PHOENIX — President Donald Trump was was acquitted Wednesday of both impeachment charges filed against him, with Arizona's two U.S. senators on opposite sides of the verdict.
Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema voted to convict the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Her decision was up in the air until 30 minutes before the Senate vote.
Republican Sen. Martha McSally, up for election in November, voted to acquit the president. Over the last five months, both in public and in private, McSally had disparaged the impeachment inquiry.
The Senate vote on the first article, abuse of power, was 52-48 to acquit. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney joined all 47 Democrats who found the president guilty.
The Senate vote on the second article, obstruction of Congress, followed party lines, 53-47, to acquit.
A two-thirds vote of the Senate was needed to convict the president.
Sinema issued a statement explaining her vote:
"Today, I vote to approve both articles, as my highest duty, and my greatest love, is to our nation's Constitution.
"Americans deserve a government they can trust operates in our best interest. As elected officials, we swear an oath to the Constitution to put the interests of our country and our national security above personal interests. Public service is an honor and a privilege—and it is our duty to earn this privilege every day through our behavior as stewards of this great nation.
"The facts are clear; security aid was withheld from Ukraine in an attempt to benefit the president's political campaign. 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. 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.
"Our nation's first president, George Washington, warned us how dangerous foreign interference is in his farewell address: 'Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence ... the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.'
"Our founders created a system of checks and balances between the branches of government to prevent overreach and protect the liberties of American citizens. The administration's wholesale refusal to participate in required negotiations with Congress when asked to provide witnesses and documents sets a dangerous precedent, upending the balance of power. 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.
"Today's outcome is not a surprise, and neither is the brokenness of Washington. The partisanship and ugliness we witnessed throughout this process in both parties is not a testament to who we are as Americans. The greatest threat we face, from forces both foreign and domestic, is the attempt to divide us as a people with vitriol and hatred. It is our duty as Americans to reject these attempts and remember who we are—a diverse people united in our love of country, of freedom, and of liberty."
Over the last five months, Sinema has kept her opinions about the impeachment to herself, citing her role as a juror in the impeachment trial.
Sinema has carved out a reputation as an independent in the Senate since her election in 2018, the first Arizona Democrat sent to the Senate in 30 years.
McSally issued this statement:
“Today, I voted against convicting President Trump of the two articles of impeachment. I opposed removing the president from office and the 2020 ballot as this outcome would have been deeply disruptive to the functioning of our government, further divided our nation, and would prevent the American people from deciding who their president should be at the ballot box. The American people collectively are better fit to judge Donald Trump's presidency as a whole than the partisan politicians in Washington who brought forth this impeachment.
“Our Founding Fathers were clear that impeachment and conviction of a president is an extreme action of last resort, to be used for only the gravest offenses. By requiring a two-thirds vote in the Senate, the framers warned against impeachment as a political weapon by an oppositional party. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi used to agree.
“This presidential impeachment is historic for dangerous reasons. It is the first partisan House impeachment with bipartisan opposition. It is the first to deny procedural fairness protections to the president during the House inquiry. It was done in a mere 48 days with no serious attempt to fully resolve all separation of powers issues. This is a reckless precedent in its entirety, especially the House's attempt to force the Senate to do the work it should have completed before articles were ever sent over. This rushed, incomplete, and unfair process should never be repeated by either party in the future.
“The President is not perfect, and the way he evidently attempted to address his legitimate concerns about corruption involving the Bidens was inappropriate. Even if all the House Democrats allege is accurate, even if John Bolton supports their allegations in his book, even if other negative information comes out in the future, this does not rise to anywhere near the level of throwing the president out of office or off the ballot for the first time in American history. Beyond that, House Democrats failure to exhaust all available avenues to obtain witnesses and records, by definition, invalidated their frivolous charge of obstruction of Congress. This entire matter, ultimately, should have been handled via the normal oversight processes available to Congress with subpoena disputes resolved in the courts. You can't argue, as Nancy Pelosi did, that the president is an urgent danger to national security and then wait for over a month before sending an incomplete work product to the Senate. Her actions were transparently political and not at all in line with the grave nature of our impeachment process.
“After 13 witnesses, over 28,000 pages of evidence, and nine days of presentations, the Senate did its constitutional duty to try this impeachment. The Democrats simply failed to convince the Senate—or the American people—that the president should be removed from office. It is only fair that the American people decide who their president should be. It’s time for the Senate to resume its focus on issues that matter to real people, like the cost of prescription drugs, access to affordable health care, and taking care of our veterans.”
President Trump's campaign manager issued this statement after the acquittal:
"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 terrible ordeal was always a campaign tactic to invalidate the 2016 votes of 63 million Americans and was a transparent effort to interfere with the 2020 election only nine months away. And since the President's campaign only got bigger and stronger as a result of this nonsense, this impeachment hoax will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history."