Live impeachment trial updates: Senate votes to acquit Trump

The outcome was effectively assured after senators on Friday voted against hearing witnesses, also largely on party lines.
Image: Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House voted to send impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially received the House managers on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House voted to send impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially received the House managers on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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Senators voted Wednesday to acquit President Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment.

Only one Republican broke rank to vote with Democrats: Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who voted to convict Trump on abuse of power. The vote on the second article, obstruction of Congress, came down on party lines.

The outcome was effectively assured after senators on Friday voted against hearing witnesses, also largely on party lines.

Read the latest news and analysis below:

Live Blog

'One place left to hold him accountable': Trump acquittal raises stakes for Democrats

Donald Trump has survived impeachment, a federal investigation and three years of near-constant legal and in-the-streets resistance, raising the stakes of this year's election on what Democrats see as the last real check on the president's power.

With the Senate's votes Wednesday to acquit the president of impeachment charges brought against him by the Democratic House, Trump's opponents have shot all of the most powerful arrows in their quiver save one — the voters.

Both parties argue that the outcome of the monthslong impeachment saga will play to their advantage this fall.

Read the story.

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Trump allies revel in end to 'hoax' impeachment, Democrats say vote 'normalized lawlessness'

Although President Donald Trump's acquittal was all-but-certain with Republicans holding the Senate majority, supporters of the president continued to rally behind him on Wednesday after he was found not guilty on both articles of impeachment.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., posted a video on Twitter of him saying "Acquitted for life" while ripping the articles of impeachment, an obvious parody of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tearing Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., one of the president's closest allies in the Senate, said Wednesday in a statement that now "the cloud over the presidency has been removed."

“This partisan-driven impeachment has done injury to the office of the presidency and was an injustice to President Trump," he said. “Unfortunately, I doubt my Democratic colleagues, who are being driven by unlimited hatred of President Trump, have the ability to move on."

Pelosi laced into Republicans in biting statement in which she said Republicans have "normalized lawlessness" and called McConnell "a rogue leader" and "cowardly" for abandoning his oath.

"Our Founders put safeguards in the Constitution to protect against a rogue president. They never imagined that they would at the same time have a rogue leader in the Senate who would cowardly abandon his duty to uphold the Constitution," she said. “The President will boast that he has been acquitted. There can be no acquittal without a trial, and there is no trial without witnesses, documents and evidence."

Read more here.

White House reacts to vote: 'Full vindication and exoneration'

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement celebrating "the full vindication and exoneration" of the president and attacking Democrats.

"The Senate voted to reject the baseless articles of impeachment, and only the President’s political opponents – all Democrats, and one failed Republican presidential candidate – voted for the manufactured impeachment articles," she said, adding that Trump "is pleased to put this latest chapter of shameful behavior by the Democrats in the past, and looks forward to continuing his work on behalf of the American people in 2020 and beyond."

Senate votes to acquit Trump on obstruction of Congress

The Senate on Wednesday voted along party lines to acquit President Donald Trump on obstruction of Congress, the second article of impeachment.

Romney, the lone Republican to join Democrats on abuse of power, voted to acquit Trump on obstruction of Congress. The final vote was 53-47 in favor of acquittal.

It was the third time in the nation’s history that a president has been impeached — and the third time that a president has been acquitted on all impeachment articles.

Senate acquits Trump on abuse of power

The Senate on Wednesday voted almost entirely along party lines — there was one Republican defection — to acquit President Donald Trump on abuse of power.

On the first of two articles of impeachment, Mitt Romney of Utah was the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump, along with all Democrats. The final vote was 52-48 in favor of acquittal.

McConnell: 'This partisan impeachment will end today'

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., laced into his Democratic colleagues ahead of a likely acquittal vote, framing the impeachment inquiry as a "faction fever" in response to losing the 2016 election rather than a valid probe. 

"The United States Senate was made for moments like this. The framers predicted that factional fever might dominate House majorities from time to time," he said. "They knew the country would need a firewall to keep partisan flames from scorching our Republic. So they created the Senate." 

He added, "We will reject this incoherent case that comes nowhere near justifying the first presidential removal in history. This partisan impeachment will end today."

McConnell's speech was a summation of the Republican argument against impeachment since the House officially began impeachment hearings against Trump.  

Manchin, Sinema will vote to convict Trump

Two closely watched moderate Democrats, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, announced on Wednesday that they will vote to convict Trump on both charges. 

“The facts are clear; security aid was withheld from Ukraine in an attempt to benefit the president’s political campaign," Sinema said in a statement. "While White House attorneys claim this behavior is not serious, it is dangerous to the fundamental principles of American democracy to use the power of the federal government for personal or political gain. Worse, they failed to assure the American people that this behavior will not continue and that future national security decisions will be made free from personal interests."

"Voting whether or not to remove a sitting President has been a truly difficult decision, and after listening to the arguments presented by both sides, I have reached my conclusion reluctantly," Manchin said in a statement. "For the reasons above I must vote yes on the articles of impeachment. I take no pleasure in these votes, and am saddened this is the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren. I have always wanted this President, and every President to succeed, but I deeply love our country and must do what I think is best for the nation."

Manchin's decision is particularly significant for the White House as it means that the White House hopes for a bipartisan acquittal have been dashed. With Romney's announcement earlier Wednesday, there will now be a bipartisan vote to convict on article 1, and a party-line vote on article 2.

The final vote on impeachment is expected shortly.

Schumer: Republicans carried out a 'great miscarriage of justice'

Schumer lamented that the impeachment trial was the "most rushed" in history, saying Republicans hurried to acquit the president rather than hear from additional witnesses and documents.

Likening the Senate trial to a "kangaroo court," Schumer said Trump's acquittal will be "meaningless."

"You cannot be on the side of this president and be on the side of truth," he said. "And if we are to survive as a nation, we must be on the side of truth."