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작성자 海眼 작성일20-02-06 06:50 조회563회 댓글0건

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'Not Guilty': Trump Acquitted On 2 Articles Of Impeachment As Historic Trial Closes

  
 

Updated at 4:42 p.m. ET

Senators voted  on Wednesday afternoon to acquit President Trump on two articles of  impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — after an  historically unusual but typically contentious trial.

Forty  eight senators supported a verdict of guilty; 52 voted not guilty on  Article I. Forty seven senators supported a verdict of guilty on Article  II; 53 voted not guilty. The Senate would have needed 67 votes to  convict Trump on either article.

The result of the process had never been in question after the House voted to impeach Trump in December. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said months ago he considered it "inconceivable" that a sufficient number of Republicans would break ranks and support removing Trump from office.

One  surprise on Wednesday, however, was that one Republican voted to  convict and remove Trump on Article I: Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.

Romney,  never a close ally of Trump, said in a tearful speech on the Senate  floor on Wednesday that he felt compelled by the oath he swore in  Trump's case to act on his conviction that the president's actions were  "grievously wrong."

Although Romney said he expected to be "vehemently  denounced," he is believed to the first senator in history to vote to  convict in the impeachment of a president of his own party.

    

Trump's 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, called the result a clear victory.

"President  Trump has been totally vindicated and it's now time to get back to the  business of the American people," he said. "The do-nothing Democrats  know they can't beat him, so they had to impeach him"

House  Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her members also knew going in that  their strategy was likely to result in the status quo, but they  concluded that Trump's conduct in the Ukraine affair left them no  recourse but to censure him in the most severe way they could.

The Ukraine affair

Trump  froze military assistance for Ukraine last year at the same time he  sought investigations that he thought might help him in the 2020  campaign.

Ultimately, Trump released the roughly $391 million  in congressionally appropriated aid and got no commitments from the  Ukrainians.

No harm, no foul, said the president and his  supporters — and certainly no conduct, they argued, that would justify  voiding the votes of Trump supporters from 2016 and denying Americans  the choice to support Trump in this year's election.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone told senators that they shouldn't even consider it a close call.

"All you need is the Constitution and your common sense," he said.

Rep.  Adam Schiff, D-Calif., leader of the impeachment managers who brought  the articles charging Trump from the House, warned senators that if they  let Trump keep his office they not only were effectively approving his  conduct but surrendering their own power to hold any president  accountable.

                  

Trump not only abused his office in the Ukraine affair, Democrats  argued, but he effectively neutralized Congress' ability to conduct  oversight or impeach because the White House didn't cooperate with  witnesses or documents.

"It would mean that the impeachment  power is essentially a nullity," Schiff said. "It is unenforceable. The  president can delay it into nonexistence."

Onto the election

Trump  is only the third president in American history to have been impeached  and then tried in the Senate after Andrew Johnson in 1869 and Bill  Clinton in 1999. Like each of those before him, Trump survives to  continue to govern.

Trump also is the unusual president to  emerge from an impeachment and appeal to voters to return him to office  for a second term.

It isn't clear what effect the proceedings  may have on the intensifying 2020 race or voters. It also isn't clear  whether the extraordinary conflict in Congress may mean it is  effectively done with business for the year.

    

Trump delivered his annual state of the union address on Tuesday  and his administration is expected to release a more detailed budget  proposal later this month as presidents traditionally have.

Pelosi  and Democrats, however will retain their control over the House at  least until the election. Trump's budget is a dead letter.

So  how will both sides attempt to govern — or try to appear they are — at  the same time they try to unseat each other having just fought a bitter  contest in the impeachment?

 
   
 

  President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, right, and senior adviser Ivanka Trump at the White House.       


 

It's good to be in the majority

For as  unusual as impeachment is, the course it followed in contemporary  Washington was a case study in the standard dynamics of a divided  capital.

In the House, Republicans complained about what they  called an irregular and unfair process controlled by majority Democrats.  The White House resisted cooperation too, including with a letter from Cipollone that declared the impeachment process was beneath contempt.

Then,  before the articles even reached the Senate, Democrats began  complaining about the process there, which they knew would be controlled  by Republicans.

Pelosi compounded the unusual nature of the proceedings by withholding the articles from the Senate after they were passed on Dec. 18.

Senate  Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Schiff and others called for new  witness testimony before and during the Senate proceedings —  particularly that of former national security adviser John Bolton.

    

Bolton toyed with official Washington by volunteering to appear before the Senate if subpoenaed. The New York Times reported that the contents of his forthcoming book further supported the allegations against Trump.

Those  revelations set the stage for a partisan showdown. For a time,  Washington focused intensely on a handful of potential crossover  Republicans who might have joined Democrats to call witnesses and  prolong the impeachment, if not change its ultimate outcome.

Scrutiny  fell on Romney and other Republicans, including Lamar Alexander of  Tennessee, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.  Ultimately, Democrats could not bring over a sufficient number of GOP  votes.

So the Senate resolved last Friday to proceed to the  final judgement it rendered on Wednesday. Trump's allies welcomed the  end to the impeachment saga but warned that Democrats have set a  precedent that may threaten one of their own presidents someday.    

 

"Ladies and gentlemen, you will come to regret this whole process," warned Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

McConnell  said that senators voting to acquit Trump were repudiating what he  called a "grave abuse of power" by the House that would "reduce the  framers' designs to rubble."

"We've done our duty," he said.

Pelosi,  for her part, sought to make clear before the conclusion of the case  that she didn't believe Trump could be truly vindicated by the Senate.  Impeachment would stay with him, she said, and the trial itself wasn't  fair.

"You cannot be acquitted if you don't have a trial," she  said. "You don't have a trial if you don't have witnesses and  documentation."

 

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