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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

McConnell blasts House Dems for what he calls their 'mythical leverage' ploy

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., ripped House Democrats on Tuesday for what he said was their attempt to assert "mythical leverage" over how the Senate conducts President Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial.

"House Democrats say they're waiting for some mythical leverage. I've had difficulty figuring out where the leverage is," McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor. "Apparently this is their proposition: If the Senate does not agree to break with our own unanimous, bipartisan precedent from 1999 and agree to let Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi hand-design a different procedure for this Senate trial, then they might not ever dump this mess in our lap."

McConnell called Pelosi's decision to withhold the two articles of impeachment against Trump in what she said is a bid to ensure fair Senate proceedings "dangerous" and "a new sort of pretrial hostage negotiation where the House gets to run the show over here in the Senate."

"This is already the longest delay between the impeachment vote and the delivery of the House's impeachment message in American history — already," he said. "It's almost as though this House Democrat majority systemically took all the framers'  warnings about partisan abuses of the impeachment power, took everything the founders said not to do — not to do — and thought, 'Now there's an idea. Why don't we try that?'"

McConnell added that he thought it was "contemptuous of the American people to tell them for weeks that you feel this extraordinary step is so urgent and then delay it indefinitely for political purposes."

Article II: Impeachment and War

On today’s episode of Article II, Steve Kornacki talks to Mark Murray, NBC News senior political editor, about how Congress is balancing its constitutional responsibilities, the power to impeach and to check the President’s powers of war. 

The two discuss:

  • The Democrats' argument that the strike against Soleimani is a distraction from impeachment
  • The Republicans' argument that the president is focused on national security as Democrats try to remove him from office
  • The challenge facing Congress, as it attempts to move forward on impeachment while debating next steps on Iran

Listen here.

Schiff won't rule out Bolton House testimony

NBC News' Kasie Hunt asked House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff whether he would rule out getting Bolton to testify in front of the House rather than the Senate.

"I'm not foreclosing anything we continue to do investigative work in the House," he said. "At the same time, what makes the most sense given that we are on the precipice of the trial in the Senate is to have him come and testify before the Senate. The Senate will make the decision about whether the president should be convicted or removed from office, so why get it secondhand?"

He added, "it makes the most sense for him to come before the Senate and these other witnesses as well so that is what we are pushing for but I am foreclosing nothing in terms of the House."

Romney says he wants to hear from John Bolton

Sen. Mitt Romney told reporters that he wants to hear what John Bolton knows in a forthcoming Senate impeachment trial.

"Sure, I'd love to hear what he has to say," Romney said in response to a question about if John Bolton should testify in the Senate. 

"He has first-hand information and assuming that articles of impeachment do reach the Senate," he added, "I'd like to hear what he knows."

‪Romney also said he doesn’t want to comment on the process or how Bolton’s testimony comes about.

"The leaders are trying to negotiate that process right now," he said. "But ultimately I'd expect I'd want to hear from John Bolton."

White House on impeachment: where things stand

Trump has found himself at a standstill on the impeachment front with Pelosi’s decision to hold up articles of impeachment, leaving him waiting on her next move before he can make his. 

The White House is holding off on making any strategic moves until the Senate receives the articles of impeachment and starts to determine what the rules of a trail will be, said a White House official.  

Key factors, like whether witnesses will be called or who will be making the case in the Senate for Democrats, will affect parts of the White House’s strategy. The uncertainty of what the White House’s defense will need to look like came into focus on Monday when Bolton said on Monday that he would be willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate. 

One key decision Trump has yet to make is who will lead his defense team in a Senate trial. It has been expected that White House counsel Pat Cipollone will have a role, but a final decision on who will be mounting the defense won’t be made until the articles of impeachment are sent over, the official said. 

Behind the scenes, White House staffers are continuing to talk with their Senate allies about the process and refine their case, the officials said. In the meantime, Trump took to Twitter and the Rush Limbaugh show on Monday to try to continue mounting his defense.

WATCH: The latest developments in the impeachment inquiry

GOP senators introduce resolution to dismiss impeachment

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley on Monday introduced a resolution to update Senate rules to allow a motion to dismiss articles of impeachment for lack of prosecution.

"If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case, the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute and Congress should get back to doing the people’s business," Hawley said.

Ten other Republican senators, including Rick Scott of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, co-sponsored the measure.

Schumer, Pelosi demand Bolton, other witnesses be allowed to testify

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday called on Republican senators to back his request for witness testimony and Trump administration documents after former national security adviser John Bolton announced he would be willing to testify in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial.

"It is now up to four Senate Republicans to support bringing in Mr. Bolton, and the other three witnesses, as well as the key documents we have requested to ensure all the evidence is presented at the onset of a Senate trial," Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement. "Given that Mr. Bolton’s lawyers have stated he has new relevant information to share, if any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we have requested they would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover-up.”

Bolton, who according to witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry expressed concerns about the administration's dealings with Ukraine, announced in a statement earlier Monday that he would be willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed.

After Bolton's statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, both Democrats from California, also called for allowing the witnesses to testify in the Senate trial. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has rejected Democratic calls for witnesses, including Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Mulvaney's senior adviser and a top White House budget office official. McConnell said last month that the Senate "is meant to act as judge and jury to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it.”

Trump administration downplays Bolton's willingness to testify

A Trump administration official reacted to news that John Bolton is willing to testify, telling NBC News that, "The idea that we can re-investigate everything all the time makes a mockery of the process."

This administration official tried to downplay concerns about Bolton testifying telling NBC News: "Bolton could say he disagrees with the president, but that’s not an impeachable offense."

A White House official also told NBC News that, "It was the House’s job to develop evidence. Bolton’s statement doesn’t change the Senate’s role in ruling on the evidence provide[d] by the House."