Senate Votes to Acquit Trump, Romney Lone Republican Dissent | Sojourners

Senate Votes to Acquit Trump, Romney Lone Republican Dissent

The Republican-controlled Senate has voted not to remove President Donald Trump from office by a vote of 52-48 on the abuse of power charge and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was the lone Republican vote to convict on abuse of power.

While a conviction was not expected — a two-thirds majority is required to remove a sitting president — any Republican departure from the party-line vote came as a surprise to many. In a speech announcing his decision on the Senate floor, Romney invoked his Mormon faith. 

As a senator-juror, I swore an oath before God to exercise impartial justice. I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president — the leader of my own party — would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong. The great question the Constitution asks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did.

After calling on senators to convict, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) turned to the American people, urging them not to lose hope, and quoted Amos 5:24, "Let justice roll down like water, righteousness like an everflowing stream," adding, "The long arc of the universe does bend toward justice. America does change for the better but not on its own."

Throughout the impeachment process, some evangelical leaders have continued to show support. After Trump's State of the Union speech Tuesday, during which Rush Limbaugh was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Franklin Graham tweeted his thanks to the president, saying, "Thank you Mr. President for reminding Americans why they voted for you in the last election. May God bless you and your family, President @realDonaldTrump, as you continue to lead our nation."

In early January, the Trump campaign launched the Evangelicals for Trump coalition in a Miami church, and an October poll showed that 99 percent of white evangelical Protestants opposed impeachment and removal from office. 

Senate Republicans previously voted down a Democratic bid to call witnesses such as former national security adviser John Bolton and present new evidence in the trial.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told reporters that Democrats likely would subpoena Bolton, who in an unpublished book manuscript described Trump as playing a central role in pressuring Ukraine, as they continue to investigate the president.

Trump is the third U.S. president to have been impeached. The two others, Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868, were left in power by the Senate.

Reuters reporting contributed to this article.

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