The Senate voted Wednesday to acquit President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, ending a historic Senate trial that was centered on his conduct toward Ukraine but that did not include live witnesses or new documents.

One Republican — Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah — crossed party lines to join Democrats in voting to convict Trump on the first charge, abuse of power.

Trump stonewalled the House impeachment probe, blocking witnesses and denying documents. He stands as the third president to be impeached.

The acquittal follows a State of the Union address Tuesday night in which Trump pointed to the strong economy as vindication as he sought to move on from impeachment. The speech ended with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tearing up a copy of Trump’s prepared remarks.

The crux of the case against Trump is the allegation that he withheld military aid and a White House meeting to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son. Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, while his father was vice president.

●Trump paints strong economy as vindication as he tries to move past impeachment.

●Democrats use State of the Union rebuttal to pivot from impeachment.

●A look at the reality-show reveals in Trump’s speech.

●These Republicans said they hope Trump has learned a lesson from impeachment, but he said he hasn’t.

February 5, 2020 at 8:30 PM EST

GOP senators announced request for Hunter Biden travel records

Shortly after the Senate voted to acquit Trump, GOP Sens. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) announced they would be probing Hunter Biden — just as Trump had wanted Ukraine to do.

In a letter to the head of the Secret Service, the senators write that they are “reviewing potential conflict of interest posed by the business activities of Hunter Biden and his associates during the Obama administration, particularly with respect to his business activities in Ukraine and China.”

They are seeking from the Secret Service any times that Hunter Biden traveled with protective security detail when his father was vice president and whether he flew on government planes.

By Colby Itkowitz
February 5, 2020 at 8:15 PM EST

Biden says Trump shouldn’t view acquittal as a victory

Former vice president Joe Biden was asked as his first question at a CNN town hall to respond to the Senate’s acquittal vote and Trump’s assertion that it’s a victory.

Biden, who found himself unwittingly at the center of the impeachment inquiry, didn’t opine much, but said, “I can’t imagine being the president of the United States and having a whole party and someone from your own party say you should be thrown out of office and call that a victory.”

By Colby Itkowitz
February 5, 2020 at 7:00 PM EST

Trump tweets video montage attacking Romney

It didn’t take long for Trump to go after Romney for his vote to remove the president from office.

He tweeted a video montage of Romney, calling him a “Democratic secret asset.” The footage includes Romney accepting Trump’s endorsement in 2012 and news coverage of his loss to President Barack Obama and ends with Trump’s win in 2016.

Romney knew that his vote would make him a target of Trump’s wrath.

“I am sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters,” Romney said in his floor speech announcing his vote. “Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”

By Colby Itkowitz
February 5, 2020 at 6:45 PM EST

Democrats claim some Republicans privately thought Trump was guilty

Several Democrats claimed after the Senate voted to acquit Trump that some Republicans who publicly defended Trump had privately acknowledged he was wrong.

A popular Democratic refrain after the Senate acquitted Trump was that Republicans knew Trump was guilty and let him off anyway.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) accused his Republican colleagues of voting out of fear, not principle. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the GOP knows Trump was wrong, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said some Republicans agreed with Romney in their hearts.

“In private, many of my colleagues agree that the president is reckless and unfit,” Brown wrote in an New York Times op-ed that published after the vote. “They admit his lies. And they acknowledge what he did was wrong. They know this president has done things Richard Nixon never did.”

Schumer, speaking to reporters, said, “There’s a whole lot of Republicans, I believe, who knew we were right, but said I don’t want the bother of being attacked relentlessly by the president and hard right.”

Sanders, speaking about Romney’s vote with Democrats, told reporters, “Senator Romney showed today a lot of courage in his vote, and to be honest with you, I suspect there are a lot of — or at least a number of Republicans who, in their hearts, agreed with Senator Romney.”

By Colby Itkowitz
February 5, 2020 at 6:30 PM EST

Schiff calls Romney’s speech and vote an ‘inspiration’

House Intelligence Committee Chairman and lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) called Romney an “inspiration” Wednesday for breaking with his party to vote to convict Trump on the charge of abuse of power, saying his speech explaining that vote will “change history.”

“I mentioned on the floor that even a single vote can change history, and I think his vote just did,” Schiff said in a brief interview Wednesday. “For a lot of us, when we face difficult votes in the future, we’ll think back to the courage that he displayed, how he put country over party.”

“The fact that this came from the former Republican nominee for president was really powerful,” Schiff said, concluding that Romney’s “vote alone vindicated the faith the Founders put that we were up to the task of self-governance.”

