Politics • 06 February, 2020

Trump acquitted by Senate in impeachment trial

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President Donald Trump has been cleared in his impeachment trial, ending a congressional bid to oust him from office that bitterly divided the US, BBC reports.

The Senate, run by the president's fellow Republicans, voted to acquit him 52-48 on charges of abuse of power and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress.

Democrats charged Mr Trump in December with pressuring Ukraine to smear a potential White House rival.

In November, Mr Trump will be the first impeached president to go for election.

In its historic vote on Wednesday, the Senate decided not to remove America's 45th president from office on charges arising from his dealings with Ukraine.

If convicted on either charge, Mr Trump would have had to turn over his office to Vice-President Mike Pence.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment on 18 December.

The impeachment charges focused on Mr Trump's request that Kyiv announce a corruption investigation into Joe Biden, a Democratic White House candidate, and his son Hunter Biden.

Mr Trump has argued that the younger Biden improperly held a board position with a Ukrainian natural gas firm while his father was US vice-president and in charge of American-Ukrainian relations.

Democrats accused Mr Trump of abusing his power by withholding $391m (£300m) in security aid to prod Ukraine's president into digging up dirt on the Bidens.

They also charged Mr Trump with obstruction of Congress after the White House blocked testimony and documents sought by the House impeachment investigators.

The impeachment inquiry stemmed from Mr Trump's phone call on 25 July this year in which he asked Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky to "do us a favour".

Following a complaint from an anonymous government whistleblower, Democrats launched their investigation in September, compiling a 28,000-page report.

Mr Trump is the third US president to have been impeached.

The two others, Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868, were left in power by the Senate and did not seek re-election.

President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.

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