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The acquittal

Noah Weiland

The acquittal

A few...

A few minutes after 4 p.m., Chief Justice John Roberts called the impeachment trial into session for the last time. Approximately a half-hour later, Mr. Trump had been fully acquitted on the two charges. In between, each senator stood twice to register votes on both articles of impeachment.

My colleagues Emily Cochrane and Catie Edmondson were in the room, seated with dozens of other reporters directly above the chief justice looking out at the senators. I asked them to narrate what they saw, with some help from the chief justice’s script during the proceedings.

“The Senate will convene as a court of impeachment.”

CATIE: The press and public galleries were completely full, as full as they’ve been during the trial. Members of the House of Representatives came over from the other side of the Capitol to see the proceedings to sit in the back of the chamber. There were so many lawmakers and Republican staff that they had to sit in an overflow area on the Democratic side.

EMILY: The clerk methodically read the two articles of impeachment into the record before the votes took place. Then Chief Justice Roberts read out his instructions.

“Each senator when his or her name is called will stand in his or her place and vote guilty or not guilty … Senators, how say you? Is the respondent, Donald John Trump, guilty or not guilty?

CATIE: Normally when senators vote, they make a hand motion or say “yea” or “nay.” The combination of having senators stand at their desks and utter the words “guilty” or “not guilty” reminded you that you were in a room with the 100 people vested with the task of determining whether the president should be removed from office. That brought home the gravity for me.

“On this article of impeachment, 48 senators have pronounced Donald John Trump, president of the United States, guilty as charged. Fifty-two of the senators have pronounced him not guilty as charged. Two-thirds of the senators present not having pronounced him guilty, the Senate adjudges that the respondent, Donald John Trump, president of the United States, is not guilty as charged.”

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