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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "McConnell, Mitch"

As Coronavirus Spread, Largest Stimulus in History United a Polarized Senate

WASHINGTON — As Senator Chuck Schumer walked the two miles from his apartment to the Capitol early Sunday morning, getting his steps in since the Senate gym had been shut down to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, he knew he and his fellow Democrats had a momentous decision to make.

After 48 hours of intense bipartisan negotiations over a huge economic stabilization plan to respond to the pandemic, Republicans were insisting on a vote later that day to advance the package. Mr. Schumer, the Democratic leader, suspected Republicans would present Democrats with an unacceptable, take-it-or-leave it proposition and then dare them to stand in the way of a nearly $2 trillion measure everyone knew was desperately needed. As soon as he arrived at the Capitol, the choice was clear: Democrats would have to leave it.

During an 8:45 a.m. conference call with staff, Mr. Schumer, of New York, was startled to learn that Republicans had boosted to $500 billion the size of a bailout fund for distressed businesses, but failed to meet Democrats’ request to devote $150 billion to a “Marshall Plan” for hospitals on the front lines of the virus.

What was worse, the corporate aid came with little accountability over dollars to be doled out unsupervised by the Treasury Department — a red flag to Democrats after the 2008 Wall Street bailout, and one that would be particularly hard to accept given President Trump’s disdain for congressional oversight.

Mr. Schumer told his staff that the proposal was a nonstarter, and he directed them to quickly spread the word that Democrats would oppose the bill as it was, according to several people involved in the discussions who, like more than dozen lawmakers and senior officials interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the roller coaster negotiations that led to the passage of the largest stimulus measure in modern American history.

Then he called his colleagues — including Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a former presidential candidate who is influential on the left — to alert them to what he saw as a Republican ploy to muscle through a corporate giveaway. Within hours, Ms. Warren declared on Twitter that she would oppose the “giant slush fund” and urged other Democrats to join her. On a conference call later that day, Senator Patty Murray of Washington, not known for a temper, said she would be “a damn no” on the bill and urged her colleagues to do the same, which they did unanimously in a vote that sent futures markets plummeting.

It was a shocking and politically perilous decision in the middle of a paralyzing national crisis, a moment when lawmakers are traditionally expected to put aside differences for the good of the country, or face a political backlash.

The move was particularly infuriating for Republicans who had been willing to momentarily abandon their small-government zeal and agree to large additions to safety-net programs, including direct payments to Americans and a substantial increase in jobless aid, in the interest of sealing a quick deal with Democrats. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, would later call it a “stupid vote,” but Democrats said it proved crucial.

“It showed McConnell that he was going to have to deal with us,” Mr. Schumer said.

The moment was a turning point for the rapid and fitful negotiations over the stimulus measure, which came together over a handful of frenzied days on Capitol Hill, as global markets convulsed with worry and lawmakers scrambled to agree before Covid-19 could infect their ranks and cripple Congress.

After days of intrigue, gamesmanship and partisan assaults, the Senate finally came together late Wednesday after nearly coming apart. As midnight was about to toll, lawmakers approved in an extraordinary 96-to-0 vote a $2 trillion package intended to get the nation through the crippling economic and health disruptions being inflicted on the world by the coronavirus.

The House is expected to approve it by voice vote on Friday, avoiding the need to force hundreds of lawmakers to jeopardize their own health and travel from homes around the county as tens of millions of Americans are required to shelter in place.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_170593182_22499ec8-4106-43b0-bed7-92fcf1bc2e96-articleLarge As Coronavirus Spread, Largest Stimulus in History United a Polarized Senate United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Treasury Department Stimulus (Economic) Senate Schumer, Charles E Republican Party Pelosi, Nancy Mnuchin, Steven T McConnell, Mitch Democratic Party Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Credit…John Taggart for The New York Times

The bill came together despite a toxic dynamic between the two parties in the normally courtly Senate, where Mr. McConnell conceded from the start that quickly enacting a mammoth emergency government aid plan could be done only with the assent of Democrats.

In a private lunch the week before, where Republican senators dined in a larger-than-usual room to try to maintain social distance, Mr. McConnell told his colleagues that they would ultimately have to deal with “Cryin’ Chuck,” using Mr. Trump’s derisive nickname for the Democratic leader in an acid comment that caught the attention of some in the room.

“Sometimes the president has a good sense of humor,” Mr. McConnell said in an interview, acknowledging the dig. “It got a couple of laughs.”

But there was a more serious subtext: With Democrats in control of the House and Republicans wielding a thin majority in the Senate, Mr. Schumer would have to be accommodated in any final bill.

Mr. Trump had a hand in the agreement, if only by keeping his distance from the talks. At one point, Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, called the White House to ask the president to weigh in on a dispute they were having about whether airlines should have to reimburse the government for aid.

Work it out yourselves, Mr. Trump told the pair on a conference call.

In the end, Democrats won what they saw as significant improvements in the measure through their resistance, including added funding for health care and unemployment along with more direct money to states. A key addition was tougher oversight on the corporate bailout fund, including an inspector general and congressionally appointed board to monitor it, disclosure requirements for businesses that benefited, and a prohibition on any of the money going to Mr. Trump’s family or his properties — although they could still potentially benefit from other provisions.

“We had to do the right thing,” Mr. Schumer said in an interview. “This bill was not going to be with us a matter of days, but for weeks, months and years. It is riskier to pass a really bad bill than to delay it.”

The giant and complex aid package known as Phase 3 was assembled and passed in remarkably short order given its scope — quick on the heels of two smaller but not insignificant aid packages.

Adding to the tense atmosphere as the measure hung in the balance, senators learned that one of their own — Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky — had tested positive for Covid-19 after going about his Senate business in proximity to his colleagues, even sneaking into the senators-only gym to swim laps in the pool. It was a surprising turn that crystallized the threat both to the nation and to the lawmakers as they remained at work on Capitol Hill.

The roots of the Senate fight dated to about 10 days earlier, when Mr. McConnell had ceded the task of finding consensus on an earlier relief measure to Mr. Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The two spent so much time on the phone hammering out the deal — a bill that would provide hundreds of billions of dollars for provide paid leave, free coronavirus testing and food and health care aid to low-income Americans — that Ms. Pelosi arrived at a late-night news conference celebrating its passage missing a teal and gold earring, as it rolled under her desk during the many calls.

As the House was completing that package on March 13, Mr. McConnell canceled a recess set for the following week to give the Senate time to take it up. He then closed up shop for the weekend and flew home to Louisville with Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh of the Supreme Court, whose confirmation was the subject of a bitter Senate fight two years ago. They attended a ceremony installing a McConnell-backed federal judge, underscoring the leader’s well-known passion for judicial confirmations while giving the majority leader’s detractors a fat target. Democrats and their progressive allies accused him of not recognizing the urgency of the moment and taking a break, even though the House bill was not yet ready for Senate consideration.

Now the majority leader was determined to put his own stamp on the next economic aid plan, which was shaping up as far larger, and wanted to make sure Republicans controlled and got credit for the final product.

Republicans plunged ahead, pulling together their own ideas. On March 19, Mr. McConnell unveiled the Republican approach — a $1 trillion proposal that centered on $1,200 cash payments to working Americans to tide them over, guaranteed loans and large tax cuts for corporate America and a newly created program to provide grants to small businesses that kept their workers on the payroll.

Democrats had their own ideas, calling for a major infusion of cash to beleaguered hospitals and health care workers, more money for states and a major expansion of unemployment benefits — “unemployment on steroids” as Mr. Schumer called it — though they were not opposed to the cash payments. Democrats criticized the corporate aid in the Republican bill, saying they wanted restrictions on using the money for stock buybacks and raising executive pay among other conditions.

Democrats drew a particularly hard line on unemployment insurance, one Senate official said, with Mr. Schumer instructing his side to refuse to negotiate on the tax relief sought by Republicans until they had a deal on the jobless benefits. The idea was to boost the aid to the level of a laid-off worker’s pay, but when that proved logistically difficult, the two sides agreed on a $600 across-the-board supplement.

Lawmakers blew through a 5 p.m. Saturday deadline set by Mr. McConnell for getting their ideas into legislative form for a vote the next day. Still, as a handful of veteran Republican senators joined Mr. McConnell, Mr. Mnuchin and White House staff in Mr. McConnell’s office to assess the state of play, a sense of optimism prevailed. They believed they were on the cusp of a deal and that Democrats were comfortably on board.

“We all felt good, the people who were all working it out,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska and the chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Mr. McConnell issued a statement saying that because of the progress made, he had asked “chairmen to draft final legislative text that reflects their compromise products.”

The announcement alarmed Democrats, who were not yet satisfied with the deal, and Mr. Schumer’s spokesman issued a statement about 10:30 p.m. Saturday cautioning that there was “not yet an agreement, and we still have not seen large parts of the Republican draft.”

When Mr. Schumer saw it on Sunday morning, things went downhill fast. On her way into a meeting in Mr. McConnell’s office, Ms. Pelosi, who had returned from San Francisco in time to join the talks, threw cold water on the prospect for an agreement, saying that as far as she was concerned, the two sides remained apart.

Mr. Mnuchin opened the meeting by asserting that “essentially, it seems to me that we’ve reached a bipartisan agreement,” but Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer balked and began outlining a number of issues that needed work in order to gain their support: expansion of unemployment insurance, additional funding for state and local governments, more aid to hospitals.

When Ms. Pelosi, who is Catholic, quoted Pope Francis and his prayer to “enlighten those responsible for the common good,” Mr. Mnuchin responded, “You quoted the pope, I’ll quote the markets,” she later recounted in televised interviews this week.

Mr. McConnell insisted that they would move ahead with a scheduled procedural vote later in the day. But as she left the room, Ms. Pelosi informed them that she would be introducing her own version shortly.

Republicans seized on Ms. Pelosi’s entry into the talks, claiming that the speaker had forced Democrats to abandon a compromise they had helped write.

“We tried to go forward on a totally bipartisan basis, and then leadership got ahold of it,” Mr. McConnell said in an interview.

Republicans were further outraged when they saw the draft House bill, a $2.5 trillion measure that included an array of progressive policies well beyond the scope of emergency aid, saying Democrats were trying to use the crisis to advance a liberal agenda. They seized on a comment by Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat, who said on a private conference call with Democrats that the pandemic presented “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to our vision” — a comment Mr. McConnell brought up repeatedly.

As uncertainty swirled on Sunday in the Capitol over the fate of the legislation, Mr. Paul announced that he had tested positive for the disease. Senators were alarmed. The virus they were fighting was circulating among them.

