The United States Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial on Wednesday, finding him not guilty on the charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress during its investigation of his behavior in the Ukraine scandal.
Fifty-two of the 53 Republican Senators voted to acquit Trump on the first charge, abuse of power, with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) delivering the lone, dissenting vote.
Romney said Wednesday morning that Trump was guilty of an “appalling abuse of public trust” when he withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure the the president of Ukraine to investigate one of Trump’s political rivals. Romney’s vote made him the first senator in history to vote to convict in the impeachment trial of a president of his own party.
Romney, who faced immediate criticism from fellow Republicans, including Donald Trump Jr., over his first vote, later joined his colleagues in acquitting Trump on the obstruction of Congress charge, a vote which ultimately fell along party lines.
All 47 Democrats found Trump guilty on both charges, but they would have needed to convince 20 Republicans to find Trump guilty to reach the necessary two-thirds supermajority necessary for a conviction and removal—an outcome that was unlikely with a Republican-controlled Senate.
“We’ve just witnessed a miscarriage of justice on the floor of the United States Senate,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) on Twitter.
Many Republicans acknowledged Trump acted inappropriately, but said his behavior did not warrant a guilty verdict and removal from the White House. All but two Republicans also refused to allow testimony from live witnesses or new evidence to be entered into the Senate trial, making it the first-ever impeachment trial without testimony and evidence in the history of the Senate.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a key “no” vote on witnesses and evidence, previously said he believed Trump’s behavior was wrong, but thought that voters, not the Senate, should decide Trump’s future.
However, his critics continue to point out that Trump was impeached by the House over his attempts to compel a foreign government to investigate his 2020 political rival—potentially influencing the election in which voters will decide Trump’s fate.
“Make no mistake: Senate Republicans just endorsed Trump cheating to steal the 2020 election,” former labor secretary Robert Reich wrote on Twitter.
Trump celebrated his acquittal on Twitter with a video depicting him remaining President for decades to come.