Lawmakers react to Trump acquittal on impeachment charges

Lawmakers react to Trump acquittal on impeachment charges
The Senate voted Wednesday to acquit President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said the cloud over the presidency has been removed after the U.S. Senate acquitted President Donald Trump Wednesday afternoon on two charges.

“This partisan-driven impeachment has done injury to the office of the presidency and was an injustice to President Trump," Graham said in a statement Wednesday. "As I said after the Clinton impeachment trial, the Senate has spoken and the cloud over the presidency has been removed. I meant it then and mean it now. Unfortunately, I doubt my Democratic colleagues, who are being driven by unlimited hatred of President Trump, have the ability to move on. The President was acquitted today by the Senate and will be exonerated by the American people in November when he is reelected to a second term.”

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick released this statement minutes after the votes:

From day one this has been a sham impeachment effort driven by the Democrats desire to overturn the results of the 2016 election and to try to win through impeachment what they couldn’t win at the ballot box. They failed, and now it is time to move forward and continue to fight for an agenda that prioritizes strong economic growth, conservative principles, and putting America First.

In 2016, President Trump ran on a strong agenda, this time he is running on a strong record. We can’t wait for November 2020.

The Senate voted to acquit Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, ending only the third presidential trial in American history with votes that split the country and tested civic norms.

Prior to the vote, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott spoke on the Senate floor.

“Some very skilled speakers on both sides have presented their case both for and against impeachment,” he said. “I listened intently hour after hour, day after day, to the House Managers and the President’s lawyers. And the word that kept coming to me, that I kept writing down in my notes, was fairness. Because you see, here in America, you are innocent until proven guilty.”

Scott said he and many of his colleagues were accused of not wanting a fair trial.

“The exact opposite is true: We have ensured a fair trial in the Senate, after House Democrats abused historical precedents in their zeal to impeach a President they simply do not like,” he said.

The proceedings also are feeding the tumultuous 2020 run for the White House. A majority of senators expressed unease with Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine that resulted in the two articles of impeachment. But there was nowhere near the two-thirds vote necessary in the Republican-held Senate to remove the president from office. He was found not guilty of both articles of impeachment.

Trump is eager to use the tally as vindication, a political anthem in his reelection bid.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.