Democrats quickly broke up their lunch and continued their discussion by conference call, and two Republican senators who had had contact with Mr. Paul, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, both of Utah, quarantined themselves. It created another incentive for the Senate to bridge its divide as soon as possible to allow members — nearly half of them over 60 — to exit the capital.

And with members of the House falling ill and quarantine orders going into effect around the country, it was becoming clear that lawmakers from that chamber would not be returning to Washington to consider the plan. The emerging compromise would have to be acceptable enough to Democrats and Republicans that it could pass without a recorded vote.

In the Senate, Democrats’ vote to block the measure set off Republican rage, but also intensified round-the-clock negotiations to find an agreement. White House officials scrambled for a deal that would calm the markets.

“Failure could be catastrophic,” Eric Ueland, the legislative affairs director and a former top Senate aide, said as he shuttled offers and counteroffers between Mr. McConnell’s office and Mr. Schumer’s suite a short walk away on the second floor of the Capitol.

Tensions reached a breaking point on the Senate floor on Monday as Republicans assailed Democrats for holding up the aid even as Mr. Schumer and Mr. Mnuchin — now “Chuck and Steven” to one another — narrowed their differences just down the corridor. Democrats voted again to block the measure.

“This is disgraceful,” exclaimed Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, in a lecture blasting the delay after Mr. Schumer objected to allowing her to speak.

After daylong negotiations on Tuesday, the two sides finally announced an agreement after midnight Wednesday and the final product drew praise and support at the White House from Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Trump, who said the administration had been treated fairly by the Democrats.

But there was a final bit of drama as staff put the finishing touches on the 880-page bill. A group of Republican senators including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ben Sasse of Nebraska objected to granting workers the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits, arguing that it would encourage layoffs and discourage workers whose wages would be lower than the aid level from seeking jobs.

“They are very upset that somebody who is making 10, 12 bucks an hour might end up with a paycheck for four months that is more than they received last week — Oh, my God, the universe is collapsing,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont and a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. He also said that the bill was too slanted to big corporations, but that it was worthy of support.

A bid by Mr. Sasse to remove the extra jobless aid was defeated, though widely supported by Republicans. He summed up the sentiment of many in his party when he said of Mr. Sanders: “I appreciate his candor in admitting that this is kind of a big crap sandwich.”

In the end, however, no senator wanted to reject it. Every one of them voted “yes.”

Jim Tankersley and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Congress and White House Strike Deal for $2 Trillion Stimulus Package

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-virus-cong-1-facebookJumbo Congress and White House Strike Deal for $2 Trillion Stimulus Package United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Treasury Department Senate Schumer, Charles E Republican Party Mnuchin, Steven T McConnell, Mitch Democratic Party Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

WASHINGTON — Senators and Trump administration officials reached an agreement early Wednesday on a sweeping, roughly $2 trillion stimulus measure to send direct payments and jobless benefits to individuals as well as money to states and businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation, which is expected to be enacted within days, is the biggest fiscal stimulus package in modern American history, aimed at delivering critical financial support to businesses forced to shut their doors and relief to American families and hospitals.

Struck after midnight, the deal was the product of a marathon set of negotiations among Senate Republicans, Democrats and President Trump’s team that nearly fell apart as Democrats insisted on stronger worker protections and oversight over a new $500 billion fund to bail out distressed businesses.

The deal was completed after a furious final round of haggling between Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, after Democrats twice blocked action on the measure as they insisted on concessions.

Mr. Mnuchin and Eric Ueland, the White House legislative affairs director, were on Capitol Hill late Tuesday and early Wednesday, shuttling between the Republican and Democratic leaders’ offices as they hammered out final details.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, announced the deal on the Senate floor about 1:30 a.m. Eastern.

“At last, we have a deal,” he said, adding, “In effect, this is a wartime level of investment into our nation.”

Lawmakers and aides were still drafting portions of the bill early Wednesday morning. “I’m hopeful that over the next few hours, we’ll finish what’s left and be able to circulate it early in the morning,” Mr. Ueland told reporters on Capitol Hill.

A vote was expected in the afternoon, Mr. McConnell said, after the Senate reconvenes at noon.

The compromise was a package whose sheer size and scope would have been unthinkable only a couple of weeks ago. Its cost amounts to several hundreds of billions of dollars more than the entire United States federal budget for a year, and administration officials said they hoped that its effect on a battered economy would be exponentially greater, as much as $4 trillion.


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“This is not a moment of celebration, but one of necessity,” Mr. Schumer said as he took careful note of the changes his party had secured in the legislation. “To all Americans I say, ‘Help is on the way.’”

The resulting measure is an attempt to sustain the workers and businesses that are losing income as vast sections of the American economy are shutting down under quarantine orders and to help the economy rebound quickly once the pandemic abates.

It includes direct support for companies large and small that have lost all or most of their customers in recent weeks, and direct payments to low- and middle-income families. The package also includes measures meant to encourage companies to keep employees on their payrolls even if their businesses have shuttered temporarily — and it increases aid to workers who are laid off anyway or have had their hours and wages cut back.

“We have either, clear, explicit legislative text reflecting all parties or we know exactly where we’re going to land on legislative text as we continue to finish,” Mr. Ueland said.

The president, after lobbing insults at Democrats late Monday evening for their demands in the final stages of negotiations, called on lawmakers to approve the deal by the end of the day.

“Congress must approve the deal, without all of the nonsense, today,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday. “The longer it takes, the harder it will be to start up our economy. Our workers will be hurt!”

Mr. Mnuchin, preparing to leave Capitol Hill early Wednesday, described the measure to reporters as “a terrific bill.”

“I’ve spoken to the president many times today,” he said, “and he’s very pleased with this legislation and the impact that this is going to have.”

The measure will be the third legislative action taken by Congress this month to address the pandemic. Mr. Trump previously signed both a $8.3 billion in emergency aid and a sweeping package providing paid leave, free testing and additional aid for families affected by the pandemic into law.

The House is in recess, with some of its members sick or in quarantine and concerned about flying back to Washington. Leaders were considering approving the mammoth proposal by unanimous consent, a tactic usually reserved for minor, uncontroversial measures.

“What I’m saying is we want to do it as soon as possible. The best way to do that as soon as possible is to have agreement on the legislation,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, appearing on CNN. “We’re doing U.C. to make the biggest possible difference in the shortest period of time.”

In the final measure, lawmakers agreed to a significant expansion of unemployment benefits that would extend unemployment insurance by 13 weeks and include a four-month enhancement of benefits, officials familiar with the unfinished agreement said. Democrats said that it would allow workers to maintain their full salaries if forced out of work as a result of the pandemic.

In the interim, lawmakers also agreed to provide $1,200 in direct payments that would apply equally to workers with incomes up to $75,000 per year before phasing out and ending altogether for those earning more than $99,000. Families would receive an additional $500 per child.

After complaints from Democrats, a $500 billion fund — $425 billion for the Federal Reserve to leverage for loans in order to help broad groups of distressed companies and $75 billion for industry-specific loans — will now have far stricter oversight, in the form of an inspector general and a 5-person panel appointed by Congress, lawmakers said. Companies that accept money must also agree to halt any stock buybacks for the length of the government assistance, plus an additional year.

Democrats also secured a provision that will block Trump family businesses — or those of other senior government officials — from receiving loan money under the programs, Mr. Schumer said in a letter to Democrats.

Both Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer, on separate calls laying out the deal for their Democratic colleagues, said they had secured $130 billion for hospitals, $55 billion more than originally agreed to, people familiar with the calls said, as well as $150 billion for state and local governments.

“Like all compromises, this bill is far from perfect,” Mr. Schumer said early Wednesday on the Senate floor. “But we believe the legislation has been improved significantly to warrant its quick consideration and passage.”

The agreement also includes $350 billion that would establish lending programs for small businesses, but only for those who keep their payrolls steady through the crisis. Small businesses that pledge to keep their workers would also receive cash-flow assistance structured as federally guaranteed loans. If the employer continued to pay its workers for the duration of the crisis, those loans would be forgiven.

Lawmakers in both chambers have also acknowledged that it is likely other legislative measures will be needed in the coming months to counter the consequences of the pandemic.

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Democrats Near Deal With White House on Stimulus Package

Westlake Legal Group democrats-near-deal-with-white-house-on-stimulus-package Democrats Near Deal With White House on Stimulus Package United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Insurance Treasury Department Stimulus (Economic) Senate Schumer, Charles E Pelosi, Nancy Mnuchin, Steven T McConnell, Mitch Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Westlake Legal Group 24dc-virus-cong2-facebookJumbo Democrats Near Deal With White House on Stimulus Package United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Insurance Treasury Department Stimulus (Economic) Senate Schumer, Charles E Pelosi, Nancy Mnuchin, Steven T McConnell, Mitch Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders and Trump administration officials closed in on a deal on Tuesday on a roughly $2 trillion economic stabilization plan to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, after agreeing to Democratic demands to add oversight requirements for a $500 billion government bailout fund for distressed companies.

Negotiators were hammering out the final details of the plan, which is aimed at delivering critical financial support to businesses forced to shut their doors and relief to American families and hospitals reeling from the rapid spread of the disease and the resulting economic disruption. With lawmakers and White House officials expressing optimism for an agreement, the measure could be enacted within days.

A crucial breakthrough came when Democrats won concessions from the Trump administration to add strict oversight over the $500 billion corporate aid fund, including installing an inspector general and a panel appointed by Congress to monitor it. The vast majority of the fund would go to the Federal Reserve to cover loans.

The measures are similar to those put in place as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the centerpiece of the Wall Street bailout enacted in 2008 to respond to the financial meltdown.

Markets around the world rallied on the news that after several days of often contentious talks that left the fate of the stimulus measure in doubt, it appeared to be coming together. The S&P 500 rose more than 9 percent, its biggest gain since 2008. Stocks in Europe climbed as well, while major markets in Asia posted increases that ranked among their biggest in weeks. Shares of hard-hit industries most likely to receive aid, such as casinos and cruise lines, soared.

At the White House, Larry Kudlow, the top economic adviser, said there had been “great progress” on the measure, which he said was “urgently needed to bolster the economy, provide cash infusions and liquidity and stabilize financial markets to get us through a difficult period.”

“This package will be the single largest Main Street assistance program in the history of the United States,” Mr. Kudlow added, although the vast majority of the money in the measure would go to large corporations.


