Washington – The U.S. Senate on Wednesday acquitted President Donald Trump of two articles of impeachment in a partisan vote that, while expected, prompted Connecticut lawmakers to warn that the failure to remove the president from office will have dire consequences.

The Senate voted 52-48 to acquit Trump of the first article, which found the president abused his power in his dealings with Ukraine. Trump was accused of pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, by withholding U.S. military aid and a White House meeting.

All Senate Democrats and one Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, voted for the article, but the final tally fell well short of the two-thirds vote needed for approval. It did, however, mark the first bipartisan vote in favor of convicting and removing a president in American history.

“The Senate Majority has butchered the Article One powers of the Congress, and has created a dangerous shift of power to the Executive Branch that will haunt our nation for years to come,” said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.

“The Senate Majority has butchered the Article One powers of the Congress, and has created a dangerous shift of power to the Executive Branch that will haunt our nation for years to come.”

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd

The Senate then voted along straight party lines, 53-47, to defeat an article that charged the president with contempt of Congress for blocking witnesses and withholding documents requested during the two-month long House impeachment inquiry. Once again, 67 votes were needed to approve the article and remove the president from office.

“While many Republicans admitted what the president did was wrong, they chose to vote not guilty. There comes a time when you must put the country ahead of politics.  The Senate failed to do that today,” said Rep. John Larson, D-1st District.

Trump was defiant after his acquittal, retweeting a meme that showed him winning re-election, not only in 2020, but deep into the 22nd century.

Before Thursday’s historic vote, every senator was allotted 10 minutes to explain the way he or she was going to vote.

With the exception of Romney, many Republicans said the president did nothing wrong – a position adopted by Trump – while others said even if he did something “improper” or wrong, his actions did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah was the only Republican to vote to remove Trump from office.

“I listened to the evidence. Or really, the lack of any evidence whatsoever, and I was convinced — President Trump did not commit any crime,” said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. “Now we can all get back to what we’re supposed to be doing here – working on behalf of the American people.”

“The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”

Sen. Mitt Romney

Sen. Richard Blumenthal used his time before the Senate to continue an argument he’s made since the president’s dealings with Ukrain were revealed in September — that Trump’s actions were violations of criminal laws that are specifically cited in the U.S. Constitution.

“The president solicited a bribe when he sought a personal benefit, an investigation of his political opponent, a smear of his rival in exchange for an official act, in fact two official acts — the release of military funding for an ally and a White House meeting in return for that personal benefit,” Blumenthal said. “They were a violation of criminal law at the time of the Framers. And that’s why they put it in the Constitution, bribery and treason are specifically mentioned.”

Blumenthal also spoke of the bravery of the public servants who defied the White House and testified in the House impeachment inquiry, including Ukrainian Ambassador William Taylor. He also praised the anonymous CIA whistleblower who touched off the impeachment inquiry with a complaint about Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

And, like many Democrats, Blumenthal decried the refusal of most of his GOP colleagues to allow Democrats to introduce new witnesses, especially former national security adviser John Bolton, and seek other evidence at the Senate trial.

“I will remember … the shame and sadness that I felt when this body, supposedly the greatest deliberative body in the history of the world, voted to close its eyes, to put on blinders to evidence, witnesses, and documents, firsthand knowledge, eyes and ears on the president, black and white,” Blumenthal said. “Documents don’t lie.”

Like many Democrats, Sen.. Chris Murphy said there would be dire consequences in acquitting Trump.

In the 10 minutes allotted to him, Sen. Chris Murphy said the president’s actions threatened the nation’s fragile and unique democracy.

“Democracy is unnatural,” Murphy said. “It’s rare. It’s delicate. It’s fragile. And untended to, neglected or taken for granted it will disappear like ashes scattering into the cold night.”

“Democracy is unnatural. It’s rare. It’s delicate. It’s fragile. And untended to, neglected or taken for granted it will disappear like ashes scattering into the cold night.”

