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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

Pelosi not ready to send articles of impeachment, but could be 'soon'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her fellow Democrats Tuesday that she's not yet ready to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate — but suggested she could be soon.

In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi maintained she wants to immediately see the Senate resolution laying out the process for Trump's trial before she transmits the articles charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on to the Senate. The move would start the trial process in the Senate.

"Soon, the Senate will have the opportunity to honor its oath to 'do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws,'" Pelosi wrote, before arguing the process that's been proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unfair.

Read more here.

Trump says Bolton testimony 'going to be up to the lawyers,' Senate

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that whether his former national security adviser John Bolton testifies in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial is "going to be up to the lawyers" and the Senate. 

When asked about Bolton's stated willingness to testify before the Senate if subpoenaed, Trump told reporters during a bilateral meeting with the Greek prime minister: "Well that's gonna be up to the lawyers. It will be up to the Senate, and we'll see how they feel.

"He would know nothing about what we're talking about, because if you know, the Ukrainian government came out with a very strong statement, no pressure, no anything, and that's from the boss, that's from the president of Ukraine," Trump continued. "The foreign minister came out with a statement that was equally as strong.

"And frankly, if you look at it, and you look at everything, all they have to do is read the transcripts," Trump said. "You take a look, not just at one, you take a look at two transcripts, they were absolutely perfect, there was absolutely nothing done wrong, there was no false statement."

Trump added that the military aid to Ukraine that he had blocked "got there two or three weeks ahead of schedule, long before it was supposed to be there. There was absolutely nothing done wrong."

There was high-level pushback from top Trump officials over the hold in aid, including from Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, according to The New York Times. Bolton was also concerned about Trump's broader efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats, witnesses testified during the House impeachment inquiry.

Read more about the timeline of the withholding of the aid and a report citing unredacted emails between the Pentagon and the White House budget office about the hold. 

 

McConnell says he has enough Republican votes to begin Trump's trial without witnesses

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Tuesday that he has enough Republican votes to start the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump without the support of Democrats, who have been demanding witness testimony.

"We have the votes once the impeachment trial has begun to pass a resolution — essentially the same as, very similar to, the 100 to nothing vote in the Clinton trial," McConnell told reporters.

The announcement by McConnell means that once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf., transmits the two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — the trial would begin in the Senate with rules in place under which the question of whether witnesses are allowed to testify would not be dealt with until later in the trial.

The first phase of the trial would include "arguments from prosecution, arguments from defense" and a "period of written questions" submitted by Republican and Democratic senators, McConnell said.

Read more here.

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."