CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to acquit President Donald Trump of two charges related to his phone call last summer with Ukraine’s leader.
The chamber voted largely along party lines, failing twice to meet the 67-vote requirement to remove Trump from office.
Senators voted 52-48 to clear Trump on an abuse of power charge and 53-47 on an obstruction of Congress charge. Republican Mitt Romney of Utah voted “guilty” on the first of the two articles of impeachment, the only Republican to do so.
The charges stem from Trump asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, ahead of the 2020 election. The president also withheld military aid to Ukraine which was eventually released.
West Virginia’s senators voted differently on the articles of impeachment; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., found Trump “guilty” on both articles, while Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., voted “not guilty” twice alongside her Republican colleagues.
Manchin, who was undecided before Wednesday’s vote, said House of Representatives investigators presented a thorough case, but the Senate failed its responsibilities by not seeking additional witnesses and documents. The chamber rejected an opportunity last week to receive new information amid concerns regarding an upcoming book by former national security advisor John Bolton on the aid to Ukraine.
“I have always wanted a fair trial in the Senate, and I am disappointed the President, his counsel, and a majority of my Republican colleagues decided not to support the inclusion of additional witnesses and documents during the trial, resulting in the first Senate impeachment trial of a President without witnesses,” Manchin said.
“And while the President may assert executive privilege, that privilege has limits and is not absolute. Despite the false claim that a President can do no wrong, the President is not entitled to act with blatant disregard for an equal branch of government or use the superpower status of the United States to condition our support of democracy and our allies on any political favor.”
Capito has been critical of the impeachment process, calling it partisan and political. She said Wednesday removing Trump from office is not the appropriate response to his actions.
“Reviewing this evidence and listening to counsel on both sides, I do not believe the House proved an offense that would justify the grave step of overturning the 2016 election and taking away from West Virginians the ability to decide for themselves in the 2020 election,” she said.
“As West Virginians have made clear to me throughout this impeachment process, it is time to move on from this partisan charade and instead focus on real issues of importance to the American people,” Capito added.
Manchin announced on Monday a resolution censuring the president for his actions. Capito said she does not support Manchin’s proposal and there is little support among her colleagues.
West Virginia’s three House members — Republicans David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller — opposed impeaching Trump in the chamber’s December vote.
“Now that the trial has finally concluded, I believe it is time to get back to work on the issues that matter to all Americans,” Mooney said in a statement. “In his State of the Union address last night, President Trump indicated support for lowering prescription drug prices, maintaining our strong economy, and expanding access to broadband internet for rural America. These important issues have potential for bipartisan solutions.”
Miller struck a similar tone following the Senate’s votes.
“Moving forward, I encourage my colleagues across the aisle to finally end their political theatrics, so we can get to work on issues that actually matter,” she said.