Trump impeachment trial
February 5, 2020

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) had some harsh words for his Republican colleagues following the acquittal of President Trump.

Brown, like his fellow Democrats, voted to remove Trump from office on both articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. But he still wanted to get his point across. So in an op-ed in The New York Times he offered a scathing rebuke of the GOP for, as he sees it, cowering before the Trump administration.

The senator noted many Republicans in the upper chamber were especially offended by the suggestion from lead House prosecutor Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) that they were warned by the White House to vote in favor of Trump or their heads "will be on a pike."

Brown wasn't able to specifically back that claim up, but he did write that Republicans have privately agreed Trump is "reckless and unfit," while acknowledging his "lies" and admitting "what he did was wrong." (It's worth noting several Republican senators did publicly attest to the last point.) Brown said he's asked Republicans what they'll do to keep Trump in check after voting for his acquittal, but he only gets "shrugs and sheepish looks" in response. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

February 5, 2020

Chief Justice John Roberts was in the unenviable position of having to sit through the entirety of the Senate impeachment trial over the last few weeks while also continuing to serve on the Supreme Court, but at least he got a present out of it.

At the conclusion of the trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) presented Roberts with a golden gavel, which is typically awarded to new senators after they've sat in their chair for more than 100 hours. But McConnell thought it was ok to break with tradition in this instance.

Roberts also took time to thank McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for helping him preside over the trial, which he admitted was not the easiest task since he wasn't exactly sure what his precise responsibilities were. He was also spending time in the unfamiliar Capitol rather than his normal digs in the Supreme Court Building, which apparently was a bit jarring.

Now that the trial is done and President Trump acquitted, Roberts, like the senators he spent so much time hanging out with, will return to his normal routine. Tim O'Donnell

February 5, 2020

Senators voted on Wednesday to acquit President Trump on charges of abuse of power, with a 52-48 vote along party lines aside from Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who voted alongside Democrats to find Trump guilty, reports CNN.

On the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, senators voted 53-47 to acquit Trump rather than find him guilty and remove him from office. Two-thirds of the Senate must find a president guilty to remove him.

Trump's impeachment charges stemmed from accusations he abused his office by pushing Ukraine to investigate his political rivals to boost his re-election campaign. Trump is the third U.S. president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999, though neither president was convicted. The Week Staff

February 5, 2020

It won't change the course of the Senate trial's outcome, but the Democrats wound up sticking together during Wednesday's vote.

The last two holdouts among Democratic senators, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), decided they had seen enough to convict President Trump on both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Manchin was seen as an especially likely candidate to possibly give Trump a bipartisan acquittal, but he said, in the end, he "reluctantly" reached the conclusion that the evidence brought forth by the House impeachment managers "clearly supports the charges brought against he president."

Sinema, like Manchin, is considered a moderate member of the Democratic Party, but she too said it was "clear" Trump withheld aid from Ukraine to "benefit" his re-election chances, which she argued is "dangerous to the fundamental principles of American democracy."

Ultimately, it was the Republican Party that fractured, if ever so slightly, with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) voting to convict on the abuse of power article, making it the first time there's ever been a bipartisan vote to remove a president from office, even though the attempt failed. Tim O'Donnell

February 5, 2020

The chances of President Trump receiving a bipartisan acquittal took a hit Wednesday after Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) announced his decision to vote to convict on both articles of impeachment.

Jones was considered one of the more likely Democrats to vote to acquit Trump on one or both charges, primarily because he finds himself in a vulnerable position — some say he's in fact the single most vulnerable Democratic senator — in his home state of Alabama where he faces re-election in November. It's tough enough for a Democrat to win in Alabama without voting to remove a Republican president from office, but that wasn't enough for him to let Trump off the hook.

Although Trump will almost certainly be acquitted Wednesday afternoon, the White House is still hoping at least a couple of Democrats join their Republican counterparts since that would strengthen their argument the case for impeachment was flawed from the get-go. Now, that's becoming increasingly unlikely — as is the chance any Republican votes to convict. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) remain the only Democrats who could potentially switch sides at this point. Tim O'Donnell

February 4, 2020

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) won't vote to convict President Trump on either article of impeachment, but she still thinks he's learned his lesson.

In an interview with CBS' Norah O'Donnell on Tuesday — the same day she announced she'll vote to acquit Trump — Collins said she believes "the president has learned his lesson" and will be "much more cautious" in his dealings with foreign powers going forward.

Collins' comments echoed those of some of her Republican colleagues who also expressed displeasure with Trump's Ukraine-related behavior, but ultimately decided his actions did not meet the bar for removal. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), for example, both said they believe Trump will think twice about making a similar judgment in the future.

Trump's stauncher allies, on the other hand, don't think he should stop doing things his own way. Collins told O'Donnell the president shouldn't have brought former Vice President Joe Biden in his infamous July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he hopes the president keeps pursuing his political rival, NPR reports. Tim O'Donnell

February 4, 2020

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) broke with her party in a vote to call for additional witnesses in President Trump's impeachment trial, but once that effort failed she headed back to her home turf.

Collins on Tuesday said she will join most Republicans in voting to acquit Trump on both articles of impeachment, though she did say his actions regarding Ukraine were "improper" and "demonstrated very poor judgment."

As for the first article, abuse of power, she said the House didn't do enough to support its assertion that Trump "will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution" if he stays in office. She went further in explaining her disagreement with the second, obstruction of Congress, arguing the House skipped "the basic steps of judicial adjudication" and jumped straight to impeachment as a "first resort."

Collins is generally considered one of the more independent Republican senators, so her acquittal vote seemingly diminishes the already-slim chance of a GOP senator voting to convict, especially after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she'll vote the same way Monday. That likely leaves Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) — the only other Republican to join Collins in the witness vote — as the only remaining wild card. Tim O'Donnell

February 3, 2020

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) won't be breaking ranks this Wednesday.

The moderate Republican will be voting to acquit President Trump in the final vote of his impeachment trial, she announced Monday in a Senate floor speech. Still, Murkowski isn't exactly pleased with what went down on both sides of the aisle both before and during the trial.

After saying earlier Monday she'd reveal her vote while speaking in the Senate, Murkowski started her speech without a clear indication of where she'd land. She condemned the House for having "failed in its responsibilities" because it "rushed" to bring charges against Trump, but also declared "the Senate should be ashamed by the rank partisanship" its members showed in seemingly choosing their impeachment votes before the trial even started. "The House could have pursued censure," Murkowski then recommended, as "the response to the president's behavior is not to disenfranchise nearly 63 million Americans and remove him from the ballot." She then declared she "cannot vote to convict" because Trump's wrongdoing didn't warrant that response.

Murkowski's comments on censure make it seem like she could vote to support the censure motion Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) has proposed bringing to the Senate if Trump is not convicted. Kathryn Krawczyk

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