Trump’s impeachment trial has finally come to an end. On Wednesday, he was acquitted (found not guilty) by the Senate and will remain in office. Here is a short summary of the trial:
What is Impeachment?
Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body levels charges against a government official. Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution states that “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Why was Trump Impeached?
In August 2019, a whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump had, in a phone call, urged Ukraine’s President to investigate 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son. This constituted the use of “the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the upcoming elections. Furthermore, the phone call occurred around the same time Trump blocked US$391m in military aid to Ukraine, raising concerns that Trump was using it as a bargaining tool to pressure Ukraine.
How did the Impeachment Trial Go?
The US Congress consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Leader of the Democrat party, the party opposing Trump) announced the formal opening of the impeachment inquiry and investigation. Two articles of impeachment were drafted: “abuse of power” and “obstruction of congress” in Trump’s conduct regarding Ukraine. On 18 December, last year, the House voted on the two articles. The members voted along party lines and the articles were passed due to the Democrat majority in the House. This made Trump the 3rd US president in history to be impeached.
The articles were then passed to the Senate to decide whether Trump should be removed from the office. On Wednesday, the Senate voted along party lines with the exception of Mitt Romney.
As Trump’s party holds the Senate majority, Trump was acquitted and declared not guilty.
What Happens Next?
Despite being impeached, Trump is still eligible to run for a second term (four more years) in the upcoming 2020 elections. His chances are far from slim. In fact, his approval rating has hit the highest level of his presidency at 49%, according to a Gallup poll.