Schiff argued the majority of the House’s case against Trump during the Senate trial, frequently urging Republican senators to shake off political pressures as he appealed to them to convict Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Romney voted to acquit Trump on the obstruction of Congress charge.

But moderate Democrats all voted to convict Trump on both counts, and Schiff congratulated them for “courage” in taking that vote, too.

“There are a number or Democratic senators that showed very similar courage, and that shouldn’t be overlooked, either,” Schiff said. “There were some real profiles in courage here, which give me a lot of optimism. So I leave this optimistic about the future.”

Schiff would not, however, say if the future includes a subpoena for former national security adviser John Bolton. “We’ve made no decisions about Bolton or other things,” he insisted.

By Karoun Demirjian
February 5, 2020 at 6:00 PM EST

Trump to address nation about impeachment on Thursday

Trump announced that he will address the nation from the White House on Thursday afternoon, one day after his acquittal.

“I will be making a public statement tomorrow at 12:00pm from the @WhiteHouse to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!” he tweeted.

Trump made no mention of impeachment during his State of the Union address Tuesday night and was largely silent on the topic while Wednesday’s Senate proceedings were underway. He instead sent a string of retweets taking aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for ripping up a copy of his State of the Union address.

By Felicia Sonmez
February 5, 2020 at 5:45 PM EST

Pelosi calls McConnell ‘cowardly,’ says GOP ‘normalized lawlessness’

Pelosi gave a scathing assessment of the Senate’s vote to acquit Trump, whom she called a “rogue president.”

The Founders, she said, “never imagined that they would at the same time have a rogue leader in the Senate who would cowardly abandon his duty to uphold the Constitution” — ripping Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

She maintained, as she has stated previously, that the acquittal is illegitimate because the trial did not have “the most basic elements of a fair judicial process.”

Pelosi accused the GOP of “betrayal of the Constitution” and said Trump “remains an ongoing threat to American democracy” because of that.

By Colby Itkowitz
February 5, 2020 at 5:30 PM EST

White House press secretary rails Democrats, Romney after acquittal

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham condemned Democrats as liars and said their “sham impeachment” ended “in the full vindication and exoneration” of Trump.

“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,” she said in a statement after the Senate vote.

Grisham accused Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who led the impeachment proceedings in the House, of lying and suggested he should face retribution.

She said the president was “pleased to put this latest chapter of shameful behavior by the Democrats in the past, and looks forward to continuing his work on behalf of the American people in 2020 and beyond.”

Trump’s first tweet after his acquittal was a moving image of him being president for decades and decades to come.

By Colby Itkowitz
February 5, 2020 at 5:20 PM EST

Inside the Senate chamber for Wednesday’s acquittal vote

At 4 p.m., just as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was finishing his remarks, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) walked onto the floor on the Democratic side of the aisle, went straight to the desk of Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and touched his arm.

The Democrats whispered to one another and Manchin stood up and hugged her. In a brief break before the trial formally began, Manchin’s Democratic colleagues came over to him in the back of the chamber, hugging him, patting him on the back — finally aware that he would join them in a united caucus vote to remove Trump from office.

As the session began, the public galleries were packed — not quite completely full, but the most crowded they have been during the trial. More than a half dozen spouses were on hand, including Jane Sanders and Marcelle Leahy, wives of Vermont’s Sens. Bernie Sanders (I) and Patrick J. Leahy (D), as well as Connie Schultz, the wife of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

The back benches on the chamber floor, reserved for members of the House who wanted to attend the trial, were filled with lawmakers from both parties.

As the deputy sergeant at arms called out “hear ye, hear ye” to start the services, Romney slipped into the chamber, one of the last senators to arrive. He stared straight ahead throughout the roll call, occasionally sipping water. Across the chamber, as the last remaining senator whose vote was unknown to the public, Manchin did the same.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the lead impeachment manager, sat in the first chair of their table, turned at a three-quarters position so that he could swivel his head around the chamber with every senator’s name called out. When each of the two roll calls ended, he pivoted around to stare at the clerks and parliamentarians as they double-checked votes that he was certain to lose, waiting until Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. read out each vote: 48-52, 47-53.

Among the Democrats, Norm Eisen, a senior counsel on the House Judiciary Committee, kept the vote tally sheet for their side, while Trump attorney Jay Sekulow and a legal aide scribbled down the votes of each senator.

After receiving the “golden gavel,” an honor awarded to freshman senators after they have overseen at least 100 hours of Senate debate, Roberts left the chamber, escorted out by four senators. A couple of minutes later, Schiff and his team departed.

By Paul Kane
February 5, 2020 at 5:00 PM EST

McConnell declines to say whether Romney should be expelled from GOP

At a post-acquittal news conference, McConnell was repeatedly asked about Romney’s political future given his vote to convict Trump on an abuse-of-power charge.