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The emerging compromise was a package whose sheer size and scope would have been unthinkable only a couple of weeks ago. Its cost amounted to several hundreds of billions of dollars more than the entire United States federal budget for a year, and administration officials said they hoped that its effect on a battered economy would be exponentially greater, as much as an additional $4 trillion.

Democrats had balked at a version of the stimulus measure drafted by Republicans that they were concerned would give Mr. Mnuchin too much latitude in deciding which companies could receive the funds, and allow him to delay revealing the recipients until six months after the loans were disbursed. They said it would have created a secretive government slush fund controlled by the president and his top advisers, rather than a closely monitored program accountable to taxpayers.

“We have been pushing hard that any contract that the federal government makes with a company to give it loans, that we know of that contract in a very short period of time, that we can examine it,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said on the Senate floor, as he said the two sides were closing in on a deal. “We in the Senate, those in the House, the press and the American people will know if these things are on the level.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there was “real optimism that we could get something done in the next few hours” after Democrats won crucial concessions from the Trump administration.

Ms. Pelosi, of California, told Democrats on a private conference call that two remaining issues included a Democratic push to expand food assistance benefits and a disagreement over how much money should be allocated for pensions.

But the parties were whittling down remaining disputes, including how much funding to distribute to hospitals across the country. Both Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer, in a separate call with Senate Democrats, said they had secured $130 billion for hospitals, $55 billion more than originally provided, people familiar with the calls said, as well as $150 billion for state and local governments.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, who spent Monday hurling scathing criticism at Democrats for refusing to agree to allow the package to move forward, opened the Senate floor on Tuesday with a more upbeat message.

“Now at last, I believe, we’re on the five-yard line,” he said, taking swipes at Democrats for dragging out the process. “It’s taken a lot of noise and a lot of rhetoric to get us here.”

Mr. McConnell said he hoped the Senate would “get back on track” and pass a relief package, adding that the “clock has run out” for debating a plan that could help save American jobs and companies on the brink of collapse.

The measure would also provide $1,200 direct payments to taxpayers, substantially increase jobless benefits and send money to states struggling to weather a huge public health and economic disaster. Mr. Schumer said Republicans had agreed to extend unemployment insurance for an additional month at Democrats’ insistence, for a total of four months. The two sides had previously agreed to expand the program considerably, to include self-employed and part-time workers who traditionally have not been eligible, and to cover 100 percent of wages to the average worker.

Under the newly negotiated terms, those already on unemployment before the crisis would also see their benefits extended 13 weeks beyond when they are currently set to run out, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the talks.

The growing confidence on Capitol Hill was a jarring contrast with the rancor that has reigned in the Senate for days, as Democrats twice blocked efforts to advance the plan until they could secure stronger protections for workers and restrictions for bailed-out businesses. Republicans complained that they were turning their backs on substantial compromises and holding up desperately needed aid.

But even as partisan bickering consumed the normally staid Senate on Monday, Mr. Schumer and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, huddled repeatedly to hammer out their disagreements. And Mr. McConnell and Ms. Pelosi were kept closely informed of the talks.

Any agreement struck and approved in the Senate would still have to secure support from the Democratic majority in the House, which introduced its own $2.5 trillion legislative package on Monday. That package is full of progressive policy agenda items like emissions limits for bailed-out airlines, pay equity and workplace diversity requirements for companies that received aid as well as a new requirement for at least 15 consecutive days of early voting in federal elections.

The House is in recess, with some of its members sick or in quarantine and concerned about flying back to Washington. Democratic leaders were considering approving the mammoth proposal by unanimous consent, a tactic reserved mostly for minor, uncontroversial measures. They appeared to have the agreement of top Republicans, who worked on Tuesday to anticipate whether any of their conference members would object.

Some lawmakers have expressed reservations about approving legislation of such magnitude without a recorded vote, particularly before being able to read the details of the agreement themselves.

On the two-hour call with House Democrats, Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington State, said rank-and-file lawmakers needed more information if they were going to be expected to provide consent, both about the legislation and the largest points of contention, according to two officials familiar with the call, but unauthorized to discuss it publicly. Representative Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey, said he was uncomfortable with the precedent that would be set if lawmakers continued to approve trillions of dollars in federal spending without recorded votes.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said during the discussion that it was possible that Congress would consider at least two more measures to respond to the pandemic after clearing the stimulus measure, which would give lawmakers additional chances to win provisions that were not included.

The extraordinary circumstances may be enough to persuade lawmakers to put aside their reservations and agree to the package quickly. Representative Ben McAdams, Democrat of Utah and one of three lawmakers who have tested positive for Covid-19, issued a statement on Tuesday from his hospital bed asking his colleagues to approve it.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.

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Mnuchin Proposes $1,000 Checks in $1 Trillion Coronavirus Plan

Westlake Legal Group mnuchin-proposes-1000-checks-in-1-trillion-coronavirus-plan Mnuchin Proposes $1,000 Checks in $1 Trillion Coronavirus Plan United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Insurance Trump, Donald J Treasury Department Stimulus (Economic) Senate Republican Party Recession and Depression Pelosi, Nancy Mnuchin, Steven T McConnell, Mitch Layoffs and Job Reductions Law and Legislation House of Representatives Federal Aid (US) Democratic Party Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Westlake Legal Group 19dc-virus-cong1-facebookJumbo-v2 Mnuchin Proposes $1,000 Checks in $1 Trillion Coronavirus Plan United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Insurance Trump, Donald J Treasury Department Stimulus (Economic) Senate Republican Party Recession and Depression Pelosi, Nancy Mnuchin, Steven T McConnell, Mitch Layoffs and Job Reductions Law and Legislation House of Representatives Federal Aid (US) Democratic Party Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

WASHINGTON — The White House and lawmakers scrambled on Thursday to flesh out details of a $1 trillion economic stabilization plan to help workers and businesses weather a potentially deep recession, negotiating over the size and scope of direct payments to millions of people and aid for companies facing devastation in the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Republicans, racing to put their imprint on the crisis response, unveiled a package that would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to big corporations and small businesses, large corporate tax cuts and checks of up to $1,200 for taxpayers. The plan would also place limits on a paid-leave program enacted this week to respond to the crisis.

But the 247-page measure, the product of a feverish round of negotiations among Republicans, was all but certain to face opposition from Democrats who have pressed for more generous paid-leave benefits and targeting help to workers and families rather than large corporations.

The details emerged as Washington grappled with the dimensions of an extraordinary government rescue effort that is likely to last for many months. At the White House, President Trump said he would be open to having the government take equity stakes in companies that require federal help, a move that would be unpopular with shareholders and would give the government more oversight over businesses.

But he also injected new uncertainty into the government’s response, suggesting it was not his responsibility to meet the needs of health care workers on the front lines of combating the disease. A day after he said he would use the Defense Production Act — a Korean War-era law that allows presidents to force American industry to ramp up production of critical equipment and supplies — Mr. Trump told reporters that he would rather rely on states to deliver equipment to health care workers.

“The federal government’s not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping,” Mr. Trump said. “You know, we’re not a shipping clerk,” he said, adding that governors “are supposed to be doing it.”

On Capitol Hill, Republicans presented a bill that would offer bridge loans of up to $10 million each to small businesses, extend hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to large corporations in distressed industries and send checks as large as $1,200 per adult to individuals earning less than $99,000 per year. The payments would phase in for earners up to $75,000 — meaning lower earners would get smaller checks — and then phase out again at $99,000. Those who did not earn enough to pay income tax would receive much less: $600.

The proposal is different from one pitched on Thursday by Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, who said the administration wanted to send two waves of $1,000 checks to every American, one in April and one in May should the crisis persist.

The Senate bill also includes a raft of temporary changes to the tax code that would reduce the tax liability of large corporations, many of them overriding provisions in the 2017 tax overhaul that were meant to raise revenue to offset corporate rate cuts.

It would place new limits on a paid-leave program that Congress passed and Mr. Trump signed into law this week, shielding small business owners from any costs of paid leave for workers affected by the virus — and limiting how much pay those workers could receive if they are forced to stay home.


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A preliminary estimate by the Tax Foundation in Washington shows that the bill would cost at least $1 trillion. The small-business loans alone would be $300 billion, according to documents circulated on Thursday by Senate Republicans.

Mr. McConnell called for negotiations to begin with Senate Democrats on Friday, adding that Mr. Mnuchin, Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, and Eric M. Ueland, the administration’s director of legislative affairs, would join them on behalf of the administration.

But little more than an hour after its release, the top House and Senate Democrats indicated that the legislation did not meet their standards.

“To earn Democratic support in the Congress, any economic stimulus proposal must include new, strong and strict provisions that prioritize and protect workers, such as banning the recipient companies from buying back stock, rewarding executives and laying off workers,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said in a joint statement.

Calling the legislation a “significant next step,” Mr. McConnell vowed that the Senate would not leave until the rescue package had been approved, and said there could be a possible fourth relief package to follow as Congress seeks to address an extraordinary series of events.

But several of the Republican proposals are likely to be nonstarters for Democrats in both chambers, whose support is needed in order for the package to become law.

“Hopefully each side will give,” said Mr. Schumer of New York, the minority leader, speaking minutes after Mr. McConnell introduced the proposal. “We’ll come up with a good plan, we’ll send it to the president, and we will help to begin the long path to eradicate this awful virus.”

House Democrats, scattered across the country during an indefinite recess, have also been exchanging their own proposals over conference calls from their districts. Ms. Pelosi, who has spoken repeatedly with Mr. Mnuchin in recent days, has said her committee leaders were discussing the possibility of expanding unemployment insurance eligibility, refundable tax credits and funds for small businesses to ensure that workers continue to be paid.

One of the sticking points for members of both parties was the scope of the direct payment program, with some Republican senators pushing to strengthen unemployment insurance and loans for small businesses.

“Direct payments make sense when the economy is beginning to restart — it makes no sense now because it’s just money,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, told reporters. “What I want is income, not one check. I want you to get a check you can count on every week, not one week.”

Others said it should be structured so that the lowest earners got the most help — not the other way around.

“Relief to families in this emergency shouldn’t be regressive,” Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, said in a tweet. “Lower-income families shouldn’t be penalized.”

While there is general agreement about the need to speed economic help to millions of Americans, House Democrats are also debating the contours of their own proposal, including how to target the direct payments and the level of government intervention. During a private conference call on Thursday, they debated where to set the income cap on individuals who could receive government checks, according to three people familiar with the discussion who insisted on anonymity to describe the private call.

Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, the Democratic chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which would have some jurisdiction over the issue, suggested capping the direct payments to individuals with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000, according to two people familiar with the discussion. Other lawmakers advocated raising the limit to individual incomes of $130,000, while others suggested universal payments.

And some Democrats believe the government should intervene more directly and take on payroll or other expenses for small businesses, arguing that could be a more targeted and effective way to keep them afloat and people employed.

Ms. Pelosi has said publicly and privately that she will consider including provisions that would expand eligibility for unemployment insurance, as well as using refundable tax credits to expedite funds directly toward people affected by the outbreak.

It is also likely that the House will address a request from the administration to distribute emergency aid to agencies on the front lines. Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, the Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, told her colleagues on Thursday that her committee is expected to allocate between $100 billion and $150 billion, more than doubling the request, according to a person familiar with the remarks, and include it in the emerging package.

“Supplemental appropriations are an essential part of a whole-of-government strategy to address this pandemic, and it is irresponsible for Senate Republican leadership to omit these needed resources from its proposal,” said Evan Hollander, a spokesman for the House committee.

Earlier this month, Congress approved a first, $8.3 billion round of emergency money for federal health agencies, and this week it finalized a second measure — whose cost has yet to be tallied — to provide paid leave, jobless aid and food and health care assistance, as well as free coronavirus testing. Mr. Trump has signed both.

Time is of the essence in the talks. The news Wednesday night that two House lawmakers had tested positive for coronavirus after voting early Saturday has added pressure for senators to cut a swift deal on the package and depart Washington indefinitely.

The fiscal relief package unveiled Thursday is only one part of the administration’s plan, which some analysts now anticipate topping $1.5 trillion before the negotiations are completed. Mr. Mnuchin said the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve were working in lock step and were prepared to do whatever was possible to provide liquidity to American companies so they could weather the crisis without laying off workers. The Federal Reserve said late Wednesday night that it would offer emergency loans to money market mutual funds, its latest in a series of steps to keep the financial system functioning and prop up the economy.

“What we’re really focused on is providing liquidity to American businesses and American workers,” Mr. Mnuchin said on the Fox Business Network on Thursday. “This is an unprecedented situation.”

He said he had advised the president to purchase oil, which is at historically low prices, and fill up America’s strategic reserve.

Economists are bracing for a deep recession. Analysts at J.P. Morgan said this week that the United States economy could contract by 14 percent in the second quarter of this year.

The Treasury Department has not released updated economic projections, but Mr. Mnuchin said that he expected the beginnings of growth again in the third quarter and a “gigantic” rebound in the final three months of the year.

Economic data is beginning to trickle out, offering a grim preview of the damage that lies ahead. Official figures released on Thursday showed claims for unemployment insurance reaching their highest level in more than two years.

“The coronavirus outbreak is already starting to have a significant impact on the economy,” said Andrew Hunter, a senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. “Timelier reports of state-level data point to an unprecedented surge in layoffs over the next couple of weeks.”

The Treasury secretary indicated that he and the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, would use all the tools at their disposal to allow that workers and businesses to subsist for the next few months.

Reporting was contributed by Nicholas Fandos, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Catie Edmondson and Katie Rogers.

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Wall Street Suffers Worst Rout Since Black Monday as Virus Response Eludes Washington

Westlake Legal Group 12dc-virus-ledeall-1-facebookJumbo Wall Street Suffers Worst Rout Since Black Monday as Virus Response Eludes Washington United States Economy Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Pelosi, Nancy Metropolitan Museum of Art McConnell, Mitch House of Representatives Federal Reserve System Federal Reserve Bank of New York European Central Bank

WASHINGTON — Financial markets plunged again on Thursday, with Wall Street suffering its biggest one-day drop since the Black Monday stock market crash in 1987, as Washington struggled to reach agreement on how to respond to the growing economic threat posed by the spread of the coronavirus.

The Federal Reserve, in a drastic attempt to ensure Wall Street remained functional as volatility roiled even normally staid bond markets, said it would promptly inject as much as $1.5 trillion in loans into the banking system and broaden its purchases of Treasury securities. But neither the Fed’s actions, nor a plan by the European Central Bank to offer cheap loans to banks and step up its bond-buying campaign, were enough to assuage investors, who sent the S&P 500 down 9.5 percent.

The Wall Street rout only increased pressure on Congress and the White House to hammer out a relief package that would provide assistance for people affected by the virus and the resulting economic disruption. With Republicans and Democrats sparring over what to include in the package, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, reversed course on Thursday and canceled a planned one-week recess, saying the Senate would meet next week and be ready to consider a compromise coronavirus relief bill.

President Trump, for his part, appeared to be scrambling to persuade the public that things were going smoothly, while suggesting he could further restrict travel. Speaking at the White House, Mr. Trump said he could conceivably ban domestic travel to regions of the United States where the coronavirus becomes “too hot.”

His comments came on the heels of his decision Wednesday night to impose sweeping travel restrictions on non-American citizens from nearly all of continental Europe, a step that angered his foreign counterparts and contributed to the global stock sell-off.

With Washington seemingly incapable of mounting a quick response, local governments, sports franchises, schools and cultural institutions moved to try to quell the spread of a virus that has sickened at least 132,300 people worldwide, including more than 1,500 in the United States. So far, at least 39 people have died from the virus in the country.

So much was being shut down so fast that it promised to change life as most Americans know it and bring about a spring unlike any before.

In an extraordinary step, governors in Connecticut, New Jersey, California, Ohio, Washington State and New York moved to ban large gatherings and restrict smaller ones. Broadway announced it would be turning off the lights. The Metropolitan Museum of Art said that it would temporarily close its three locations, including its Fifth Avenue flagship. The two biggest concert promoters suspended all their current tours until at least April, and Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, closed its doors for only the fourth time in history.

Schools across the country, including in Ohio and Maryland, announced they would shut for several weeks, while students at dozens of colleges and universities packed up and headed home for the foreseeable future.

The N.C.A.A. announced there would be no March Madness this year as Major League Baseball postponed the start of its regular season by at least two weeks, canceling spring training games effective immediately. The N.H.L., N.B.A. and Major League Soccer also said they would pause or suspend their seasons.

“It’s the right thing to do but obviously it stinks,” the Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov said in a telephone interview.

European leaders were struggling with how to respond — both to the outbreak on their shores and to Mr. Trump — who did not consult them before blocking most visitors from continental Europe to the United States for 30 days.

In a strongly worded statement, the European Union said it “disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.” It said that it was “taking strong action to limit the spread” of the coronavirus, but that it “is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action.’’

Asked on Thursday why he had not consulted foreign leaders beforehand, Mr. Trump said “We had to make a decision, and I didn’t want to take time.”

He defended the move, saying, “They have some hot spots that are really bad, but they’ll get them better. Germany, I guess, has some problems now.”

“France has some problems — some pretty big problems,” he added. “And Italy, of course, is probably record-setting in terms of what they’ve gone through. Italy is having a very hard time. But we will reestablish very quickly once this ends, and it’s just a question of time.”

The administration’s approach has sown confusion at home, with conflicting messages emanating from the White House and health officials as well as from individual government agencies.

In a meeting at the White House, Mr. Trump sought to play down the pandemic and its effects on the financial markets, saying, “It’s going to work out fine.” He insisted that, “Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth,” even as the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was on Capitol Hill acknowledging to lawmakers that “it is a failing — let’s admit it.”

The president claimed that anyone who wanted to board a flight to the United States must first test negative for the virus, although there is no such policy. And he said a rally that he had been planning in Tampa, Fla., was “all sold out,” even though the idea of scheduling it was scrapped before it was ever announced.

Mr. Trump himself may have been exposed to the virus after coming into contact with a Brazilian official who tested positive just days after participating in meetings with him in Florida. The White House said Mr. Trump would not be tested for the virus.

Cabinet officials have been waiting for the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management to send out official guidance addressing changes to telework policies, when to impose mandatory telecommuting, whether to reconsider hosting meetings and gatherings, and whether to cancel travel — guidance that would allow them to change their own policies.

At the Justice Department, a sprawling bureaucracy with offices in several buildings, Attorney General William P. Barr sent an email to all staff last week saying that he was monitoring the fast-moving situation, and managers have been empowered to allow optional telework depending on immediate risk factors.

The lack of a clear, consistent response in the United States has only fueled the market sell-off, and this week the messiness extended to even the safest bonds, putting financial functioning at risk and prompting the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to take significant steps on Thursday to show markets that it has their backs. The New York Fed increased the size of its repurchase operations — basically short-term loans to banks — by $1.5 trillion through Friday, added to its weekly repurchase offerings, and shifted its Treasury purchases so that they extend across durations instead of focusing on shorter-term bills.

The package was meant to calm Treasury markets, where conditions had deteriorated in recent days, in part by making sure that as banks take bonds onto their balance sheets, they can have access to the funding they need to cover those positions. That the Fed is now buying across a range of maturities could help relieve pressures across the market.

But investors, along with the public, appear inconsolable and desperate for Congress to unleash aid that could help either stop the spread of the virus or at least buffet an economic hit that is threatening to tip the United States into recession.

“Until there are details on the steps that leadership intends to pursue to remedy the economic effects of the viral outbreak, equity markets will be vulnerable,” said Carl Tannenbaum, the chief economist at Northern Trust.

Mr. McConnell’s decision to cancel recess averted what had been shaping up as a remarkable collapse of talks. House Democrats scheduled a Thursday vote on their own package of paid sick leave, enhanced unemployment insurance, free coronavirus testing and food aid. Senate Republicans, who are opposed to that measure, faced the prospect of leaving Washington having taken no action to address the widening crisis.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a frantic attempt to keep talks on track, spoke by phone at least seven times with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, negotiating additional changes to the House legislation so that it could have a chance of winning the support of Mr. Trump and Senate Republicans.

As of Thursday afternoon, major sticking points were hampering agreement, according to people familiar with the deliberations, who described them on the condition of anonymity. Republicans balked at a sweeping proposal to provide paid sick leave, something Senate Republicans had already blocked when Democrats sought earlier in the week to bring up a separate bill. And Republicans were insisting on inserting language into the emergency package to ban federal funding for most abortions.

Mr. McConnell started the day denouncing Ms. Pelosi’s plan as an “ideological wish list” and indicating that the Senate had no intention of moving ahead with it. But as negotiations proceeded, he faced mounting complaints from Republican senators — including those facing challenging re-election races — who opposed the House Democrats’ plan but were reluctant to leave Washington without voting on something to address the crisis.

“A haphazard bill thrown together overnight?” Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, told reporters on Thursday. “We need to be thorough about it.”

