WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is on the verge of acquittal by the Senate, bringing an end to only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history in a vote at the start of the tumultuous campaign for the White House.
A majority of senators have now expressed unease with Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine that resulted in the two articles of impeachment. But there’s nowhere near the two-thirds support necessary in the Republican-held Senate for the Constitution’s bar of high crimes and misdemeanors to convict and remove the president from office.
One key Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, announced on the Senate floor that he was breaking with his party. Romney appeared to choke up as he spoke of his deep faith and “oath before God” demanding that he vote for impeachment.
“The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust,” Romney said on the Senate floor. “What the president did was wrong, grievously wrong.”
The final outcome is expected Wednesday (today in just an hour or so). It is crucial to note no president has ever been removed by the Senate, and Trump arrived at the Capitol for his State of the Union address on the eve of the vote eager to use the tally as vindication, a political anthem in his reelection bid. Allies chanted “four more years!”
The president did not mention impeachment at all last night despite opposition and defiance. With Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the house, even ripping up her copy of the address.
This Wednesday afternoon vote is expected to be swift. With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, senators sworn to do “impartial justice” will stand at their desks for the roll call and state their votes — “guilty” or “not guilty.” But is this outcome something shocking or unexpected? I think not!