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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.
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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

History shows Chief Justice John Roberts could cast tie-breaking votes at Trump's impeachment trial

A major question looms over President Donald Trump's impeachment trial: Will there be any witnesses?

The decision will be up to a simple 51-vote majority of the Senate under the chamber's rules, meaning the 47 Democratic senators are looking for four Republicans to back their demand that several top current and former Trump administration officials testify.

But there's another way witnesses could get called. Democrats could reach the simple majority threshold with just three Republican members if the presiding officer breaks the resulting 50-50 tie. In normal Senate business, that that job would fall to Vice President Mike Pence, the president of the Senate. But the rare instance of an impeachment trial is presided over by the chief justice, in this case John Roberts, who was officially sworn in for the role on Thursday.

Read what precedent says about the chief justice as tie-breaker.

Indicted Giuliani associate Parnas says Trump ordered Ukraine ambassador's firing several times before recall

Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, claimed in an interview that aired Thursday that President Donald Trump ordered the firing of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine several times before her recall was publicly announced in April.

"He fired her probably, at — to my knowledge — at least four or five times," Parnas said in the second part of an interview on MSNBC’s "The Rachel Maddow Show." Parnas and another man have been charged with allegedly funneling money from foreign entities to U.S. candidates in a scheme to buy political influence.

Parnas said Trump once tried to fire Yovanovitch at a dinner in a private area of a Trump hotel.

Read more of Parnas' interview comments.

Trump impeachment defense team expected to include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz

President Donald Trump's defense team for the Senate trial is expected to include former independent counsel Ken Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton, and defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Dershowitz's past clients include financier Jeffrey Epstein and O.J. Simpson. Also expected to join the team is Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr as Clinton special counsel, the source said. Another source familiar with the White House's plans said Pam Bondi, former Florida attorney general, will join the team as well.

Read the full story.

Reacting to watchdog report on Ukraine funding split down party lines

Reaction to the GAO report released earlier Thursday, which said the Trump administration violated the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine, was split down party lines.

"The OMB, the White House, the administration — I'm saying this — broke the law," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters after the decision was released. Pelosi said the finding illustrate the administration's "tangled web to deceive."

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., tweeted that the GAO decision demonstrates "without a doubt" that "the president himself ordered this illegal act." Van Hollen had requested the office review the hold in October.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D.-Vt., said, "Congress chose to provide military assistance to an ally which is literally under attack by Russia, and the law required that aid to be delivered. But instead of executing the law and standing with our ally, the president withheld the aid to serve his own political interests."

Republican senators indicated the ruling would not change their minds.

"My understanding of the impoundment act was that you cannot withhold money after the end of the fiscal year. I don't know any other requirements in the impoundment act," said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

"I mean I think that the president has the right to move money around and all the presidents have worked within this realm, but none of that really rises to anything even remotely close to something you'd impeach somebody over," he said.

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama suggested the timing of the decision's release was political. "I don't recall offhand the GAO ever getting involved in a partisan political game and they're right in here, you know?" Shelby said.

Reading, campaigning, praying: Senators get ready for the Trump impeachment trial

How do you get ready to serve as jurors weighing whether a president should be removed from office? Senators have just four days left to find out.

Some members are spending the final weekend diving into background material.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he took notes on the Senate floor Thursday as Schiff read the articles and plans to further review them as well as trial briefs before the trial begins next week.

“I'll get a copy of the [Congressional Record] to review them again and look at the various fine points of the elements of both articles of impeachment,” he said, adding that he plans to review the trial briefs that the House and White House counsel must deliver before Tuesday, which will outline their arguments.

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said that he’s been paying attention to the case from the get-go — but others, he said, might need to invest more time catching up on the details.

“For any of us who haven’t been preparing, they’re cramming right now,” he said. “I’d say it’s like a test back in college — you probably need to be prepared.”

Read more about how senators are preparing.

The view as lawmakers leave the Capitol