“The Senate has no business leaving,” Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said in a speech on the floor. “We shouldn’t leave town until we pass the House package to help workers and support our communities, and President Trump needs to sign it. We need to do our jobs.”

Senators left Washington on Thursday afternoon planning to return on Monday, even as the coronavirus took its toll on the Capitol, prompting more lawmakers to quarantine themselves and close their offices. (During senators’ final vote before their departure, a page could be seen wiping down members’ desks and chairs with disinfectant.)

In the absence of a detailed economic rescue plan from the White House, Ms. Pelosi has pressed forward with a package of her own that leading Republicans have panned as ineffective, overreaching and too costly. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, said on Thursday that Republicans had problems with the bill’s paid sick leave proposals and believed it should include other measures, like tax credits for employee retention.

“We should not just take a rush just because there is a bill,” Mr. McCarthy said. “We want to make sure it works.”

He added, “I think we can get this done in 24 or 48 hours.”

Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in a research note on Thursday that it was “up to Congress to fire the fiscal bazooka, the bigger and quicker the better.”

But in an interview, Mr. Shepherdson warned that even a large stimulus package might not stop the fall in markets, and that the worst may still lie ahead.

“What stops the fear is evidence that the rate of increase of infections is slowing — believable evidence,” he said. “Everywhere you would look for reassurance, for leadership, for policy action, for reliable information — all are absent.”

Reporting was contributed by Katie Benner, Nicholas Fandos, Alan Rappeport and Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Washington; Matt Phillips, Melena Ryzik and Ben Sisario from New York; and Brooks Barnes and Andrew Knoll from Los Angeles.

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Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote

WASHINGTON — After five months of hearings, investigations and cascading revelations about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, a divided United States Senate acquitted him on Wednesday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress to aid his own re-election, bringing an acrimonious impeachment trial to its expected end.

In a pair of votes whose outcome was never in doubt, the Senate fell well short of the two-thirds margin that would have been needed to remove Mr. Trump, formally concluding the three-week-long trial of the 45th president that has roiled Washington and threatened the presidency. The verdicts came down almost entirely upon party lines, with every Democrat voting “guilty” on both charges and Republicans uniformly voting “not guilty” on the obstruction of Congress charge.

Only one Republican, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, broke with his party to judge Mr. Trump guilty of abuse of power.

It was the third impeachment trial of a president and the third acquittal in American history, and it ended the way it began, with Republicans and Democrats at odds over Mr. Trump’s conduct and his fitness for office, even as some members of his own party conceded the basic allegations that undergirded the charges, that he sought to pressure Ukraine to smear his political rivals.

“Senators how say you?” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the presiding officer, asked shortly after 4 p.m. from the Senate floor. “Is the respondent, Donald John Trump, president of the United States guilty or not guilty?”

Seated at their wooden desks, senators stood one by one to answer “guilty” or “not guilty” to each of the two articles of impeachment.

“It is, therefore, ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles,” declared Chief Justice Roberts, after the second article was defeated.

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-vote-results-promo-1580858852030-articleLarge Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Romney, Mitt Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Trump Impeachment Results: How Democrats and Republicans Voted

See how each senator will vote on whether to convict and remove President Trump from office.

But in a sign of the widening partisan divide testing the country and its institutions, the verdict did not promise finality. Democratic leaders immediately insisted the result was illegitimate, the product of a self-interested cover-up by Republicans, and promised to continue their investigations of Mr. Trump.

The president, vindicated in what he has long called a politically motivated hoax to take him down, prepared to campaign as an exonerated executive. And both parties conceded that voters, not the Senate, would deliver the final judgment on Mr. Trump when they cast ballots in just nine months.

Video

transcript

Senate Votes to Acquit President Trump

In a pair of historic votes, 52 to 48 and 53 to 47, senators acquitted President Trump of two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“Hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silence on pain of imprisonment while the Senate at the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives against Donald John Trump, president of the United States. The clerk will now read the first article of impeachment article 1. Abuse of power is the respondent Donald John Trump guilty or not guilty. A roll call vote is required. The clerk will call the roll Mr. Alexander Mr. Alexander not guilty. Miss Baldwin miss Baldwin. Guilty Mr. Barrasso Mr. Barrasso. Not guilty. Mr. Bennett Mr. Bennett guilty Mrs. Blackburn Mrs. Blackburn not guilty. This article of impeachment 48 senators have pronounced Donald John Trump president of the United States guilty as charged. 52 senators have pronounced him not guilty as charged. 2/3 of the senators present not having pronounced him guilty. The senate judges that the respondent Donald John Trump president of the United States, is not guilty as charged in the first article of impeachment article 2 obstruction of Congress. Mr. inhofe not guilty. Mr. Johnson not guilty. Mr. Jones guilty Mr. Cain guilty on this article of impeachment 47 senators have pronounced Donald John Trump president of the United States guilty as charged. 53 senators have pronounced him not guilty as charged. 2/3 of the senators present not having pronounced him guilty. The senate judges that respondent Donald John Trump president of the United States, is not guilty as charged in the Second Article of Impeachment. The senate having tried Donald John Trump president of the United States upon two articles of impeachment exhibited against him by the House of Representatives, and 2/3 of the senators present not having found him guilty of the charges contained therein. It is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump b. And he is hereby acquitted of the charges and said articles.

Westlake Legal Group 05dc-impeach-video-videoSixteenByNine3000 Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Romney, Mitt Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

In a pair of historic votes, 52 to 48 and 53 to 47, senators acquitted President Trump of two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

As expected, the tally in favor of conviction fell far below the 67-vote threshold necessary for removal on each article. The first charge was abuse of power, accusing Mr. Trump of a scheme to use the levers of government to coerce Ukraine to do his political bidding, did not even garner a majority vote, failing on a vote of 48 to 52, with Mr. Romney voting with the Democrats. The second article, charging Mr. Trump with obstructing Congress for an across-the-board blockade of House subpoenas and oversight requests, failed 47 to 53, strictly on party lines.

Like this one, the trials of Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton also concluded in acquittal — a reflection of the Constitution’s high burden for removing a chief executive.

But in a stinging rebuke of the country’s leader aimed at history, Mr. Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, voted to convict Mr. Trump of abuse of power. He said that the president’s pressure campaign on Ukraine was “the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.” Though he voted against the second article, Mr. Romney became emotional on the Senate floor in the hours before the verdict on Wednesday as he described why he deemed Mr. Trump guilty of abuse of power, calling it a matter of conscience. He was the first senator ever to vote to remove a president of his own party.

“I am sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters,” Mr. Romney said. “Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”

Video

transcript

Romney Says He Will Vote to Convict Trump

During a statement to his colleagues, Senator Mitt Romney said he would vote to convict President Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first Republican to break party ranks.

In the last several weeks I’ve received numerous calls and texts. Many demanded in their words that I stand with the team. I can assure you that thought has been very much on my mind. You see, I support a great deal of what the president has done. I’ve voted with him 80 percent of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and political biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me, for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong. So the verdict is ours to render under our Constitution. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfill our duty. 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.

Westlake Legal Group 05-video-romney-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Romney, Mitt Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

During a statement to his colleagues, Senator Mitt Romney said he would vote to convict President Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first Republican to break party ranks.CreditCredit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Mr. Romney’s defection, which he announced a couple of hours before the final vote, was a stark reflection of the sweeping transformation of the Republican Party over the past eight years into one that is now dominated entirely by Mr. Trump. And it deprived the president of the monolithic Republican support he had eagerly anticipated.

At the White House, Mr. Trump was expected to accept the decision with characteristic bravado, and badly wanted to deliver a public statement immediately afterward to declare victory. But his advisers argued forcefully against the move, and shortly after the Senate vote, he wrote on Twitter that he would wait until noon Thursday to appear at the White House “to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax.”

The president has looked forward to the Senate’s verdict as an authoritative rejection of the House’s case that he committed high crimes and misdemeanors, even if many in his party ultimately broke from his absolute insistence that his actions were “perfect.” Still, Mr. Trump, too, was looking beyond it toward the long campaign season ahead, vowing retribution from the forces that he believes have tried to destroy him: the Democrats, the news media and a deep state of government bureaucrats.

Several Republican senators ultimately acknowledged the heart of the House case — that Mr. Trump undertook a concerted pressure campaign on Ukraine to secure politically beneficial investigations into his rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., using nearly $400 million in military aid as leverage. Still, all but one voted to acquit and suggested it had not been a close call. Earlier, not a single House Republican had voted for impeachment, either, rendering Mr. Trump’s impeachment historically partisan.

Some Republican senators argued that the conduct was not sufficiently dangerous to warrant the Senate removing a president from office for the first time in history — and certainly not with an election so near. Others dismissed Democrats’ arguments altogether, insisting their case was merely one more attempt to dress up hatred for Mr. Trump and his policies as a constitutional case.

A few Republicans urged Mr. Trump to be more careful with his words in the future, particularly when speaking with foreign leaders, but there was no serious attempt to censure him as there was around the trial of Mr. Clinton.

Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two Republican swing votes who have tilted against the president in the past, both voted against conviction and removal. And two Democrats from traditionally red states, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, voted to convict Mr. Trump, denying him a badly wanted bipartisan acquittal.

Democrats, who had lobbied hard to include witnesses and documents that Mr. Trump shielded from the House in the Senate proceeding, wasted little time in declaring the trial a sham. Senators had been offered evidence, including testimony by the former national security adviser John R. Bolton, that would have further clarified the president’s actions and motivations, they said. All but two Republicans refused, making the trial the first impeachment proceeding in American history to reach a verdict without calling witnesses.

As they closed their case this week, the seven Democratic House managers who prosecuted the case argued that Mr. Trump would emerge emboldened in his monarchical tendencies, and that those who appeased him would be judged harshly by history. Republicans, they said, had chosen to leave the president’s future up to voters in the very election in which they believe Mr. Trump is still trying to cheat.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, made a similar case in the minutes before the vote.

“The verdict of this kangaroo court will be meaningless,” Mr. Schumer said. “By refusing the facts — by refusing witnesses and documents — the Republican majority has placed a giant asterisk, the asterisk of a sham trial, next to the acquittal of President Trump, written in permanent ink.”

Seldom used in American history, impeachment is the Constitution’s most extreme mechanism for checking a corrupt or out of control office holder. In unsheathing it, even reluctantly, House Democrats took on political risk that could backfire in November on their presidential nominee or the House majority if voters conclude the effort was an overzealous partisan attack. Senate Republicans and Democrats up for re-election in swing states may face their own judgment for their stances on including witnesses in the trial or on Mr. Trump’s guilt.

