Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 5, the U.S. Senate convened for less than an hour to vote on both Articles of Impeachment against President Trump brought by the U.S. House of Representatives. House impeachment managers were present. In order for the president to be convicted and permanently removed from office, 67 votes of guilty would be needed.
The Senate clerk read the charges brought in the first Article of Impeachment, which included charges of abuse of presidential powers, high crimes and misdemeanors. Fifty-two Republican Senators voted “not guilty,” while 47 Democratic senators and one Republican senator, Mitt Romney, (R-Utah), voted “guilty.”
Monday afternoon and Tuesday, Jan. 3 and 4, senators were provided an opportunity to comment on the Senate floor about their conclusions and the actions they would take. The comments will be entered into the permanent record. Romney said he would vote to convict the president. He acknowledged there was pressure to side with the team, something he admits he wanted to do, but he set aside his personal biases and feelings, and put first his oath before God above all else.
Two other Republican senators had indicated they were not 100 percent in line with other Republicans since the House announced it would pursue impeachment. Tuesday, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) stated she found the president’s behavior “shameful and wrong,” but would not convict. She was disappointed the House had not allowed for censure, and she would not disenfranchise voters by removing him from office.
Susan Collins (R-Maine) called the president’s actions improper and “demonstrated very poor judgement,” but she too said she would vote to acquit.
For the second Article, charging the president obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over evidence and allow witnesses to testify, 53 Republicans voted “not guilty,” and 47 Democrats voted “guilty.” The president was acquitted of both charges.
Following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer thanked the many staffers who assisted with the proceedings, including a class of Senate pages who began serving part way through the proceedings. It was the job of these pages to carry over 180 questions from Senators to the bench to be read during the two days of questions and answers.
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was presented the Golden Gavel by McConnell. He said the award is typically reserved for freshman Senators who have sat for their first 100 hours. He acknowledged Roberts had well exceeded this amount.
Accepting the award the Chief Justice offered an open invitation to senators to visit his courtroom if they would like to observe an argument, or perhaps escape one.
McConnel then closed the trial and adjourned the Senate.
Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts, Republicans from Kansas, never wavered from their support of the president, voting to acquit on both counts.
Shortly after the Senate acquitted the president, U.S. Representatives Roger Marshall, M.D. (Dist. 1) and Ron Estes (Dist. 4) released comments to the media, praising the Senate for its decision.
“After months of time and energy wasted on this impeachment witch hunt, Congress and the American people can finally move on to the things that actually matter to hardworking families in Kansas,” said Rep. Marshall. “I look forward to working with President Trump and the administration to find solutions to real issues like health care, securing our border, rebuilding our aging infrastructure, and curbing wasteful federal spending.”
“The Senate’s acquittal today thankfully closes a dark chapter in our nation’s history. The Kansans I’m honored to represent have told me for many months that it is time for Congress to move beyond these divisive, partisan games and focus on real legislation that affects the American people – lowering health care costs, securing our border and reining in out-of-control government spending,” Estes said.