DDonald Trump has every reason to cheer: The impeachment proceedings against the American president ended with an acquittal on all charges. On Thursday (6:00 p.m. CET) Trump wants to make a public statement. After the judgment of the Senate on Wednesday, he already spoke on Twitter of a “victory” for the country over the “impeachment joke”. After months of investigations and an almost three-week trial in the Senate, the impeachment process has ended. However, it is far from foreseeable that the political camps will now overcome their hostilities. From the Democrats’ point of view, the acquittal is worthless.
The White House sees Trump fully relieved by the acquittal. The House of Representatives charged him with the majority of Democrats seven weeks ago for abuse of power and interference with the Congressional investigation. The background is the Ukraine affair: Trump is said to have pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj into investigations against his democratic rival Joe Biden in order to influence the 2020 US presidential election in his favor.
The Democrats see it as proven that Trump has made the release of military aid to Kiev and a meeting with Selenskyj in the White House dependent on the announcement of such an investigation. When that came out, Trump had done everything possible to block the House investigation. Trump has always rejected the allegations. “As we have said all along, he is not guilty,” said Trump spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.
From the Democrats’ point of view, the acquittal is equivalent to a free ticket. Republican senators normalized “lawlessness” and undermining constitutional order with their votes, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi said. Trump is still a “threat to America’s democracy” and the independence of the elections. The acquittal was of no value because the Senate had not allowed additional witnesses and evidence as required for a fair trial, Pelosi said.
Trump repeatedly condemns the trial against him as a “witch hunt”. He regularly accuses the Democrats of wanting to undo the 2016 election result and to consider impeachment as the only means of doing so. In the end, however, the results of their months-long investigations also convinced a Republican.
The impeachment process has deeply divided the American population. For Trump, the acquittal is the best possible result of the impeachment process – even if it also represents a flaw in his term. After Andrew Johnson (1868) and Bill Clinton, the Republican is only the third president in US history to face impeachment in the Senate. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before impeachment proceedings could begin.
In 1999 there was an acquittal for the then American President Bill Clinton. Following the Senate ruling, the Democrat apologized for his behavior in the Lewinsky affair and called on the Americans to start over and work together. There is currently no evidence that Trump will send a similar message.