After some three and a half months, it's all over. On Wednesday, Feb. 5, the Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment, on obstruction of Congress and abuse of power respectively. The vote was the final act in the long-running impeachment scandal (not counting the many, myriad other scandals Trump has seen in his three years in office). Following the vote, the president weighed in on the result, and Trump's tweet after the impeachment vote was all about staying in office — forever.
The result was expected, but no less controversial for that. Previous votes in the impeachment trial had happened mostly along party lines, and the hurdle to convict Trump — a two-thirds majority, or 67 votes — was unlikely to happen in the Republican-controlled Senate. In the end, the Senate voted to acquit 48 to 52 on the charge of abuse of power, and 47 to 53 on the charge of obstruction of Congress. Perhaps the most notable vote was that of Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who was the lone Republican to break with his party and vote to convict Trump on one charge, that of abuse of power.
After the vote, Trump, who had previously decried the impeachment proceedings as illegitimate, tweeted out an old meme about being re-elected. The tweet shared a gif of a cover of TIME magazine, on which a "Trump 2024" banner was visible... followed by a Trump 2028, a Trump 2032, and so on down the road all the way to Trump 2048, and then Trump 90,000.
The president also announced, via Twitter, that he would hold a press conference the next day to discuss the results, which he referred to as a "VICTORY" for the United States.
Members of the president's family, who have often spoken in their father's support or acted as political surrogates, also shared their thoughts on social media. Donald Trump Jr. took a swing at Democrats, referring to the impeachment proceedings as a "hoax," while Eric Trump posted a meme of a boxer — with the president's face superimposed on top — deftly dodging swings from an opponent.
The impeachment trial, now concluded, was based on alleged misconduct during Trump's July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, revealed in a whistleblower complaint which emerged in September of that year. In the call, Trump had requested that Zelensky investigate the family of his domestic political rival, Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently running for the Democratic nomination for president. The administration also later delayed planned military aid to Ukraine, leading to allegations that the White House had attempted to pressure Ukraine into helping Trump politically and leading to the abuse of power charge in the first article of impeachment against Trump. A White House transcript of the call confirmed that Trump had requested a favor, but the White House denied that it was improper or that there was any quid pro quo concerning aid.
The obstruction of Congress charge arose out of Trump's refusal to obey subpoenas and submit evidence as Congress investigated the call. The White House, in turn, asserted the refusal was based in the president's executive privilege. In October 2019, White House counsel said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the president would not participate in the "partisan inquiry" of his impeachment. The letter also called impeachment, at that point still an inquiry, "invalid" and a "violation of due process." Clearly, enough senators agreed, and the president remains in office.