A number of influential GOP figures, including Donald Trump Jr., have pressed Senate Republicans to remove Romney from their party’s ranks in the chamber.

But McConnell was notably restrained in his criticism of his Utah colleague and declined to say whether he thinks Romney should be expelled.

“I was surprised and disappointed, but we have much work to do for the American people, and I think Senator Romney has been largely supportive of most everything we’ve tried to accomplish,” McConnell said.

He was far more scathing in his assessment of Democrats, casting their move to impeach the president as a grave misstep.

“Right now, this is a political loser for them,” McConnell said. “They initiated it. They thought this was a great idea. And at least for the short term, it has been a colossal political mistake.”

By Felicia Sonmez
February 5, 2020 at 4:45 PM EST

Roberts receives ‘golden gavel,’ adjourns trial with wishes of happier times

McConnell presented Roberts with a golden gavel “to commemorate his time presiding over this body.”

The gavel, McConnell said, is usually given to senators who have presided over the Senate for 100 hours — but Roberts, he said, “put in his due and then some.”

Roberts spoke briefly at the conclusion of the trial, offering senators his “sincere good wishes as we carry out our common commitment to the Constitution.”

He closed by thanking them for being “generous hosts” and added, “I look forward to seeing you again under happier circumstances.”

By Colby Itkowitz
February 5, 2020 at 4:40 PM EST

Trump campaign says impeachment was ‘worst miscalculation in American political history’

Brad Parscale, Trump’s presidential campaign manager, celebrated Wednesday’s vote, declaring in a statement that the president’s campaign “only got bigger and stronger as a result of this nonsense.”

The impeachment, he added, “will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history.”

“President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people,” Parscale said. “The do-nothing Democrats know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him.”

Shortly after Wednesday’s vote, Trump himself took a victory lap as well, tweeting an animated video created by one of his supporters suggesting that he will remain president for eternity.

By Felicia Sonmez
February 5, 2020 at 4:30 PM EST

Senate votes to acquit Trump on second impeachment charge, obstruction of Congress

The Senate voted 53 to 47 to acquit Trump on the second impeachment charge, obstruction of Congress. Unlike on the first charge, Romney joined members of his party in voting to acquit Trump on the second charge.

Several Trump administration officials, including Vice President Pence and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, had predicted earlier Wednesday that Trump would be acquitted on a bipartisan vote.

But that prediction did not come true: Republicans did not succeed in persuading any Democrats to cross the aisle in voting for acquittal on either charge.

By Felicia Sonmez
February 5, 2020 at 4:20 PM EST

Senate votes to acquit Trump on abuse of power, the first of two impeachment charges

The Senate voted 52 to 48 Wednesday to acquit Trump on the charge of abuse of power.

The near-party-line vote in the Republican-led Senate came on the first article against Trump, the third president to be impeached by the House.

Several Republicans said Trump was wrong to leverage U.S. aid to Ukraine to pressure a foreign leader to investigate his domestic political rival but argued that it did not warrant a guilty verdict and ouster from office.

By Felicia Sonmez
February 5, 2020 at 4:00 PM EST

Manchin says he will vote to convict Trump

Manchin, the last remaining moderate Democrat to announce his position, said Wednesday afternoon that he will vote to convict Trump.

White House aides had seen Manchin as their best hope for a Democratic defection. But his announcement means that all Senate Democrats will be united in voting to convict the president.

In a statement, Manchin described his decision as a reluctant one and argued that the president “is not entitled to act with blatant disregard for an equal branch of government or use the superpower status of the United States to condition our support of democracy and our allies on any political favor.”

“I take no pleasure in these votes, and am saddened this is the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren,” Manchin said. “I have always wanted this president, and every president to succeed, but I deeply love our country and must do what I think is best for the nation.”

By Felicia Sonmez and Josh Dawsey
February 5, 2020 at 3:45 PM EST

Moderate Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema says she will vote to convict Trump

Sinema, one of a few moderate Democrats from redder states considered possible swing votes on acquittal, revealed just before the Senate vote that she will support convicting Trump on both articles of impeachment.

“Future presidents — of both parties — will use this case as a guide to avoid transparency and accountability to the American people. That should be gravely concerning to all of us,” Sinema said in a statement first released to the Arizona Republic.

The one senator whose position now remains uncertain ahead of the 4 p.m. vote is Manchin.

Sinema said she was convinced that Trump sought to withhold military funds to Ukraine to benefit himself politically.

