ukraine conduct, truthfulness

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump’s July call with the leader of Ukraine, but said that “it’s never a good practice for us to ask a foreign country to investigate an American. It's just not a good practice."

“Having said that, there’s no insistence on that call, there are no demands on that call, it is a conversation between two presidents that’s casual in nature,” Haley said in an interview on "Today" with NBC News' Savannah Guthrie.

In the interview, Guthrie also pressed Haley on Trump's fitness for office and her claims that top officials sought to undermine the president.

Read more about what happened in the interview.

The impeachment inquiry has been all about Ukraine, but what about Russia?

WASHINGTON — The central charge in the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is that President Trump used his office and powers to compel a foreign nation (Ukraine) to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

But ahead of tomorrow’s public hearings, there are two additional questions worth exploring, especially after Monday’s release of three more transcripts of depositions.

One: Why was Trump and his administration pursuing a strategy on Ukraine that aligned with Russia’s interests — and against the United States’ expressed national interests?

And two: Why aren’t House Democrats trying to connect the Russian dots? (Is it a hangover after Mueller?)

First Read gives these questions a look.