US impeachment: Trump cleared of both charges

Donald Trump has been acquitted by the Senate of obstructing Congress and abusing the power of his office as president.

The vote brings to an end only the third presidential impeachment trial in US history and comes as the president is in the early days of his re-election campaign.

The Senate voted 52-48 to acquit Trump of abusing his powers and 53-47 of obstructing Congress, meaning the 73-year-old can remain in office.

The abuse of power charge stemmed from his request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden, one of the front runners for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

The obstruction charge regards an accusation that Trump blocked witnesses and documents sought by the House of Representatives.

Had Trump been convicted of either charge, his vice president Mike Pence would have been elevated to the presidency.

The result was little surprise in the Republican-controlled Senate but Republican Mitt Romney voted against the president on the abuse of powers charge.

Democrats described the trial – which contained no new evidence or witnesses – a sham but Republican senator Lindsey Graham told his opponents they had “unleashed the partisan forces of hell”.

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