“While White House attorneys claim this behavior is not serious, it is dangerous to the fundamental principles of American democracy to use the power of the federal government for personal or political gain,” she said. “Worse, they failed to assure the American people that this behavior will not continue and that future national security decisions will be made free from personal interests.”

Sinema succeeded one of Trump’s strongest Senate GOP critics, Jeff Flake, who left Congress mostly over his party’s hard-line support for Trump.

By Colby Itkowitz
February 5, 2020 at 3:10 PM EST

Romney’s niece, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, says GOP stands with Trump

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who is the daughter of Romney’s older brother, expressed disagreement with her uncle’s decision to vote to convict the president.

“This is not the first time I have disagreed with Mitt, and I imagine it will not be the last,” McDaniel tweeted. “The bottom line is President Trump did nothing wrong, and the Republican Party is more united than ever behind him. I, along with the @GOP, stand with President Trump.”

McDaniel has been a staunch defender of Trump in her position running the national Republican Party.

On CBS News’s “Face the Nation” Sunday morning, McDaniel dodged a question about backlash to her uncle being one of two Republicans who voted to hear new evidence in the Senate impeachment trial. In particular, she was asked about the Conservative Political Action Conference disinviting Romney to their annual event.

“They’re upset when people aren’t supporting the president and supporting our party,” McDaniel said. “And they think if you’re not supporting him, you’re helping a Democrat get elected. That’s a very common belief among the grass roots of our party.”

The Republican National Committee also sent an email to reporters Wednesday taking aim at Romney, under the subject line, “Mitt Romney turns his back on Utah.”

By Colby Itkowitz
February 5, 2020 at 3:00 PM EST

Trump Jr. says Romney ‘should be expelled’ from Republican Party

Romney’s speech on the Senate floor drew a furious reaction from some Republicans, including Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., who accused the senator of being “forever bitter” that he will never be president.

“He was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he’s joining them now,” Trump Jr. said in a tweet. “He’s now officially a member of the resistance & should be expelled from the @GOP.”

During an interview with Fox News Channel host Chris Wallace that aired shortly after his Senate floor speech, Romney referred to his 2012 White House defeat, describing it as the worst thing that’s happened to him politically.

“I’ve got broad-enough shoulders to weather personal changes in my career, political or otherwise,” he told Wallace. “But what I don’t have is the capacity to ignore my conscience.”

Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), two of Trump’s most vocal defenders on Capitol Hill, echoed Trump Jr.’s argument. In tweets Wednesday afternoon, Zeldin and Gaetz branded the Utah Republican a “sore loser.”

“Mitt Romney absolutely despises that Donald Trump was elected POTUS & he was not,” Zeldin tweeted. “The sore loser mentality launched this sham impeachment & corruptly rigged & jammed it through the House. It looks like Schiff recruited himself a sore loser buddy on the GOP side to play along.”

By Felicia Sonmez
February 5, 2020 at 2:50 PM EST

Schiff hails Romney decision

Schiff, who during the impeachment trial implored at least one Senate Republican to break ranks and vote to remove Trump, shared his thoughts on Romney being that senator.

“Having proven Trump guilty, I asked if there was just one Republican Senator who would say ‘enough,’” Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, said on Twitter.

“Who would stand up against this dangerously immoral president. Who would display moral courage. Who would do impartial justice as their oath required and convict. And there is,” he said.

By Colby Itkowitz
February 5, 2020 at 2:30 PM EST

Democrats Schatz, Murphy get choked up after Romney speech

One of just four senators on hand for Romney’s speech, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), walked off the Senate floor in tears Wednesday afternoon. He remained speechless for several seconds, fighting back tears.

Schatz said he didn’t know what Romney was going to say, but he saw the speech slated for 2 p.m. and cleared his own schedule.

“He literally restored my faith in the institution,” Schatz said.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), too, responded with emotion to Romney’s speech. After the Utah Republican finished speaking, Murphy remained at his desk for several minutes, composing himself.

“Glad I was in the chamber to hear that,” he said, choking up.

Murphy and Romney have bonded on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, traveling the world together. Murphy was the last senator to speak before Romney, taking his seat on the Democratic side.

“It’s the hardest thing to do in the world — to stand up to your party, your donors, your friends — to do what is right,” Murphy said. “We all wonder if we would do the same thing. … There is still honor in this place.”

Some of Romney’s Republican colleagues, meanwhile, dismissed the significance of his remarks.

“I don’t think it changes really much,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said of Romney’s speech. He added that “it was clear all along” that Democrats wouldn’t get 20 Republicans to vote in favor of convicting Trump.

“He’s made it very clear from the beginning, even on the witness vote, that he was going to go his own way. … This is one of those historical votes where everybody has to do what they think is the right thing,” Thune said.

