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Trump Cleared of All Charges in Impeachment Trial

President Donald Trump has been cleared of all charges in his impeachment trial.

In a historic vote that took place yesterday, the Senate voted to acquit the President, ending a congressional bid to remove him from office. The Senate voted 52-48 on charges of abuse of power and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress.

The President was initially charged in December after allegations that he had pressuring Ukraine into investigating political rival Joe Biden by withholding $391m reserved for security aid. Trump was then charged by obstructing congress in investigating the issue.

This was only the third presidential trial in American history. Trump, who is seeking a second term in the 2020 November election, is the first president to be impeached in his first term and then have the opportunity to seek reelection.

The President always denied any wrong-doing.

After the trial, his re-election campaign said in a statement: “President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people. The do-nothing Democrats know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him.

“This impeachment hoax will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history.”

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Former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton reacted to the result of the trial on twitter

How did the vote play out?

The impeachment trial took place yesterday.

Mitt Romney was the only Republican to convict Trump on the first charge of abuse of power.

Some other Republican senators criticised Trump’s behavior however did not think it rose to the level of being removed from office

A two-thirds majority vote was needed in order to remove Trump from office, which was always an unlikely outcome.

The Democrats expressed concern that clearance of the Presidents charges would embolden Trump’s questionable behaviour.

The President will be making a statement on his victory at noon on Thursday.


Trump’s Impeachment: A Simple Guide

Donald Trump became the third president in US history to be impeached last night.

But what does that actually mean?

It does not mean that the President is removed from office. This is common mistake made by many. It does, however, mean that he could be.

Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were also impeached, however neither were removed from office. There is a possibility, that Trump could be the first ever.

The impeachment takes place after a three month Democratic investigation into whether the President pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, and thus help his chances of getting re-elected in 2020.

Trump, however, completely denies any wrongdoing.

What does impeachment actually mean?

Put simply, ‘to impeach’ means to bring charges against a government official. However, it happens in several stages.

The first stage of impeachment happened last night. The House of Representatives takes a vote on two articles of charges. The next stage heads to the Senate where a trial will be held.

In short, Trump is technically impeached, however the real decision will take place in January, where the Senate decide whether to remove Trump from office altogether. For now, Trump is still President.

What exactly is he accused of?

Trump is accused of two things. First and foremost, he is accused of abusing his presidential power, using it for personal political gain and boosting his chances of re-election in 2020.

It is said that the President did this by pressuring Ukraine to dig up damaging evidence against one of his main Democratic rivals, Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The President is accused of using two things as bargaining chips to Ukraine: withholding $400m military aid that Ukraine had been allowed by congress, and a meeting at the White House for the Ukraine President.

The Democrats state that this wasn’t just an act fuelled by hopes of personal gain, but that it was harmful to national security.

The second charge brought against Trump, is his refusal to co-operate with the initial impeachment inquiry.

Trump’s tweet a few hours after the impeachment yesterday evening

Is there evidence?

This all started in September, when a whistleblower, an anonymous intelligence official, wrote a letter which expressed concern regarding Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A transcript of the call revealed that Trump had indeed urged Zelensky to investigate damaging suspicions against Joe Biden and his son.

This came shortly after Trump’s blockage of the $400m military aid.

The second bit of evidence came in the form of an official letter, stating that Trump would release the money, on the condition that Ukraine investigated the Biden’s.

Does Trump have a defence?

Trump strongly denies any wrongdoing. He claims that the Democrats have been trying to impeach him since he was first elected in 2016, calling the impeachment inquiry a ‘witch hunt’.

According to Trump, it was completely called for and within his right to ask Ukraine to investigate ‘corruption’.

All in all though, the Republicans have three defences. That Ukraine’s president felt no pressure, that the Ukrainians were unaware that the aid was held back, and that the military aid was eventually released.

What now?

Whether Trump’s defences are enough to keep him in office is yet to be decided.

Now, a trial will be held in the Senate, after which senators will vote on whether to convict the president of the above charges.

If less than two-thirds of the senate vote to convict, Trump remains in the office. However, if two-thirds of the senate vote to convict, Trump will be removed as the US president.