Sen. Chris Murphy

Murphy said the 100-member U.S. Senate is “given the responsibility to keep it safe from those who may deign to harm it.”

“The difference between a Democracy and a tin pot dictatorship is that here we don’t allow presidents to use official levers of power to destroy political opponents, but that’s what president Trump did,” Murphy continued. “And we all know it. Even the Republicans who are going to vote to acquit him today know that.”

In his speech, Murphy said the Senate had put on a “show trial” and delivered a “gift-wrapped present for a grateful party leader.”

“We became complicit in the very attacks on democracy that this body is supposed to guard against,” Murphy said. “We have failed to protect the republic.”

Murphy, who gave his speech Wednesday afternoon, was upstaged by Romney, who followed him.

“The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust,” Romney said.

Romney’s vote not to acquit the president of abuse of power prevents Trump from maintaining the impeachment was completely partisan.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

Join the Conversation

14 Comments

  1. From the 1st Day of his Administration many, many members of the Democrat Party have pursued impeachment. This act has been nothing more than a Political Coup intended to invalidate the vote of supporters of President Trump. This was not just an acquittal, it was restoration of our Democracy.

    1. John,
      Stop with all the garbage about “from day 1 ba blah be blah”. Trump held up aid that was approved by Congress unless Ukraine dug up dirt on a political rival running for President against him. Indefensible. Then obstructed justice.

      1. Someone please tell us when Biden announced he would be running for president and how that fits into the whole Ukraine time line.
        Then, let’s also consider how Hunter managed to land a VERY lucrative position with Barisma.

      2. Zelensky elected Ukraine President April 21, 2019. Joe Biden announced April 25. Trump discusses Ukraine with Putin on May 3. Trump tells “the Three Amigos” to talk to Guliani about Ukraine on May 23. All Ukraine aid blocked at Trump’s direct request on July 12. There’s more before, during and after these dates. https://publicintegrity.org/national-security/timeline-how-trump-withheld-ukraine-aid/

        As long as we’re asking questions, what qualifications exactly do Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have for the positions they were given in the White House?

    2. It matters not that some Democrats have wanted to impeach since day one. That was just plain ridiculous posturing. What matters is that impeachment was not seriously considered — and was not begun — until Trump brought it upon himself by his actions on Ukraine. His acquittal by Republicans who know and admit that his actions were wrong is shameful.

  2. “The sky is falling” says Senators Blumenthal and Murphy. In fact, this vote against impeachment is cause for.celebration of all that is good and right in this country.

  3. That the Bidens were involved in Ukrainian corruption is entirely their doing and fault. Connecticut’s sanctuary State status is also Connecticut’s doing and fault.

    1. Would you please cite your source or evidence to back up your claim about “the Bidens were involved in Ukrainian corruption”?

  4. It is time for elected officials from all sides to start acting like statesmen and stateswomen IMO. In Connecticut, our elected officials sound like nothing but Trump attack dogs for the “blue” party. Their party bosses are taking our representatives for granted because they are so sure we sheep will only elect from one party that they relegate our representatives to minions. I say they start talking like something other than rank partisans or we trade them in for a new batch that perhaps the party bosses won’t take for granted.

  5. If Mitt Romney were President of the United States instead of Trump, we would have a President worthy of respect for integrity and moral courage, a President worthy of the title. And I would still be a registered Republican.

    1. I never said Romney was perfect. But his flaws pale in comparison to the current occupant of the White House, who is a champion flipper himself. Talk about “can’t trust what he says”, has there ever been a President on whom a running total of lies was kept? BTW, as of January 20, the total is 16,241.

  6. When will our representatives take credit for the “earth ending as we know it” attitude. Two years ago, it was the tax legislature Obamacare. Last year, it was North Korea and Russia. This year, its Iran and impeachment. Is our representatives to be given the moniker of Chicken Little? It is shameful to be represented by these fakes. Murphy was in Ukraine but nobody wants to call him as a witness, but they want to call the republican that was with him. What a joke these people are.

Leave a comment