The third presidential impeachment trial in America’s history ended last Wednesday when the U.S. Senate voted almost entirely along party lines to acquit President Donald Trump of the two charges against him.
“We’ve been going through this now for over three years,” Trump said during celebratory remarks Thursday at the White House. “It was evil. It was corrupt. It was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars. And this should never, ever happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it. Some people said no, they wouldn’t have.”
Trump faced two articles of impeachment, which passed the House strictly along party lines after no Republicans voted for them.
Trump was charged with abusing his power to get Ukraine to aid his reelection bid and obstructing Congress’s investigation into that matter, which centered on a phone call with Ukraine’s president and a delayed almost $400 million in military aid.
The Senate voted 53-47, along party lines, to acquit Trump of the obstruction charge and 52-48 to acquit him on the abuse-of-power allegation.
In that latter vote, Mitt Romney (R-Utah) joined Democrats in voting for removing Trump, becoming the first senator in history to vote for the removal of a president from his or her own political party.
As they did throughout the bitter and partisan impeachment process, Illinois’ Democratic senators and Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) stuck to their party’s positions when commenting on Trump’s acquittal.
In his remarks on the Senate floor before the vote on the articles of impeachment, Sen. Dick Durbin asked his colleagues to imagine a world post-acquittal.
“Facing a well-established election siege by Russia and other enemies of the United States, we, the Senate, have absolved a president who continues to brazenly invite foreign interference in our elections,” Durbin said. “Expect more of the same. A majority of this body will have voted for the president’s argument that inviting interference by a foreign government is not impeachable if it serves that president’s personal, political interests.”
Durbin also decried the impeachment trial that saw no direct witnesses or evidence present after Republicans voted against allowing those things and called for politicians to “work to bind the wounds of our divided nation.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth also lambasted the Senate for not allowing witnesses or evidence during the trial and spoke about her service in the military and now in public office.
“After hearing both sides’ presentations, I reflected on the values this nation was founded on – values I fought in uniform to defend: justice, freedom and the rule of law,” Duckworth said. “In this country, no one is above the law. In this country, the truth matters. And, as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman said, in America, right matters. With that in mind, it was impossible to come away from this trial with any opinion other than that the president is guilty of the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.”
Bost disagreed with the senators, describing the impeachment as Democrats trying to undo the results of the 2016 election.
“Our founders understood the gravity of impeachment, reserving it for egregious criminal conduct,” Bost said. “It wasn’t intended to be a weapon for undoing elections. The Senate put the final nail in the coffin for impeachment today, reaching the same conclusion so many Americans knew all along: the Democrats’ motives were partisan and the evidence was paltry. Now that the president has been rightfully acquitted, I hope that Washington will get back to doing the people’s business.”