Donald Trump Impeachment: What Does Acquitted Mean?

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, after a contentious trial in the Senate, President Donald Trump was [...]

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, after a contentious trial in the Senate, President Donald Trump was acquitted from two articles of impeachment. But, what exactly does acquitted mean? And what does it mean for the president following this trial?

Merriam-Webster defines acquitted as being "discharged completely (as from an accusation or obligation)." More specifically, in the case of Trump, his acquittal means that he will not be removed from office about a month after the House of Representatives initially voted to impeach him.

As for the duration of the trial, that's it. The final vote on Wednesday brings an end to the impeachment process, but will forever show on record that Trump was impeached — a fact that will not change with today's vote. The record will always show he was acquitted of the charges laid against him. While many will wonder if an acquittal means Trump is innocent, it all depends on who you ask as all it really means is that he won't be removed from office and will be able to run for re-election come November.

Technically, Trump can be impeached again as there is nothing stopping the U.S. House of Representatives, currently controlled by the Democrats, who can file new articles of impeachment and begin the process all over again. Though, the likelihood of that is slim to none.

In regards to Article I, which concerned abuse of power, the Senate voted to acquit in a vote of 52 to 48. He was also acquitted on Article II, which accused Trump of obstruction of Congress, in a vote of 53 to 47. Both of these votes largely fell on party lines, with outliers like Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah speaking out in favor of impeachment.

Romney announced his intention to vote to convict Trump shortly before the vote commenced.

"The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a 'high crime and misdemeanor.' Yes, he did," Romney said, per CBS News.

"I acknowledge that my verdict will not remove the President from office. The results of this Senate Court will in fact be appealed to a higher court: the judgement of the American people. Voters will make the final decision, just as the President's lawyers have implored," the Senator continued. "My vote will likely be in the minority in the Senate. But irrespective of these things, with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability, believing that my country expected it of me. I will only be one name among many, no more or less, to future generations of Americans who look at the record of this trial. They will note merely that I was among the senators who determined that what the President did was wrong, grievously wrong."

Following his acquittal, Trump took to Twitter to share a video in response to the news. The president posted a clip that featured his October 2018 TIME magazine cover which contained a story on "How Trumpism Outlasts Trump." The video featured a mock-up of the Trump campaign in the decades to come, an obvious response to his impeachment acquittal.

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