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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

Timeline: The curious release of military aid to Ukraine

WASHINGTON — Military aid promised by the U.S. to Ukraine — and the strange circumstances under which it was held up and eventually released — is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

For Republicans, the key fact is that Ukraine received the money, regardless of any request from Trump for an investigation of Joe Biden or the 2016 U.S. elections. For Democrats, withholding the aid for investigations is an abuse of power, regardless of what happened in the end.

Here's a look at key dates involving the nearly $400 million in military assistance that had been approved for release in the early months of 2019. 

Read the full story here.

Graham on the impeachment inquiry: 'Nothing happened here'

ANALYSIS: Hearsay might be barred in court. A congressional hearing is entirely different.

One of the Republican themes during the impeachment hearing Wednesday was that the witnesses — top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and senior State Department official George Kent — were not credible because they were relaying, in some instances, second-, third- or even fourth-hand information.

In court, such testimony might be barred as “hearsay” — defined as an out-of-court statement that a party offers as evidence to prove the truth of the matter being asserted. Hearsay is generally inadmissible. But hearsay is a rule of evidence, applying only to court proceedings, and even then with so many exceptions that it's often admissible anyway.

First, hearsay is admissible in many government settings, including administrative proceedings, parole hearings, and preliminary hearings in a criminal case; a congressional hearing is not even a court, so it’s not governed by the rule of evidence that makes hearsay inadmissible.

Even within the context of court proceedings, the hearsay rule is riddled with exceptions, with well over 30 situations where a statement might resemble or be hearsay but is considered reliable enough to be allowed into evidence anyway.

Read the full analysis here

Article II: Inside Impeachment — Public hearings kick off

On the latest episode, Article II looks at the first public hearing of the impeachment inquiry. Host Steve Kornacki talks to Geoff Bennett, NBC News White House correspondent, about the testimony of top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and State Department senior official George Kent and delve into the Democrats' and Republicans' strategies.

Download the episode here.

White House looks both to be in the impeachment fray — and appear above it

WASHINGTON — White House aides and advisers said they believed that the first day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday weren't enough to change the minds of the public — or that of any Republicans in the Senate — as President Donald Trump tried to portray himself as someone mostly, at least for the moment, above the fray.

One White House aide called the day a "nothing-burger.” Others close to the White House said they doubted the testimony would alter anyone's opinion — even as they acknowledged that acting Ukrainian Ambassador Bill Taylor came across as a credible witness.

“Not one Senate vote was changed today,” said one person close to the White House.

Trump largely stuck to his scheduled counter-programming schedule of White House events, as the first public impeachment hearings unfolded on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. In between morning and afternoon tweetstorms quoting his favorite defenders, the president claimed he was “too busy” to watch the proceedings, spending much of the day in meetings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, followed by a brief news conference.

Read the full story here.

Far from the spotlight, how presidential candidates spent the impeachment hearing

Elizabeth Warren was campaigning in New Hampshire, Joe Biden was meeting with union members in Washington, and Andrew Yang appeared on a popular radio show in New York — but their candidacies were caught in the shadow of the public impeachment hearing.

Warren was in Concord on Wednesday, where she filed to officially get on the ballot in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary. "I'm officially in!" she exclaimed, before answering reporters' questions about what was happening almost 500 miles away in Washington, where diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent were testifying in the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump.

The split-screen day — 2020 candidates on the campaign trail, nationally televised impeachment proceedings back at the Capitol — gave the presidential contenders their first good look at the news tsunami they will be contending with for weeks and potentially months, even as voting in the early states draws near. And it shows how the large field of White House hopefuls will be forced to compete for attention as the effort to remove the president picks up steam.

Read the full story here.

ANALYSIS: Plenty of substance but little drama on first day of impeachment hearings

WASHINGTON — It was substantive, but it wasn't dramatic.

In the reserved manner of veteran diplomats with Harvard degrees, Bill Taylor and George Kent opened the public phase of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Wednesday by bearing witness to a scheme they described as not only wildly unorthodox but also in direct contravention of U.S. interests.

"It is clearly in our national interest to deter further Russian aggression," Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said in explaining why Trump's decision to withhold congressionally appropriated aid to the most immediate target of Russian expansionism didn't align with U.S. policy.

But at a time when Democrats are simultaneously eager to influence public opinion in favor of ousting the president and quietly apprehensive that their hearings could stall or backfire, the first round felt more like the dress rehearsal for a serious one-act play than the opening night of a hit Broadway musical. During five and a half hours of testimony, the two men delivered a wide-ranging discourse on America's interests in Eastern Europe, diplomatic protocol and democratic norms — and how they believe Trump subverted all of them in service of political goals.

Read the full analysis.