End of the Road: Trump’s Impeachment Trial Concludes


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President Donald Trump speaks at an address before the impeachment trial.

Shelby Hansen

The deal is set. After months of investigation and various rumors, President Donald Trump has finished his trial in the Senate. This is one of the quickest impeachment inquiries in history, as it lasted 181 days of official meetings. At the end of the full court trial, President Trump was acquitted on both impeachment charges. 

The House of Representatives managers delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Jan. 15, and the Senate officially accepted them the next day. Trump was officially charged for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He became the third president in United States history to undergo an impeachment trial in the Senate. 

The trial began with an official set of rules that lasted for 16 hours to decide. Most of the rules and regulations were based on the trial of former president Bill Clinton. House Democrats pushed for a commitment to witnesses and documents, as seen in House impeachment manager Adam Schiff’s opening argument. However, these demands were not met, and the Republican Senate majority defeated the efforts to call witnesses directly to President Trump’s “misconduct.” Therefore, there was no official evidence presented. 

After the opening arguments from both parties’ House managers, senators had 16 hours to ask questions in the chamber with two hours of arguments from House impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers following each question. This process was not completed in one day; it lasted for around 3 days. The vote was postponed over the weekend once the questioning was completed. 

Many Democrats believed that the trial was just a “show trial” or a “mock trial” due to the lack of evidence presented. They believed that the Republicans were just trying to hide the evidence away from the public. On the other hand, the Republican party thought that the entire impeachment process was a way to get President Trump out of office or harm his 2020 campaign, not because he did something wrong but because they do not like him. They complained that the Democrats were not showing them evidence, yet they stopped allowing public access to the government documents and information that could be used. The impeachment started to become a pointing-of-fingers without any real work getting done. 

At the end of the trial, President Trump was acquitted with a 52-48 vote on the first article and a 53-47 vote on the second. Trump needed a two-thirds vote in order to become impeached. Senator Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote in favor of convicting Trump, making history as the first senator to vote to remove a president in his own party in an impeachment trial.

This concluded the impeachment process, but the tension between political parties is tenser than ever; with the next election coming up at the end of the year and the Democrats still unable to give their official candidates for the presidency, the next few months are sure to be interesting with the U.S. government. 

Currently, President Trump is still the lead candidate for the Republican Party while the Democratic party is still going through the Democratic debate and primary process to decide their runners for the primary election. The top five leaders are Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Michael Bloomberg. The Democratic convention will occur in mid-July, and the Republican convention will occur in late August. This is where the parties will announce their official candidates, beginning the presidential debate process leading up to Election Day on Nov. 3.