Impeachment Trial Ends

February 6, 2020
WATCHING AND WAITING Reporters in Washington, D.C. watch the final vote in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on February 5.
SAMUEL CORUM—GETTY IMAGES

The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump ended on February 5, when the United States Senate voted against removing him from office.

In a U.S. impeachment trial, 67 votes are needed to find the president guilty. The senators voted on two different charges. On the first, abuse of power, 48 senators voted guilty and 52 voted not guilty. On the second, obstruction of Congress, 47 senators voted guilty and 53 voted not guilty. The vote marked the end of months of proceedings.

The Impeachment Process

The impeachment inquiry began in the U.S. House of Representatives after an anonymous complaint was filed in August. The complaint said Trump pressured Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. On December 18, the House voted to impeach President Trump. He was charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The Senate trial began on January 21. All 100 senators served as the jury. Seven members of the House argued that the president should be removed from office. A team of lawyers defended the president. They argued that he should not be removed from office. Senators listened to both sides and submitted written questions. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts oversaw the trial. He read the questions aloud. Both sides were given time to respond.

On January 31, the Senate voted against hearing from new witnesses or requesting more evidence. After each side made its closing argument, senators were given time to make statements. Finally, on February 5, senators voted on the two articles of impeachment. One by one, senators were called by name and asked to vote guilty or not guilty on each charge.

This impeachment trial was not the first of its kind. It was the third in U.S. history. All three presidents put on trial were found not guilty. No president has ever been removed from office.

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