By Paul Kane, Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim
February 5, 2020 at 2:10 PM EST

Romney to vote to convict Trump on charge of abuse of power, becoming first Republican to break ranks

Romney sealed a place in history Wednesday with his announcement that he will to vote to convict Trump of abuse of power, becoming a rare lone voice in a Republican Party that otherwise has marched in lockstep with the president throughout the impeachment proceedings.

Romney said he will vote against the second article of impeachment, which accused the president of obstruction of Congress. But on the first article, the Utah senator said in a telephone interview that he found the evidence against Trump overwhelming and the arguments by the president’s defense ultimately unconvincing.

Read more here.

By Dan Balz
February 5, 2020 at 1:25 PM EST

Rep. Cheney says Pelosi and Schiff, not Trump, should apologize

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) pushed back Wednesday on a suggestion by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) that Trump should apologize for his conduct toward Ukraine.

During an appearance on Fox News, Cheney said it was Pelosi and Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, who should be apologizing to the country.

Among other things, Cheney cited Pelosi’s shredding of Trump’s prepared remarks following his delivery of his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

“By doing that she disgraced herself, she brought dishonor on the House of Representatives,” Cheney said.

Collins has said that while she found Trump’s actions problematic, she does not believe they merit removal from office. During an interview with CBS on Tuesday, Collins said she thought it would be helpful, however, if Trump apologized, as President Bill Clinton did following his acquittal by the Senate in 1999.

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 12:50 PM EST

Cramer calls House ‘ridiculous’ for bringing impeachment articles against Trump

As Wednesday’s floor speeches by senators continued, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) argued that the Democratic-led House was wrong to have brought articles of impeachment against Trump.

“I will vote against both articles of impeachment brought against President Trump by the very partisan and, quite frankly, ridiculous House of Representatives,” Cramer said.

The articles of impeachment, he added, “should have ended at their beginning.”

“They are an affront, in fact, to this institution and to our Constitution, representing the very same partisan derangement that worried our Founding Fathers so much that they made the threshold for impeachment this high,” he said.

Other senators took to the floor Wednesday as well, including James E. Risch (R-Idaho), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

By Felicia Sonmez
February 5, 2020 at 12:15 PM EST

‘I did what I thought was the right thing to do,’ Sen. Jones says

Leaving the Senate floor after announcing his decision to convict Trump on both impeachment articles, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) said he came to a decision only days prior, after hours of careful review of the facts with his staff.

“It just all came together,” he said. “I did what I thought was the right thing to do.”

Asked about the decision by some Republicans to dismiss the impeachment charges because they emerged from a party-line House vote, Jones said he only shared that concern to a point.

“This whole process has been partisan, but make no mistake: You know, partisanship, like bipartisanship, is a two-way street,” he said. “Yeah, there were some partisan Democrats, but doggone it, the president of the United States and Republicans made this as partisan as anybody, and that is unfortunate.”

Jones, who is seeking a full term this year after winning a 2017 special election in a heavily pro-Trump state, said he was not concerned about the effect his decision would have on his reelection prospects.

“I’m making a decision based on what I think is right or wrong,” he told reporters. “You all are the ones that care more about the politics and the elections, and sometimes even the media should put this in nonpartisan terms.”

By Mike DeBonis
February 5, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST

Sen. Feinstein supportive of Sen. Manchin’s censure proposal

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that she will support a proposal by Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) to censure Trump for his conduct toward Ukraine.

Feinstein told reporters she has been in touch with Manchin and would have written her own resolution to censure Trump, “but he beat me to it.”

Such a resolution would not be considered until after the Senate trial ends with an expected acquittal.

By Robert Costa
February 5, 2020 at 11:40 AM EST

Sen. Sanders previews votes to convict Trump on campaign trial

DERRY, N.H. — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hit the presidential campaign trail in New Hampshire on Wednesday morning with the coming impeachment vote on his mind.

“I’m going to be in Washington in a few hours. I will vote to impeach this president,” said the senator from Vermont at a campaign stop here, emphasizing his intent to vote to convict Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

For Sanders and three of his colleagues, Wednesday’s anticipated vote could mark the end of a turbulent stretch in which they have had to zip back and forth between Washington and the early nominating states.

Sanders, as he often does, accused Trump of being a “pathological liar.” He charged that Trump “probably doesn’t know the difference between the truth and lies.” After taking the stage at an event here, he moved quickly to discussing Trump and the Senate trial.

