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  • U.S. senators cast their votes on the first article of impeachment abuse of power during the final votes in the Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump in this frame grab from video shot in the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 5, 2020. U.S. Senate

    U.S. senators cast their votes on the first article of impeachment abuse of power during the final votes in the Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump in this frame grab from video shot in the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 5, 2020. U.S. Senate | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 February 2020

The Republican-controlled Senate was scheduled to hold its historic vote at 4 p.m. (2100 GMT) on whether to remove Trump from office on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress

President Donald Trump was acquitted on Wednesday in his U.S. Senate impeachment trial, saved by fellow Republicans who rallied to protect him nine months before he asks voters in a deeply divided America to give him a second White House term.

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The businessman-turned-reality tv star-turned-politician, 73, survived only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history - just like the two other impeached presidents - in his turbulent presidency’s darkest chapter. Trump now plunges into an election season that promises to further polarize the country.

Trump was acquitted largely along party lines on two articles of impeachment approved by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on Dec. 18, with the votes falling far short of the two-thirds majority required in the 100-seat Senate to remove him under the U.S. Constitution.

The 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. Republican Senator Mitt Romney joined the Democrats in voting to convict. No Democrat voted to acquit.

On each of the two charges, the senators voted one by one on the Senate floor with U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts presiding.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans engineered a stripped-down trial with no witnesses or new evidence. Democrats called the trial a sham and a cover-up. Trump called the impeachment an attempted coup and a Democratic attempt to annul his 2016 election victory.

Throughout the impeachment drama, Trump and his Republican allies kept up their attacks on Biden’s integrity. It remains to be seen how much political damage that inflicted. In the first of the state-by-state contests to determine the Democratic challenger to Trump, Biden placed a disappointing fourth in Iowa, according to incomplete results from Monday’s voting. Biden has accused Trump of “lies, smears, distortions and name-calling.”

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