KEY POINTS

  • The impeachment trial began Jan. 16 with the swearing in of Chief Justice John Roberts as the presiding officer
  • Several Republicans admitted Trumps actions were wrong but said they did not warrant removal from office
  • It takes two-thirds of senators to convict a president. That threshold never has been met in the three impeachment trials held in U.S. history

Update: 4:36 p.m.

The vote against obstructing Congress was 53-47, strictly along party lines.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts pronounced President Trump acquitted on both counts, saying the Senate has determined he is not guilty.

"The Senate having tried Donald J. Trump in the Senate on two articles of impeachment ... two-thirds of the senators hot having found him guilty, he is hereby acquitted of the articles of impeachment," Roberts said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised Roberts' performance and lawmakers gave him a round of applause and then awarded him a golden gavel.

Original story

The Senate voted Wednesday not to remove President Trump from office for abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress’ investigation of his actions.

The Senate voted 52-48 against removing Trump from office for attempting to leverage $391 million in military aid for an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden whose son held a seat on the board of Ukraine energy company Burisma.

The proceedings were broadcast live:

At the time Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart for the investigation, Biden was the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. The strategy of attempting to damage Biden appeared to work. He came in fourth in this week’s Iowa caucuses.

Though the trial is over, Democrats Wednesday vowed to continue their investigation. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said his committee and the House Intelligence Committee likely would subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton to testify. Published reports indicated Bolton's forthcoming book says Trump directly linked the military aid to the Biden investigation.

Before the vote, lawmakers spent part of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday speaking on impeachment on the Senate floor. Democrats generally called for conviction and removal from office; Republicans argued against ousting Trump though some admitted the president’s actions were wrong.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the lone Republican to break ranks, voting to convict on abuse of power but not on obstruction.

“My own view is that there’s not much I can think of that would be a more egregious assault on our Constitution than trying to corrupt an election to maintain power. And that’s what the president did,” Romney said, adding he dreaded the impeachment process and hoped for a time Trump’s request for an investigation of Biden was a throwaway line.

Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, has been a vocal critic of Trump. He said even though he supports many of Trump’s policies, allowing his actions against Ukraine should stand “would be a real stain on our constitutional democracy.”

He said he had been hoping the president’s legal team would present exculpatory evidence and called “absurd” the argument that Trump could be impeached only for a statutory crime. He said he could not think of a “more egregious assault on our constitutional system than corrupting an election and getting a foreign power to do it for you.”

Romney and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, were the only two Republicans to vote in favor of calling witnesses at the trial, only the third in U.S. history. Collins said Tuesday she would not vote to convict.

It takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to remove a president from office. There never was any question about whether that threshold would be met. The trial began Jan. 16 with the ceremonial swearing in of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to preside over the proceedings.

No U.S. president ever has been removed from office. Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.