By Sean Sullivan
February 5, 2020 at 11:20 AM EST

Jones gets immediate blowback from decision to vote to convict Trump

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) received immediate blowback from his announcement that he will vote to convict Trump, including from former attorney general Jeff Sessions, one of the Republicans seeking to dislodge him from office this year.

“@DougJones is a foot soldier for @chuckschumer and the radical left,” Sessions tweeted, referring to Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), “and he has made it clear that he is in the U.S. Senate to represent Washington Democrats, not the people of Alabama.”

Rep. Bradley Byrne (Ala.), another Republican seeking Jones’s seat, was also quick to respond to his announcement, calling it “the final straw.”

“Doug Jones continues to show his true colors and put his liberal D.C. buddies ahead of the people of Alabama,” Byrne said in a statement. “I’ve never been so fired up to take back this Senate seat and give Alabama the Pro-Trump, conservative fighter in the Senate that they deserve!”

Donald Trump Jr. weighed in with a tweet in which he shared a news alert about Jones’s announcement.

“*former senator Doug Jones,” Trump Jr. wrote.

The tweets came shortly before Jones took to the Senate floor to explain his decision. He said he had approached the Senate trial with an open mind and that his decision reflected his oath to do “impartial justice.”

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 10:55 AM EST

Sen. Jones will vote with fellow Democrats to convict Trump

Sen. Doug Jones (Ala.) announced Wednesday that he will vote with fellow Democrats to convict Trump on both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Given that he represents a state that Trump carried handily in 2016 and faces reelection this year, Jones had been viewed as a possible defection.

He said he made his decision “after many sleepless nights.”

“Having done my best to see through the fog of partisanship, I am deeply troubled by the arguments put forth by the President’s lawyers in favor of virtually unchecked presidential power,” Jones said in a lengthy statement. “In this case, the evidence clearly proves the President used the weight of his office and that of the United States government to seek to coerce a foreign government to interfere in our election for his personal political benefit.”

Jones said the charge of obstruction of Congress “gave me even more pause.”

“I have struggled to understand the House’s strategy in their pursuit of documents and witnesses and wished they had done more,” Jones said. “However, after careful consideration of the evidence developed in the hearings, the public disclosures, the legal precedents, and the trial, I believe the President deliberately and unconstitutionally obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the investigation in any way.”

By John Wagner and Mike DeBonis
February 5, 2020 at 10:50 AM EST

Wray says FBI will open investigations only with ‘proper predication’

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) asked FBI Director Christopher A. Wray if the president or the attorney general had asked him to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, former national security adviser John Bolton or others. Democrats have pressed this point in previous hearings, and Wray has repeatedly tried to knock down the suggestion that the FBI is being sent on politically motivated fishing expeditions.

“I have assured the Congress, and I can assure the Congress today that the FBI will only open an investigation based on the facts and the law and proper predication.”

Pressed to be more specific, Wray added: “No one has asked me to open an investigation based on anything other than the facts, the law, and proper predication.”

By Devlin Barrett
February 5, 2020 at 10:40 AM EST

At morning caucus meeting, Pelosi takes aim at Trump for ‘reality TV show’ address

During a caucus meeting Wednesday morning, Pelosi continued to criticize Trump over his State of the Union address, according to Democrats who attended.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said that during the caucus, Pelosi slammed Trump for having “used the House of Representatives as a backdrop for a reality TV show.”

“She was saying that the speech was full of lies, and she was looking for any pages that she couldn’t tear, and she couldn’t find one,” he said.

Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) said Pelosi “focused on the lack of truth in the speech” in her remarks to colleagues. He added that members supported her snap decision to tear up the speech on the rostrum.

“I don’t think it was a planned moment, but her instinct for where the caucus is at is unerring,” Levin said. “It did capture the way people are feeling.”

“She, like all of us here, are genuinely horrified by the pack of lies that he unveiled last night,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “I mean, he says he wants to protect people with preexisting conditions. He’s been spending three years trying to take those protections away … Look, we need to remind people what his record is, and the fact that he just is a pathological liar.”

Some Democrats took to Twitter Wednesday morning to blast Trump’s remarks as a campaign-style speech disguised as a State of the Union address.

“Hey @parscale, where should the House send the bill for hosting last night’s campaign speech?” Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) said, addressing Trump’s presidential campaign manager, Brad Parscale.

By Mike DeBonis and Felicia Sonmez
February 5, 2020 at 10:15 AM EST

Nadler says House will likely subpoena Bolton

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters Wednesday that House Democrats will likely issue a subpoena to former national security adviser John Bolton in the near future.

Nadler, leaving a Democratic caucus Wednesday morning, said the directive might be for Bolton to appear “possibly with both” his panel and the House Intelligence Committee, which led the investigation into Trump’s impeachment.

