President Donald Trump was acquitted today in his impeachment trial on two counts. The trial has been a national flashpoint for both sides of the aisle over the course of the proceedings.
The two counts of impeachment were for alleged abuse of power and for obstruction of Congress’ investigation.
However, the votes fell significantly short of conviction for the impeachment articles. To convict an official in an impeachment trial, the Senate would require a supermajority – or 2/3’s vote. The end result was a 52-48 vote for acquittal for the abuse of power charge and 53-47 for acquittal for the obstruction charge.
Trump is only the third president to be impeached in U.S. history. The other two include Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon resigned before a full impeachment vote could be held. No president has ever been removed from office.
Arkansas’ two U.S. Senators both voted in favor of acquittal. U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton both issued statements on the record, in defense of their votes.
According to Cotton, the impeachment process was a “slipshod, secretive process” that was entirely partisan in nature. He accused the Democratic Party of orchestrating the impeachment to remove Trump from office because of concerns that they would lose the 2020 presidential election.
“When most Americans think about why a president ought to be impeached and removed from office for the first time in our history, I suspect that pausing aid to Ukraine for a few weeks is pretty far down the list. That’s not exactly ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,’” he says. “And that’s especially true when we’re just months away from the election that will let Americans make their own choice. Indeed, Americans are already voting to select the president’s Democratic challenger. Why not let the voters decide whether the president ought to be removed?”
“The Democrats’ real answer is that they’re afraid they’ll lose again in 2020, so they designed impeachment to hurt the president before the election. As one Democratic congressman said last year, “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this president, he will get reelected.” Or as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed earlier this month, impeachment is a “win-win” for Democrats; either it will lead to the president’s defeat or it will hurt enough Republican senators in tough races to hand Democrats the majority. Or maybe both.”
Boozman characterized the impeachment process as a “weapon of political convenience.” In a statement, he warned that the impeachment could have grave consequences on the nation’s political process.
“The attempt to turn the impeachment power into a weapon of political convenience will be far more damaging than any other aspect of this chapter in our nation’s history. At the end of the day, this partisan, deficient process yielded a product built on an inadequate foundation, in addition to being clearly motivated by the desire to remove a president who some vocal activists have viewed as illegitimate since Election Day 2016.”