This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The Republican-dominated U.S. Senate appears set to acquit President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in a vote expected to follow party lines.
The February 5 vote in Washington follows a highly partisan State of the Union address by the president a day earlier, which further exposed the deep political divisions on Capitol Hill.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump in December for his alleged corruption in only the third such hearing against a president in the country’s history.
That vote set the stage for a Senate trial, where the two sides have clashed almost non-stop over the investigation and whether to allow new witnesses and evidence to be entered into the proceedings, a move the Republicans eventually defeated.
A two-thirds majority, or 67 of the Senate’s 100 seats, is needed to remove Trump from office. Republican members hold 53 of those seats, and none have come forward publicly to say they would support his ouster, unlike in 1974, when many Republicans abandoned President Richard Nixon during an impeachment probe, prompting him to resign before the procedure went any further.
Democrat President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House in 1999 for lying under oath and obstruction of justice over a sexual relationship with an intern at the White House, but he was acquitted by the Senate, which was controlled by his party.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the affair, which focused on whether the country’s 45th president withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine to force the eastern European country to announce an investigation into his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, one of the frontrunners in the nomination race to face Trump in an election in November. Democrats also accused him of withholding a desired White House visit by Ukraine’s newly elected leader, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, until the Ukraine government made a public announcement of a probe.
Trump has called the impeachment process a “sham” and an “attempted coup.”