With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, the US Senate voted twice on Wednesday afternoon to acquit President Trump of the two charges against him, bringing an end to the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. It means President Trump will remain in office.
Trump, 73, was acquitted by the GOP-held Senate of the charges of abuse of power by a vote of 52-48 and of obstruction of Congress 53-47. The charges were brought to the Senate by the Democrat-held House of Representatives less than three months ago.
Senators sworn to do "impartial justice" were required to stand at their desks for the roll call and state their votes – "guilty" or "not guilty."
Earlier in the day, one Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, announced on the Senate floor that he was breaking with his party and voting for impeachment. He was the only Republican to vote "guilty" on the charge of abuse of power.
Ahead of voting, some of the most closely watched senators took to the Senate floor to tell their constituents, and the nation, what they had decided. The Senate chaplain has been opening the trial proceedings with daily prayers for the senators.
"This decision is not about whether you like or dislike this president," began GOP Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine centrist, announcing her resolve to acquit Trump on both charges.
GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said that while he doesn't condone Trump's actions, he was not prepared to remove him from the ballot nine months before the election. "Let the people decide," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed House Democrats' drive to impeach Trump as "the most rushed, least fair, and least thorough" in history.
He said the two impeachment charges against Trump – that he abused his power and obstructed Congress' ensuing investigation – are "constitutionally incoherent" and don't "even approach a case for the first presidential removal in American history.″
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York accused McConnell and his GOP colleagues of sweeping Trump's misconduct under the rug.
"The administration, its top people, and Senate Republicans are all hiding the truth," Schumer said, claiming that Trump tried to "blackmail a foreign country to interfere in our elections." House Democrats prosecuting the case argued that Trump abused his power when he pressured Ukraine to investigate whether Democratic rival Joe Biden had pressured Ukraine to drop a corruption investigation that could have involved his son Hunter.
Although the trial is over, investigations will continue with talk already of the House Democrats planning to subpoena former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Republicans Say Impeachment Effort Will Hurt Democrats in the Election
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham warns this impeachment process sets a dangerous precedent for future presidents.
"It's never enough when it comes to President Trump – this sham process is the low point. If you think you've done the country a service by legitimizing this impeachment process, what you've done is unleashed the forces of hell – this is sour grapes," Graham said.
Donald Trump, Jr, tells CBN News he thinks voters see through impeachment. "This impeachment started the day he beat Hillary Clinton and has gone on since then. It has manifested itself a few times, first it was Russia, then it was this, yada, yada, yada. It's just gone on forever."
Majority Leader McConnell is predicting this will play well for vulnerable GOP senators up for election in 2020.
"Every one of our people in tough races, every one of them is in better shape today than they were before the impeachment trial started," McConnell said.
The impeachment finale comes as President Trump has just hit his highest job approval rating in the Gallup Poll.
The latest survey has him at 49 percent approval which is the best mark for the president since he took office in January in 2017.
The poll also showed that 50 percent disapprove.
Among Republicans, the president has a 94 percent approval rating compared to just seven percent among Democrats.
And 63 percent approve of the way the president is handling the economy. The public is showing its highest satisfaction with the economy in nearly 15 years.