At least one Democrat, Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, glancingly acknowledged that his vote to convict would most likely contribute to his loss this fall in deeply conservative Alabama.

“There will be so many who will simply look at what I am doing today and say it is a profile in courage,” Mr. Jones said before the vote. “It is not. It is simply a matter of right and wrong.”

For now, the impeachment of Mr. Trump appears to have evenly divided the nation. Public opinion polls suggest that as the proportion of Americans grew in recent weeks who agreed that the president most likely abused his office and acted improperly to deny Congress the ability to investigate, never meaningfully more than half of the country agreed he should be removed from office.

If Mr. Trump’s standing among the public has been hurt by the trial, it is not yet evident. To the contrary, the latest Gallup poll, released on Tuesday, showed that 49 percent of Americans approved of the job he was doing as president — the highest figure since he took office three years ago.

The possibility of impeachment has hung like a cloud over Mr. Trump’s presidency virtually since it began. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, had resisted when the special counsel released the findings of his investigation into Russian election interference in 2016 and possible collaboration with the Trump campaign. Impeachment was too divisive and unlikely to gain bipartisan support, she said then.

Her calculations changed in September, when the Trump administration was forced to give the House an anonymous C.I.A. whistle-blower that accused the president of marshaling the powers of government to press Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and a theory that Democrats had colluded with Ukraine in the 2016 election. Authorizing the third impeachment inquiry in modern times, Ms. Pelosi tasked the House Intelligence Committee to investigate the scheme and build a case for impeachment.

Mr. Trump issued a blanket directive to all government agencies not to comply with the inquiry — a fateful order that robbed investigators of key witnesses and facts that could have filled out their case but which ultimately gave rise to the obstruction of Congress charge.

Still, a dozen and a half American diplomats and White House officials came forward, offering testimony in private and then in scintillating public hearings, that confirmed nearly every aspect of the whistle-blower complaint. On Dec. 18, the House voted to impeach Mr. Trump on both counts, despite their earlier pledges not to pursue a partisan impeachment.

To protect his Senate majority as much as the presidency, Mr. McConnell promised a swift acquittal and he delivered it. From the time the articles of impeachment were first read on the Senate floor to Wednesday’s vote was just 20 days. By comparison, the 1999 Clinton trial lasted five weeks and in 1868, the Senate took the better part of three months to try Johnson.

With acquittal never really in doubt, the real fight of the trial over witnesses and Mr. McConnell used the full accumulated force of his position to ensure none were called. Mr. Trump’s lawyers used their time on the Senate floor to argue that none were needed not only because the president’s behavior toward Ukraine was a legitimate expression of his concern about corruption there, but because neither charge constituted high crimes and misdemeanors.

The final shift in defenses by all but the most conservative of Mr. Trump’s allies came just last week, when The New York Times reported the first in a series of stories revealing that Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton in August that he would not release the military aid for Ukraine until the country helped out with the investigations into the Bidens and other Democrats.

Each of those decisions will loom large over history. Just as Mr. Trump’s impeachment was constantly measured against the precedents set in 1999 and 1974 and 1868, so any future one will be measured against the decisions made by House Democrats and Senate Republicans this time around.

Impeachment was seriously contemplated for a president only once in the first two centuries of the American republic; it now has been so three times since the 1970s, and two of the past four presidents have been impeached.

Reporting was contributed by Emily Cochrane, Catie Edmondson, Patricia Mazzei, Michael D. Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote

WASHINGTON — After five months of hearings, investigations and cascading revelations about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, a divided United States Senate acquitted him on Wednesday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress to aid his own re-election, bringing an acrimonious impeachment trial to its expected end.

In a pair of votes whose outcome was never in doubt, the Senate fell well short of the two-thirds margin that would have been needed to remove Mr. Trump, formally concluding the three-week-long trial of the 45th president that has roiled Washington and threatened the presidency. The verdicts came down almost entirely upon party lines, with every Democrat voting “guilty” on both charges and Republicans uniformly voting “not guilty” on the obstruction of Congress charge.

Only one Republican, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, broke with his party to judge Mr. Trump guilty of abuse of power.

It was the third impeachment trial of a president and the third acquittal in American history, and it ended the way it began, with Republicans and Democrats at odds over Mr. Trump’s conduct and his fitness for office, even as some members of his own party conceded the basic allegations that undergirded the charges, that he sought to pressure Ukraine to smear his political rivals.

“Senators how say you?” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the presiding officer, asked shortly after 4 p.m. from the Senate floor. “Is the respondent, Donald John Trump, president of the United States guilty or not guilty?”

Seated at their wooden desks, senators stood one by one to answer “guilty” or “not guilty” to each of the two articles of impeachment.

“It is, therefore, ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles,” declared Chief Justice Roberts, after the second article was defeated.

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-vote-results-promo-1580858852030-articleLarge Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Romney, Mitt Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Trump Impeachment Results: How Democrats and Republicans Voted

See how each senator will vote on whether to convict and remove President Trump from office.

But in a sign of the widening partisan divide testing the country and its institutions, the verdict did not promise finality. Democratic leaders immediately insisted the result was illegitimate, the product of a self-interested cover-up by Republicans, and promised to continue their investigations of Mr. Trump.

The president, vindicated in what he has long called a politically motivated hoax to take him down, prepared to campaign as an exonerated executive. And both parties conceded that voters, not the Senate, would deliver the final judgment on Mr. Trump when they cast ballots in just nine months.

Video

transcript

Senate Votes to Acquit President Trump

In a pair of historic votes, 52 to 48 and 53 to 47, senators acquitted President Trump of two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“Hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silence on pain of imprisonment while the Senate at the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives against Donald John Trump, president of the United States. The clerk will now read the first article of impeachment article 1. Abuse of power is the respondent Donald John Trump guilty or not guilty. A roll call vote is required. The clerk will call the roll Mr. Alexander Mr. Alexander not guilty. Miss Baldwin miss Baldwin. Guilty Mr. Barrasso Mr. Barrasso. Not guilty. Mr. Bennett Mr. Bennett guilty Mrs. Blackburn Mrs. Blackburn not guilty. This article of impeachment 48 senators have pronounced Donald John Trump president of the United States guilty as charged. 52 senators have pronounced him not guilty as charged. 2/3 of the senators present not having pronounced him guilty. The senate judges that the respondent Donald John Trump president of the United States, is not guilty as charged in the first article of impeachment article 2 obstruction of Congress. Mr. inhofe not guilty. Mr. Johnson not guilty. Mr. Jones guilty Mr. Cain guilty on this article of impeachment 47 senators have pronounced Donald John Trump president of the United States guilty as charged. 53 senators have pronounced him not guilty as charged. 2/3 of the senators present not having pronounced him guilty. The senate judges that respondent Donald John Trump president of the United States, is not guilty as charged in the Second Article of Impeachment. The senate having tried Donald John Trump president of the United States upon two articles of impeachment exhibited against him by the House of Representatives, and 2/3 of the senators present not having found him guilty of the charges contained therein. It is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump b. And he is hereby acquitted of the charges and said articles.

Westlake Legal Group 05dc-impeach-video-videoSixteenByNine3000 Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Romney, Mitt Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

In a pair of historic votes, 52 to 48 and 53 to 47, senators acquitted President Trump of two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

As expected, the tally in favor of conviction fell far below the 67-vote threshold necessary for removal on each article. The first charge was abuse of power, accusing Mr. Trump of a scheme to use the levers of government to coerce Ukraine to do his political bidding, did not even garner a majority vote, failing on a vote of 48 to 52, with Mr. Romney voting with the Democrats. The second article, charging Mr. Trump with obstructing Congress for an across-the-board blockade of House subpoenas and oversight requests, failed 47 to 53, strictly on party lines.

Like this one, the trials of Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton also concluded in acquittal — a reflection of the Constitution’s high burden for removing a chief executive.

But in a stinging rebuke of the country’s leader aimed at history, Mr. Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, voted to convict Mr. Trump of abuse of power. He said that the president’s pressure campaign on Ukraine was “the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.” Though he voted against the second article, Mr. Romney became emotional on the Senate floor in the hours before the verdict on Wednesday as he described why he deemed Mr. Trump guilty of abuse of power, calling it a matter of conscience. He was the first senator ever to vote to remove a president of his own party.

“I am sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters,” Mr. Romney said. “Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”

Video

transcript

Romney Says He Will Vote to Convict Trump

During a statement to his colleagues, Senator Mitt Romney said he would vote to convict President Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first Republican to break party ranks.

In the last several weeks I’ve received numerous calls and texts. Many demanded in their words that I stand with the team. I can assure you that thought has been very much on my mind. You see, I support a great deal of what the president has done. I’ve voted with him 80 percent of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and political biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me, for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong. So the verdict is ours to render under our Constitution. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfill our duty. 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.

Westlake Legal Group 05-video-romney-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Romney, Mitt Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

During a statement to his colleagues, Senator Mitt Romney said he would vote to convict President Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first Republican to break party ranks.CreditCredit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Mr. Romney’s defection, which he announced a couple of hours before the final vote, was a stark reflection of the sweeping transformation of the Republican Party over the past eight years into one that is now dominated entirely by Mr. Trump. And it deprived the president of the monolithic Republican support he had eagerly anticipated.

At the White House, Mr. Trump was expected to accept the decision with characteristic bravado, and badly wanted to deliver a public statement immediately afterward to declare victory. But his advisers argued forcefully against the move, and shortly after the Senate vote, he wrote on Twitter that he would wait until noon Thursday to appear at the White House “to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax.”

The president has looked forward to the Senate’s verdict as an authoritative rejection of the House’s case that he committed high crimes and misdemeanors, even if many in his party ultimately broke from his absolute insistence that his actions were “perfect.” Still, Mr. Trump, too, was looking beyond it toward the long campaign season ahead, vowing retribution from the forces that he believes have tried to destroy him: the Democrats, the news media and a deep state of government bureaucrats.

Several Republican senators ultimately acknowledged the heart of the House case — that Mr. Trump undertook a concerted pressure campaign on Ukraine to secure politically beneficial investigations into his rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., using nearly $400 million in military aid as leverage. Still, all but one voted to acquit and suggested it had not been a close call. Earlier, not a single House Republican had voted for impeachment, either, rendering Mr. Trump’s impeachment historically partisan.

