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First impeachment trial of Donald Trump
Chief Justice John Roberts presides over the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.jpg
Chief Justice John Roberts presides over the impeachment trial of Donald Trump
Accused Donald Trump
Proponents
Date January 16, 2020 – February 5, 2020
Outcome Found not guilty by the Senate, remained in office
Charges
  • Abuse of power
  • Obstruction of Congress
Cause Allegations that Trump sought help from Ukrainian authorities to favor him in the 2020 U.S. presidential election

The first impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the United States Senate began on January 16, 2020, and ended on February 5, 2020.

It took place following President Trump's impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives on December 18, 2019, after a two-month inquiry stage which lasted from September to November 2019. The House passed two articles of impeachment which charged him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. If Trump had been found guilty, he would have been removed from the presidency. On February 5, the Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump (decide that he was not guilty), for both charges.

January 2020

Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate after the House approved it. Senator Lindsey Graham proposed that he and Senator Mitch McConnell "change the rules of the Senate so we could start the trial without [Pelosi], if necessary".

On January 9, 2020, Pelosi said she would deliver the articles soon, but continued to cite a need for Republican transparency in the Senate; the same day, McConnell informed members of his caucus that he expected the trial to begin next week, and Senator Josh Hawley announced that McConnell had signed on as a co-sponsor to his resolution to dismiss articles of impeachment not sent to the Senate within 25 days.

On January 10, Pelosi announced that she had "asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate".

At the end of the January 21 session, the Senate voted along party lines to pass Mitch McConnell's proposed trial rules and reject 11 amendments proposed by Democrats. The prosecution's opening arguments and presentation of evidence took place between January 22–24. Trump's defense presentation began on January 25. The primary arguments were a lack of direct evidence of wrongdoing, and that Democrats were attempting to use the impeachment to steal the 2020 election. Under the U.S. Constitution, a two-thirds majority of the Senate is required to convict the president.

Officers of the trial

The presiding judge

The only mention of the chief justice in the entire constitution is that he is the presiding officer in the impeachment trial of the president. Under senate rules adopted in 1998, he also exercises this function in the trial of a vice president.

Chief Justice Date confirmed
(Vote)
Tenure Tenure length Appointed by Prior position
CJ Roberts.tif John Roberts
(born 1955)
September 29, 2005
(78–22)
September 29, 2005

Incumbent
15 years, 360 days George W. Bush Judge of the
United States Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia Circuit

(2003–2005)

House managers

Impeachment Managers in the Trial of Donald Trump
Hakeem Jeffries
(D-N.Y.)
Sylvia Garcia
(D-Tx)
Val Demings
(D-Fl)
Zoe Lofgren
(D-Ca)
Jason Crow
(D-Co)
Jerrold Nadler
(D-N.Y)
Adam Schiff
(D-Ca)
Hakeem Jeffries official portrait.jpg
Sylvia Garcia, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Val Demings, Official Portrait, 115th Congress.jpg
Zoe Lofgren headshot.jpg
Jason Crow, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Jerry Nadler 116th Congress official portrait (cropped).jpg
Adam Schiff official portrait.jpg

Attorneys for the defense

The White House has formally announced its Senate trial counsel as being led by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, alongside Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz, Pam Bondi, Jane Raskin, Eric Herschmann, and Robert Ray. Additionally, Michael Purpura and Patrick Philbin will participate in the trial.

On January 20, the White House named eight House Republicans to serve on Trump's defense team: Doug Collins, Mike Johnson, Jim Jordan, Debbie Lesko, Mark Meadows, John Ratcliffe, Elise Stefanik, and Lee Zeldin.

Trial Counsel
White House Counsel
Pat Cipollone
Jay Sekulow Ken Starr Alan Dershowitz Pam Bondi
Pat Cipollone (January 21, 2020).jpg
Jay Sekulow Speaking at CPAC 2012 (6854519337) (cropped).jpg
Kenneth W. Starr.jpg
Alan dershowitz 2009 retouched cropped.jpg
Bondi bio photo crop.jpg
Jane Raskin Eric Herschmann Robert Ray Patrick F. Philbin Mike Purpura
Gray - replace this image female.svg
Gray - replace this image male.svg
Gray - replace this image male.svg
Patrick F. Philbin (January 21, 2020).jpg
Gray - replace this image male.svg
Congressional Defense Team
Doug Collins
(R-GA)
Mike Johnson
(R-LA)
Jim Jordan
(R-OH)
Debbie Lesko
(R-AZ)
Doug Collins, Official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Mike Johnson, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Jim Jordan official photo, 114th Congress.jpg
Debbie Lesko, official portrait, 115th Congress.jpg
Mark Meadows
(R-NC)
John Ratcliffe
(R-TX)
Elise Stefanik
(R-NY)
Lee Zeldin
(R-NY)
Mark Meadows, Official Portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Congressman John Lee Ratcliffe.jpg
Elise Stefanik, 115th official photo.jpg
Lee Zeldin new official portrait.jpg

Witness hearings

There were many witnesses who wished to testify before the Senate. The Senate voted on whether or not to allow witnesses to testify. Fifty-one votes were required to allow witnesses. There were 47 Democrats* and 53 Republicans in the Senate. All the Democrats* voted to allow witnesses to testify. Of the Republicans, Mitt Romney from Utah and Susan Collins of Maine voted to allow witnesses. This did not meet the required number of votes, and so no witnesses were allowed to testify.

Senate verdict

On February 5, 2020 the Senate acquitted Trump on both charges. The votes were 52-48 to acquit on the first count and 53-47 to acquit on the second count. All Democrats, both independents, and only one Republican, Mitt Romney, voted to convict. The remaining Republicans all voted to acquit.

Voting results
Article I
(Abuse of power)
Article II
(Obstruction of Congress)
Guilty Not guilty Guilty Not guilty
Democratic 45 00 Democratic 45 00
Republican 01 52 Republican 00 53
Independent 02 00 Independent 02 00
Totals 48 52 Totals 47 53
Not guilty Not guilty

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