Nadler did not say when the subpoena would be issued but said Democrats need to continue investigating Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine and the issues surrounding the 2016 campaign despite the pending Senate acquittal vote planned Wednesday.

“When you have a lawless president you have to bring that to the fore, you have to spotlight that,” Nadler told reporters.

Bolton has issued a statement saying he would be willing to appear before the Senate if subpoenaed but has been silent on whether he would appear before the House.

The Senate last week voted not to hear from witnesses, including Bolton, during the trial.

February 5, 2020 at 9:55 AM EST

Schumer derides Trump as ‘a reality show host and a carnival barker’

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) offered a blistering assessment of Trump’s State of the Union address during remarks Wednesday on the Senate floor.

“It was a sad moment for democracy,” Schumer said. “The president’s speech last night was much more like a Trump rally than a speech a true leader would give. It was demagogic, it was undignified, it was highly partisan and in too many places just untruthful. Instead of a dignified president, we had some combination of a pep rally leader, a reality show host and a carnival barker. It’s not what presidents are.”

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 9:40 AM EST

National security adviser says impeachment process has hindered U.S. foreign policy

Robert C. O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser, predicted Wednesday that some Democrats will vote to acquit the president and said the impeachment process has been a hindrance to U.S. foreign policy.

“With respect to the acquittal today, I’m looking forward to it,” O’Brien said during an appearance at the Meridian International Center. “I think it was a terrible pall that was cast over the United States and our ability to operate … in the foreign policy arena.”

He called the House investigation unfair and an affront to “the rule of law,” which he said the United States seeks to promote abroad.

O’Brien did not directly address whether the Trump administration will continue to seek Ukrainian investigations of Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden once the impeachment process involving that issue is over.

“Look, I’m not aware of any request the president made to investigate the Bidens per se. I think what the president wanted done was he wanted the Ukrainians to investigate corruption in the Ukraine,” O’Brien said.

By Anne Gearan
February 5, 2020 at 9:30 AM EST

Senators resume speeches on impeachment

Senators have resumed giving floor speeches in advance of the expected vote at 4 p.m. to acquit Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) was the first to offer remarks on Wednesday, saying that the House managers had proved their case against Trump and that “he must be removed from office.” Merkley acknowledged that was unlikely to happen, blaming Republicans for not conducting “a full and fair trial” that included witnesses.

Before Wednesday, nearly 50 senators had already come to the floor to offer their perspectives on impeachment.

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 9:20 AM EST

Kellyanne Conway calls Pelosi an ‘incorrigible child,’ suggests censure

Conway on Wednesday called Pelosi an “incorrigible child” and suggested she should be censured for having torn up a copy of Trump’s speech at the State of the Union.

“What is wrong with her?” Conway asked during an appearance on Fox News in which she also noted that Trump is likely to be acquitted today by the Senate.

“Why should she be in any of the headlines? She’s irrelevant,” Conway said of Pelosi.

As Trump spoke, Pelosi “looked like she was reading the Cheesecake Factory menu all night, going through every single page” of his prepared remarks, Conway said.

Conway offered broader criticism of Democrats for “sitting on their hands” during Trump’s remarks Tuesday night.

“I think it shows you how petty and peevish and partisan the Democratic Party has become,” Conway said.

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 8:35 AM EST

Rep. Lofgren doesn’t think Trump has learned from impeachment

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), one of the seven House impeachment managers, pushed back Wednesday against an assertion by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) that Trump has learned from his impeachment.

“Certainly we hope he stops violating the law and cheating in the election,” Lofgren said during an appearance on CNN in which she added, “I don’t see any basis for reaching that conclusion.”

Expanding on a floor speech Tuesday in which Collins announced her plan to vote to acquit Trump, the senator told CBS News: “I believe that the president has learned from this case. … ​The president has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson.”

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 8:20 AM EST

Trump shares assessments of Pelosi’s ‘hissy fit’

As he remained on Twitter on Wednesday morning, Trump retweeted more than two dozen tweets from others, including former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, critical of Pelosi for tearing up a copy of his address at its conclusion.

“No matter how you feel or what you disagree with, remember others are watching,” Haley tweeted. “This was unbecoming of someone at her level in office.”

Another tweet shared by Trump said Pelosi was “a bitter drama queen pitching a little hissy fit.” Others called her “a complete failure,” “an absolute disgrace” and “immature and childish.”

Trump later thanked Jonathan Turley, a law professor who testified during House impeachment proceedings at the invitation of Republicans, for criticizing Democrats in a tweet for “facial expressions and head shaking” during Trump’s speech.

