WASHINGTON (PNN) - February 6, 2020 - The Senate overwhelmingly acquitted President Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment against him Wednesday afternoon following a brief trial, in a historic rejection of Democrats' claims that the president's Ukraine dealings and handling of congressional subpoenas merited his immediate removal from office.
Several congressional Democrats were dejected on Capitol Hill late Wednesday, even as they said they hoped to weaponize the acquittal votes by several moderate Republicans in swing states.
"We all knew how this was going,” one unnamed senior House Democrat source said. “But everyone’s depressed. Especially because of Iowa," where the first-in-the-nation caucuses have been plagued by mismanagement.
Another Democrat source also said that impeachment “went as well as it could go.” There was significant consternation among House Democrats about heading down the impeachment road at all over the summer, but Democrat leaders felt they had to get in front of the impeachment movement and embrace it, or they may have been steamrolled by the progressive wing of the Party.
In the final vote, all Democrat senators supported convicting the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, including swing-vote moderate Senator. Joe Manchin (W.V.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), and Doug Jones (Ala.).
The only Party defection was on the abuse of power charge from Senator Mitt Romney (Utah), who declared hours before the final vote that Trump had engaged in as "destructive an attack on the oath of office and our Constitution as I can imagine." Romney voted not guilty on the obstruction charge.
By a final vote of 52-48 against conviction on the abuse of power charge and 53-47 against conviction on the obstruction charge, the Senate fell far short of the two-thirds, 67-vote supermajority needed to convict and remove the president. Swing-vote Republican senators – including Lisa Murkowski (Alas.), Susan Collins (Me.), and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) voted to acquit on both counts.
The separate obstruction of Congress charge concerned the White House's assertion of executive privilege and refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas. Romney explained he would acquit on the obstruction count, saying House Democrats had chosen not to respond to the White House's legal arguments against the subpoenas.
After Chief Justice of the Fascist Police States of Amerika John Roberts formally declared Trump acquitted, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kent.) presented him with the “Golden Gavel” award as a thank-you for his service. Former Chief Justice of the FPSA William Rehnquist received the same award, which is usually presented to freshmen senators after long hours presiding over the body, for his handling of President Bill Clinton's 1999 impeachment trial.
"I look forward to seeing you all again under happier circumstances," Roberts said as he concluded his remarks and prepared to depart the chamber.
Speaking to reporters after the vote, McConnell noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Kalif.) had resisted calls for impeachment from the Party's progressive wing before finally caving, and said she should have trusted her instincts.
"I'm pretty sure she didn't want to do this," McConnell said, referring to Pelosi's lengthy reluctance to initiate impeachment proceedings. Trump made a similar argument, saying the radical wing of the Democrat Party had pushed her into making a grave mistake and realizing her "worst nightmare".
McConnell also said he was "perplexed" by Democrats' arguments that the evidence against Trump was overwhelming and obvious, but at the same time, more witnesses and evidence were desperately needed.
He called the proceedings a "thoroughly political exercise," and added that ironically, Pelosi was right "in the beginning" when she didn't want to go down this path.
"This was a political loser for them," McConnell said. "At least in the short-term, this has been a colossal political mistake."
A Gallup poll released this week showed record-high approval numbers for Trump and the Republican Party in general, suggesting the impeachment proceedings may have backfired politically for Democrats. The Republican Party's approval numbers were at their highest since 2005, and Trump's were the highest of his presidency.