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Whistleblower’s Complaint Alleges Interference by Trump in Election

Whistleblower’s Complaint Alleges Interference by Trump in Election

In the latest of what has been a series of astonishing developments surrounding the controversy concerning President Donald Trump’s phone call to the President to the Ukraine, the whistleblower complaint has now been released and it alleges White House interference in covering up the call.

What’s the background?

In mid-September, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman subpoenaed the Acting National Intelligence Director to hand over a whistleblower report. It was filed last month and was determined to be of “urgent concern.” The document was not handed over, raising eyebrows all around.

On September 18, The Washington Post reported on the document, saying that it had something to do with an unspecified “promise” Trump had made to a foreign head of state. At this point, it was not clear what the promise was and to whom it was made. President Trump responded accordingly.

Details began to slowly trickle out. The Wall Street Journal reported that the whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump had pressured the Ukrainian President Zelensky “about eight times” to work with his personal attorney Rude Giuliani to look into matters surrounding Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, who had sat on the board of a natural gas company in the Ukraine.

Compounding the situation was the matter of millions of dollars of aid that the U.S. had failed to release to the Ukraine, leading some to suggest this was a true mafia-style shakedown of one world leader by another.

Following the breaking news, Trump went on record to deny that he had ever tried to bribe another country to interfere in a national election while at the same time unintentionally confirmed some aspects of the story—such as a call had taken place to the President of the Ukraine and Biden’s son had been discussed.

By Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that impeachment inquiries would begin, describing the President’s actions as a “betrayal of his oath of office.” On Wednesday, a transcript of the call had been released. And on Thursday, the whistleblower complaint was de-classified and published.

The whistleblower complaint

The whistleblower complaint, which as you may recall from last year—we mean last week—had been withheld even in light of a subpoena. It had also been withheld from Congress. Its release now is the latest in a series of incriminating revelations for the Trump administration.

The complaint alleges that “senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced as is customary by the White House Situation Room.”

“This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired int he call,” reads the complaint, continuing later to say: “…there was already a discussion ongoing with White House lawyers about how to treat the call because of the likelihood, in the officials’ retelling, that they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.”

Acting National Intelligence Director Jospeh Maguire, the same one who last week did not hand over the subpoenaed whistleblower report, called the complaint “unique and unprecedented” in an appearance before Congress on Thursday. He also said the whistleblower “acted in good faith.”

What happens now?

What happens next is truly anyone’s guess. To borrow from Maguire, the situation is “unprecedented.”

There are strikingly few cases of impeachment proceedings being launched in American history—just three, in fact: Andrew Johnson in 1868, Richard Nixon in 1973 and Bill Clinton in 1998. None of these events resulted in removal from office due to the impeachment. Nixon resigned before a vote could take place, and Johnson and Clinton were acquitted from all charges following a Senate trial and allowed to remain in office

The impeachment proceedings will be a long and drawn out event, likely contributing to further polarization in what was shaping up to be an extremely polarizing year anyway.

To begin with, a House committee, usually the Judiciary Committee or its subcommittee, will conduct an investigation to see if a federal official’s conduct warrants impeachment. According to the Constitution, impeachable offenses include, “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” How exactly to interpret that has been a source of vigorous debate throughout American history.

After the inquiries, the House Judiciary Committee will write up the articles of impeachment and then vote on whether to refer them to the House of Representatives. If approved, the articles will advance to the House floor where a simple majority of voting lawmakers if required to approve them.

Following a vote in the House, a trial in the Senate will take place where senators become jurors and the chief justice of the US Supreme Court presides. A supermajority, that is two-thirds of the vote, is required to remove a President from office. Control of the Senate is currently in the hands of the Republican Party, 53-45, so a vote removing Trump from office looks unlikely at this stage.

However, impeachment proceedings will be long, and there’s no telling what may happen by the end of them. Nixon’s impeachment proceedings lasted 184 days; for Clinton it was 127 days.

And just a reminder…

In the background, the 2020 election carries on. Nineteen democrats are still running for President, clamoring for attention and support as media coverage becomes increasingly crowded with more and more pressing issues. The first primary is on February 3, just 130 days from now.

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