“Thank you Jonathan, and great job!” Trump tweeted at Turley.

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 8:15 AM EST

Pence says tearing up Trump’s speech was ‘a new low’ for Pelosi

Vice President Pence derided Pelosi for tearing up a copy of Trump’s State of the Union address at its conclusion, calling the action “a new low.”

“I’ve been to a lot of State of the Union addresses,” Pence said during an appearance on Fox News. “There’s always a basic decorum and a basic respect. … I really thought it was beneath the dignity of a joint session of Congress, and I think it will be remembered as such.”

Pence also said he expects “a bipartisan” vote on Wednesday against removing Trump from office, calling impeachment “such a disservice to the country.”

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 8:05 AM EST

Trump says his address was ‘a great and triumphant evening’

Trump went on Twitter on Wednesday morning to share his assessment of his State of the Union address.

“It was a great and triumphant evening for our Country,” Trump tweeted. “Thank you for all of the nice remarks and wonderful reviews of my State of the Union Speech. It was my great honor to have done it!”

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 7:30 AM EST

Senate trial to resume at 4 p.m. after more speeches from senators

The Senate trial is scheduled to resume at 4 p.m. on Wednesday with separate votes on whether to find Trump guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The president is widely expected to be acquitted on both counts.

Before the formal resumption of the trial, over which Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is presiding, senators will have more time to deliver remarks on whether Trump should be removed from office.

Since Monday, nearly 50 senators have taken to the floor to use their allotted time of up to 10 minutes to speak on impeachment. Wednesday’s session is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 7:10 AM EST

McCarthy says Pelosi ‘shows the animosity she has’ by tearing up Trump’s speech

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday sharply criticized Pelosi for tearing up a copy of Trump’s prepared remarks following his State of the Union address, suggesting that was evidence of a politically driven impeachment.

“It shows the animosity she has,” McCarthy said during an appearance on Fox News. “Today he’s going to get acquitted for life.”

McCarthy laughed as he was shown the cover of the New York Post proclaiming, “Tore Loser.”

“She is, after the vice president, next in line to become president, and that’s the way she’s acting?” McCarthy said. “That’s not who we are. We’re better than that.”

Explaining her decision to tear up the speech, Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday night told reporters, “It was the courteous thing to do considering the alternative.”

“The manifesto of mistruths presented in page after page of the address tonight should be a call to action for everyone who expects truth from the President and policies worthy of his office and the American people,” she said later in a statement.

Pelosi also went on Twitter to highlight Trump’s refusal to shake her hand as he arrived in the chamber.

“Democrats will never stop extending the hand of friendship to get the job done #ForThePeople,” she tweeted. “We will work to find common ground where we can, but will stand our ground where we cannot.”

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 6:25 AM EST

RNC chairwoman says she is hopeful acquittal will help the country heal

Republic National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said that she is hopeful that Trump’s expected acquittal on Wednesday afternoon will help a divided country heal.

“The president’s obviously going to be acquitted. He should be,” McDaniel said during an appearance on Fox News, adding that she thinks it was “shameful” for Pelosi to have ripped up a copy of Trump’s speech after he finished delivering the State of the Union.

“I think it’s symbolic of the division they’ve brought to our country,” McDaniel said of Democrats. “Hopefully today, and the great speech last night that the president gave, helps our country heal.”

She said she didn’t know how Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), her uncle, would vote on whether to remove Trump from office.

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 6:15 AM EST

Trump has no public appearances planned Wednesday

On the day of his expected Senate acquittal, Trump has no public events on his schedule.

White House aides sent mixed signals about how he might respond to the Senate vote on Wednesday afternoon. Trump made no mention of impeachment during his State of the Union address.

By John Wagner
February 5, 2020 at 6:00 AM EST

These Republicans say they hope Trump has learned a lesson from impeachment, but he says he hasn’t

Let the voters decide. We can speak out against his behavior. And perhaps, just maybe, Trump has learned from this whole impeachment episode.

Senate Republicans who have been uncomfortable with Trump for exerting pressure on Ukraine to launch political probes — but have declined to throw him out of office for it — have come up with a number of what they say are appropriate responses to Trump’s inappropriate conduct, even if they don’t support impeachment.

But their answers to the question of how to chastise Trump for his dealings with Ukraine amount to little more than a slap on the wrist, again illustrating how Republican lawmakers have struggled to grapple with a president who, in their view, has pushed the boundaries of propriety.

They certainly won’t convict him, and they won’t push for censure. So mostly, Republicans who acknowledge that Trump does have some culpability are hoping that their rhetoric criticizing his behavior will be enough.

Read more here.

By Seung Min Kim