Some Republican senators argued that the conduct was not sufficiently dangerous to warrant the Senate removing a president from office for the first time in history — and certainly not with an election so near. Others dismissed Democrats’ arguments altogether, insisting their case was merely one more attempt to dress up hatred for Mr. Trump and his policies as a constitutional case.

A few Republicans urged Mr. Trump to be more careful with his words in the future, particularly when speaking with foreign leaders, but there was no serious attempt to censure him as there was around the trial of Mr. Clinton.

Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two Republican swing votes who have tilted against the president in the past, both voted against conviction and removal. And two Democrats from traditionally red states, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, voted to convict Mr. Trump, denying him a badly wanted bipartisan acquittal.

Democrats, who had lobbied hard to include witnesses and documents that Mr. Trump shielded from the House in the Senate proceeding, wasted little time in declaring the trial a sham. Senators had been offered evidence, including testimony by the former national security adviser John R. Bolton, that would have further clarified the president’s actions and motivations, they said. All but two Republicans refused, making the trial the first impeachment proceeding in American history to reach a verdict without calling witnesses.

As they closed their case this week, the seven Democratic House managers who prosecuted the case argued that Mr. Trump would emerge emboldened in his monarchical tendencies, and that those who appeased him would be judged harshly by history. Republicans, they said, had chosen to leave the president’s future up to voters in the very election in which they believe Mr. Trump is still trying to cheat.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, made a similar case in the minutes before the vote.

“The verdict of this kangaroo court will be meaningless,” Mr. Schumer said. “By refusing the facts — by refusing witnesses and documents — the Republican majority has placed a giant asterisk, the asterisk of a sham trial, next to the acquittal of President Trump, written in permanent ink.”

Seldom used in American history, impeachment is the Constitution’s most extreme mechanism for checking a corrupt or out of control office holder. In unsheathing it, even reluctantly, House Democrats took on political risk that could backfire in November on their presidential nominee or the House majority if voters conclude the effort was an overzealous partisan attack. Senate Republicans and Democrats up for re-election in swing states may face their own judgment for their stances on including witnesses in the trial or on Mr. Trump’s guilt.

At least one Democrat, Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, glancingly acknowledged that his vote to convict would most likely contribute to his loss this fall in deeply conservative Alabama.

“There will be so many who will simply look at what I am doing today and say it is a profile in courage,” Mr. Jones said before the vote. “It is not. It is simply a matter of right and wrong.”

For now, the impeachment of Mr. Trump appears to have evenly divided the nation. Public opinion polls suggest that as the proportion of Americans grew in recent weeks who agreed that the president most likely abused his office and acted improperly to deny Congress the ability to investigate, never meaningfully more than half of the country agreed he should be removed from office.

If Mr. Trump’s standing among the public has been hurt by the trial, it is not yet evident. To the contrary, the latest Gallup poll, released on Tuesday, showed that 49 percent of Americans approved of the job he was doing as president — the highest figure since he took office three years ago.

The possibility of impeachment has hung like a cloud over Mr. Trump’s presidency virtually since it began. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, had resisted when the special counsel released the findings of his investigation into Russian election interference in 2016 and possible collaboration with the Trump campaign. Impeachment was too divisive and unlikely to gain bipartisan support, she said then.

Her calculations changed in September, when the Trump administration was forced to give the House an anonymous C.I.A. whistle-blower that accused the president of marshaling the powers of government to press Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and a theory that Democrats had colluded with Ukraine in the 2016 election. Authorizing the third impeachment inquiry in modern times, Ms. Pelosi tasked the House Intelligence Committee to investigate the scheme and build a case for impeachment.

Mr. Trump issued a blanket directive to all government agencies not to comply with the inquiry — a fateful order that robbed investigators of key witnesses and facts that could have filled out their case but which ultimately gave rise to the obstruction of Congress charge.

Still, a dozen and a half American diplomats and White House officials came forward, offering testimony in private and then in scintillating public hearings, that confirmed nearly every aspect of the whistle-blower complaint. On Dec. 18, the House voted to impeach Mr. Trump on both counts, despite their earlier pledges not to pursue a partisan impeachment.

To protect his Senate majority as much as the presidency, Mr. McConnell promised a swift acquittal and he delivered it. From the time the articles of impeachment were first read on the Senate floor to Wednesday’s vote was just 20 days. By comparison, the 1999 Clinton trial lasted five weeks and in 1868, the Senate took the better part of three months to try Johnson.

With acquittal never really in doubt, the real fight of the trial over witnesses and Mr. McConnell used the full accumulated force of his position to ensure none were called. Mr. Trump’s lawyers used their time on the Senate floor to argue that none were needed not only because the president’s behavior toward Ukraine was a legitimate expression of his concern about corruption there, but because neither charge constituted high crimes and misdemeanors.

The final shift in defenses by all but the most conservative of Mr. Trump’s allies came just last week, when The New York Times reported the first in a series of stories revealing that Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton in August that he would not release the military aid for Ukraine until the country helped out with the investigations into the Bidens and other Democrats.

Each of those decisions will loom large over history. Just as Mr. Trump’s impeachment was constantly measured against the precedents set in 1999 and 1974 and 1868, so any future one will be measured against the decisions made by House Democrats and Senate Republicans this time around.

Impeachment was seriously contemplated for a president only once in the first two centuries of the American republic; it now has been so three times since the 1970s, and two of the past four presidents have been impeached.

Reporting was contributed by Emily Cochrane, Catie Edmondson, Patricia Mazzei, Michael D. Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote

WASHINGTON — After five months of hearings, investigations and cascading revelations about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, a divided United States Senate acquitted him on Wednesday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress to aid his own re-election, bringing an acrimonious impeachment trial to its expected end.

In a pair of votes whose outcome was never in doubt, the Senate fell well short of the two-thirds margin that would have been needed to remove Mr. Trump, formally concluding the three-week-long trial of the 45th president that has roiled Washington and threatened the presidency. The verdicts came down almost entirely upon party lines, with every Democrat voting “guilty” on both charges and Republicans uniformly voting “not guilty” on the obstruction of Congress charge.

Only one Republican, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, broke with his party to judge Mr. Trump guilty of abuse of power.

It was the third impeachment trial of a president and the third acquittal in American history, and it ended the way it began, with Republicans and Democrats at odds over Mr. Trump’s conduct and his fitness for office, even as some members of his own party conceded the basic allegations that undergirded the charges, that he sought to pressure Ukraine to smear his political rivals.

“Senators how say you?” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the presiding officer, asked shortly after 4 p.m. from the Senate floor. “Is the respondent, Donald John Trump, president of the United States guilty or not guilty?”

Seated at their wooden desks, senators stood one by one to answer “guilty” or “not guilty” to each of the two articles of impeachment.

“It is, therefore, ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles,” declared Chief Justice Roberts, after the second article was defeated.

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-vote-results-promo-final-articleLarge Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Romney, Mitt Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Trump Impeachment Results: How Democrats and Republicans Voted

See how each senator will vote on whether to convict and remove President Trump from office.

But in a sign of the widening partisan divide testing the country and its institutions, the verdict did not promise finality. Democratic leaders immediately insisted the result was illegitimate, the product of a self-interested cover-up by Republicans, and promised to continue their investigations of Mr. Trump.

The president, vindicated in what he has long called a politically motivated hoax to take him down, prepared to campaign as an exonerated executive. And both parties conceded that voters, not the Senate, would deliver the final judgment on Mr. Trump when they cast ballots in just nine months.

Video

transcript

Senate Votes to Acquit President Trump

In a pair of historic votes, 52 to 48 and 53 to 47, senators acquitted President Trump of two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“Hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silence on pain of imprisonment while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives against Donald John Trump, president of the United States.” “The clerk will now read the first article of impeachment.” “Article 1, abuse of power.” “Is the respondent, Donald John Trump, guilty or not guilty? A roll call vote is required. The clerk will call the roll.” “Mr. Alexander.” “Not guilty.” “Mr. Alexander, not guilty. Ms. Baldwin.” “Guilty.” “Ms. Baldwin, guilty. “Mr. Romney.” “Guilty.” “Mr. Romney, guilty.” This article of impeachment 48 senators have pronounced Donald John Trump president of the United States guilty as charged. 52 senators have pronounced him not guilty as charged. 2/3 of the senators present not having pronounced him guilty. The senate judges that the respondent Donald John Trump president of the United States, is not guilty as charged in the first article of impeachment article 2 obstruction of Congress. Mr. inhofe not guilty. Mr. Johnson not guilty. Mr. Jones guilty Mr. Cain guilty on this article of impeachment 47 senators have pronounced Donald John Trump president of the United States guilty as charged. 53 senators have pronounced him not guilty as charged. 2/3 of the senators present not having pronounced him guilty. The senate judges that respondent Donald John Trump president of the United States, is not guilty as charged in the Second Article of Impeachment. The senate having tried Donald John Trump president of the United States upon two articles of impeachment exhibited against him by the House of Representatives, and 2/3 of the senators present not having found him guilty of the charges contained therein. It is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump b. And he is hereby acquitted of the charges and said articles.

Westlake Legal Group 05dc-impeach-video-videoSixteenByNine3000 Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Romney, Mitt Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

In a pair of historic votes, 52 to 48 and 53 to 47, senators acquitted President Trump of two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

As expected, the tally in favor of conviction fell far below the 67-vote threshold necessary for removal on each article. The first charge was abuse of power, accusing Mr. Trump of a scheme to use the levers of government to coerce Ukraine to do his political bidding, did not even garner a majority vote, failing on a vote of 48 to 52, with Mr. Romney voting with the Democrats. The second article, charging Mr. Trump with obstructing Congress for an across-the-board blockade of House subpoenas and oversight requests, failed 47 to 53, strictly on party lines.

Like this one, the trials of Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton also concluded in acquittal — a reflection of the Constitution’s high burden for removing a chief executive.

But in a stinging rebuke of the country’s leader aimed at history, Mr. Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, voted to convict Mr. Trump of abuse of power. He said that the president’s pressure campaign on Ukraine was “the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.” Though he voted against the second article, Mr. Romney became emotional on the Senate floor in the hours before the verdict on Wednesday as he described why he deemed Mr. Trump guilty of abuse of power, calling it a matter of conscience. He was the first senator ever to vote to remove a president of his own party.

“I am sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters,” Mr. Romney said. “Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”

Video

transcript

Romney Says He Will Vote to Convict Trump

During a statement to his colleagues, Senator Mitt Romney said he would vote to convict President Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first Republican to break party ranks.

