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White House Declares 'Vindication' As Trump Plans Impeachment Statement

Updated

U.S. President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on February 4.

The White House has claimed "full vindication and exoneration" in the "sham" impeachment process against President Donald Trump following his expected acquittal in the Senate trial, and the president has said he will speak on the matter on February 6.

"Today, the sham impeachment attempt concocted by Democrats ended in the full vindication and exoneration of President Donald J. Trump," a White House statement said on February 5 after senators voted nearly along party lines on two articles of impeachment.

"As we have said all along, he is not guilty. The Senate voted to reject the baseless articles of impeachment, and only the President’s political opponents -- all Democrats, and one failed Republican presidential candidate -- voted for the manufactured impeachment articles," the statement said.

Senators voted 52-48 to clear the Republican president of the first article of impeachment -- abuse of power, with only Utah Senator Mitt Romney defying Trump to vote guilty.

The 53-47 vote on the second article -- obstruction of Congress -- brought the proceedings to an end and left Trump in office.

Acquittal was all along expected, given that a two-thirds majority was needed to convict. The Republicans hold 53 of the 100 seats in the chamber.

In his first remarks following the votes, Trump wrote on Twitter that he will be making a public statement on February 6 at noon "to discuss our Country's VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!"

Trump's campaign manager for the 2020 election, Brad Parscale, also declared that "President Trump has been totally vindicated, and it's now time to get back to the business of the American people."

However, Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, called the acquittal meaningless and the result of an unfair trial in which Republicans voted against allowing Democrats to call witnesses or subpoena documents.

"No doubt, the president will boast he received total exoneration. But we know better. We know this wasn't a trial by any stretch of the definition," Schumer said.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump in December for his alleged corruption in only the third such hearing against a president in the country's history.

The charges focused on whether the country's 45th president withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine to force the Eastern European country to announce an investigation into his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, one of the front-runners in the nomination race to face Trump in an election in November.

Democrats also accused him of withholding a desired White House visit by Ukraine's newly elected leader, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, until the Ukrainian government made a public announcement of a probe.

Trump has denied any wronging in his dealings with Ukraine.

That set the stage for a Senate trial, where the two sides clashed almost nonstop over the investigation and whether to allow new witnesses and evidence to be entered into the proceedings.

Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, was the only Republican senator to vote for conviction on the abuse of power charge. He voted to acquit on the second article.

Following the vote, Trump accused Romney of being a "secret asset" of the Democratic Party and of only "posing" to be a Republican.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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