The U.S. Senate on Wednesday acquitted Donald Trump of abuse of power in his historic impeachment trial, the first of two charges brought against the Republican president that forced senators to vote on whether to remove him from office.
The businessman-turned-politician, 73, faced only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history - his turbulent presidency’s darkest chapter - after being impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on Dec. 18 on charges arising from his conduct toward Ukraine.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-48 to acquit him of abuse of power stemming from his request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the Nov. 3 election. One Republican, Mitt Romney, joined the Democrats in voting for conviction. No Democrats voted for acquittal.
It then turned to a vote on whether to convict Trump of obstruction of Congress by blocking witnesses and documents sought by the House. The Senate is expected to acquit Trump on that charge as well. A conviction would elevate Vice President Mike Pence, another Republican, into the presidency.
Trump is aiming to pivot toward an election season that promises to further polarize the country.
A two-thirds majority in the 100-seat Senate is needed to remove him under the U.S. Constitution. There are 53 Republican senators.