In the last several weeks I’ve received numerous calls and texts. Many demanded in their words that I stand with the team. I can assure you that thought has been very much on my mind. You see, I support a great deal of what the president has done. I’ve voted with him 80 percent of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and political biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me, for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong. So the verdict is ours to render under our Constitution. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfill our duty. 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.

Westlake Legal Group 05-video-romney-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Romney, Mitt Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

During a statement to his colleagues, Senator Mitt Romney said he would vote to convict President Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first Republican to break party ranks.CreditCredit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Mr. Romney’s defection, which he announced a couple of hours before the final vote, was a stark reflection of the sweeping transformation of the Republican Party over the past eight years into one that is now dominated entirely by Mr. Trump. And it deprived the president of the monolithic Republican support he had eagerly anticipated.

At the White House, Mr. Trump was expected to accept the decision with characteristic bravado, and badly wanted to deliver a public statement immediately afterward to declare victory. But his advisers argued forcefully against the move, and shortly after the Senate vote, he wrote on Twitter that he would wait until noon Thursday to appear at the White House “to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax.”

The president has looked forward to the Senate’s verdict as an authoritative rejection of the House’s case that he committed high crimes and misdemeanors, even if many in his party ultimately broke from his absolute insistence that his actions were “perfect.” Still, Mr. Trump, too, was looking beyond it toward the long campaign season ahead, vowing retribution from the forces that he believes have tried to destroy him: the Democrats, the news media and a deep state of government bureaucrats.

Several Republican senators ultimately acknowledged the heart of the House case — that Mr. Trump undertook a concerted pressure campaign on Ukraine to secure politically beneficial investigations into his rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., using nearly $400 million in military aid as leverage. Still, all but one voted to acquit and suggested it had not been a close call. Earlier, not a single House Republican had voted for impeachment, either, rendering Mr. Trump’s impeachment historically partisan.

Some Republican senators argued that the conduct was not sufficiently dangerous to warrant the Senate removing a president from office for the first time in history — and certainly not with an election so near. Others dismissed Democrats’ arguments altogether, insisting their case was merely one more attempt to dress up hatred for Mr. Trump and his policies as a constitutional case.

A few Republicans urged Mr. Trump to be more careful with his words in the future, particularly when speaking with foreign leaders, but there was no serious attempt to censure him as there was around the trial of Mr. Clinton.

Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two Republican swing votes who have tilted against the president in the past, both voted against conviction and removal. And two Democrats from traditionally red states, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, voted to convict Mr. Trump, denying him a badly wanted bipartisan acquittal.

Democrats, who had lobbied hard to include witnesses and documents that Mr. Trump shielded from the House in the Senate proceeding, wasted little time in declaring the trial a sham. Senators had been offered evidence, including testimony by the former national security adviser John R. Bolton, that would have further clarified the president’s actions and motivations, they said. All but two Republicans refused, making the trial the first impeachment proceeding in American history to reach a verdict without calling witnesses.

As they closed their case this week, the seven Democratic House managers who prosecuted the case argued that Mr. Trump would emerge emboldened in his monarchical tendencies, and that those who appeased him would be judged harshly by history. Republicans, they said, had chosen to leave the president’s future up to voters in the very election in which they believe Mr. Trump is still trying to cheat.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, made a similar case in the minutes before the vote.

“The verdict of this kangaroo court will be meaningless,” Mr. Schumer said. “By refusing the facts — by refusing witnesses and documents — the Republican majority has placed a giant asterisk, the asterisk of a sham trial, next to the acquittal of President Trump, written in permanent ink.”

Seldom used in American history, impeachment is the Constitution’s most extreme mechanism for checking a corrupt or out of control office holder. In unsheathing it, even reluctantly, House Democrats took on political risk that could backfire in November on their presidential nominee or the House majority if voters conclude the effort was an overzealous partisan attack. Senate Republicans and Democrats up for re-election in swing states may face their own judgment for their stances on including witnesses in the trial or on Mr. Trump’s guilt.

At least one Democrat, Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, glancingly acknowledged that his vote to convict would most likely contribute to his loss this fall in deeply conservative Alabama.

“There will be so many who will simply look at what I am doing today and say it is a profile in courage,” Mr. Jones said before the vote. “It is not. It is simply a matter of right and wrong.”

For now, the impeachment of Mr. Trump appears to have evenly divided the nation. Public opinion polls suggest that as the proportion of Americans grew in recent weeks who agreed that the president most likely abused his office and acted improperly to deny Congress the ability to investigate, never meaningfully more than half of the country agreed he should be removed from office.

If Mr. Trump’s standing among the public has been hurt by the trial, it is not yet evident. To the contrary, the latest Gallup poll, released on Tuesday, showed that 49 percent of Americans approved of the job he was doing as president — the highest figure since he took office three years ago.

The possibility of impeachment has hung like a cloud over Mr. Trump’s presidency virtually since it began. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, had resisted when the special counsel released the findings of his investigation into Russian election interference in 2016 and possible collaboration with the Trump campaign. Impeachment was too divisive and unlikely to gain bipartisan support, she said then.

Her calculations changed in September, when the Trump administration was forced to give the House an anonymous C.I.A. whistle-blower that accused the president of marshaling the powers of government to press Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and a theory that Democrats had colluded with Ukraine in the 2016 election. Authorizing the third impeachment inquiry in modern times, Ms. Pelosi tasked the House Intelligence Committee to investigate the scheme and build a case for impeachment.

Mr. Trump issued a blanket directive to all government agencies not to comply with the inquiry — a fateful order that robbed investigators of key witnesses and facts that could have filled out their case but which ultimately gave rise to the obstruction of Congress charge.

Still, a dozen and a half American diplomats and White House officials came forward, offering testimony in private and then in scintillating public hearings, that confirmed nearly every aspect of the whistle-blower complaint. On Dec. 18, the House voted to impeach Mr. Trump on both counts, despite their earlier pledges not to pursue a partisan impeachment.

To protect his Senate majority as much as the presidency, Mr. McConnell promised a swift acquittal and he delivered it. From the time the articles of impeachment were first read on the Senate floor to Wednesday’s vote was just 20 days. By comparison, the 1999 Clinton trial lasted five weeks and in 1868, the Senate took the better part of three months to try Johnson.

With acquittal never really in doubt, the real fight of the trial over witnesses and Mr. McConnell used the full accumulated force of his position to ensure none were called. Mr. Trump’s lawyers used their time on the Senate floor to argue that none were needed not only because the president’s behavior toward Ukraine was a legitimate expression of his concern about corruption there, but because neither charge constituted high crimes and misdemeanors.

The final shift in defenses by all but the most conservative of Mr. Trump’s allies came just last week, when The New York Times reported the first in a series of stories revealing that Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton in August that he would not release the military aid for Ukraine until the country helped out with the investigations into the Bidens and other Democrats.

Each of those decisions will loom large over history. Just as Mr. Trump’s impeachment was constantly measured against the precedents set in 1999 and 1974 and 1868, so any future one will be measured against the decisions made by House Democrats and Senate Republicans this time around.

Impeachment was seriously contemplated for a president only once in the first two centuries of the American republic; it now has been so three times since the 1970s, and two of the past four presidents have been impeached.

Reporting was contributed by Emily Cochrane, Catie Edmondson, Patricia Mazzei, Michael D. Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

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Susan Collins Announces She Will Vote to Acquit Trump, Calling Conduct ‘Wrong’

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WASHINGTON — Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said on Tuesday that she would vote to acquit President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, calling his conduct “wrong” but saying she could not support removing him from office.

“I do not believe that the House has met its burden of showing that the president’s conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of immediate removal from office,” Ms. Collins said in a speech from the Senate floor.

Ms. Collins, a moderate who is facing a steep re-election challenge this year, was one of only two Republicans to break with the party last week and vote in favor of considering new witnesses in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial. But in announcing her vote on the verdict on Tuesday, she joined a growing chorus in her party who has argued that removing the president for his misconduct little more than nine months before he faces re-election was excessive.

“It is my judgment that except when extraordinary circumstances require a different result, we should entrust to the people the most fundamental decision of a democracy — namely who should lead their country,” Ms. Collins said.

She said that Mr. Trump’s call to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in which he asked for an investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., was “improper and demonstrated very poor judgment,” but said there had been “conflicting evidence in the record” about Mr. Trump’s motivations.

In an interview with CBS, Ms. Collins said she believed that Mr. Trump had “learned from this case” and that he will be “much more cautious in the future.” But the president has never acknowledged any wrongdoing, instead insisting his call with Mr. Zelensky was “perfect.”

Ms. Collins’s speech came as senators took turns on the Senate floor on Tuesday announcing how they would vote when they render a verdict on Wednesday in the third presidential impeachment trial in the nation’s history.

The bitterly divided Senate is all but certain to acquit Mr. Trump on both charges. It would take a two-thirds vote, or 67 senators, to convict and remove him, a threshold that neither side expects to materialize.

Mr. Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential campaign on his behalf, by withholding military aid and a White House meeting to lean on the country to investigate his political rivals. The impeachment trial was not formally meeting on Tuesday, before Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. But their comments on Tuesday were the last opportunity for senators to explain their positions before voting on the verdict, and they appeared to be aimed at their constituents, their core supporters, and in some cases, the president himself.

Here’s a roundup of what other key senators said.

Taking a victory lap for what he called the “sober and stable Senate,” Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, issued a stern rebuke of the House Democrats’ case and strategy, casting it as a politically motivated attack that amounted to the “most rushed, least fair and least thorough presidential impeachment inquiry in American history.”

“Washington Democrats think President Donald Trump committed a high crime or misdemeanor the moment he defeated Hillary Clinton,” Mr. McConnell said, referring to the president’s victory in 2016. “That is the original sin of this presidency: that he won and they lost.”

In his most detailed remarks on the impeachment managers’ case to date, Mr. McConnell undercut an argument that the White House defense team had presented: that impeachment requires the violation of a criminal statue. But while Mr. McConnell said he did not subscribe to that legal theory, he condemned House Democrats all the same for sailing into “new and dangerous waters.”

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, spoke only briefly, to rebut what he called the majority leader’s talking points.

Defending the House managers’ case as “compelling,” Mr. Schumer denounced Senate Republicans for blocking his motion to consider hearing from additional witnesses — including John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser who had offered to testify — and receive more evidence. The trial they created, he said, “fails the laugh test.”

“The Republicans refused to get the evidence because they were afraid of what it would show,” Mr. Schumer said, “and that’s all that needs to be said.”

Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, who is up for re-election in November, adopted an argument similar to one outlined by Mr. Trump’s defense team on their final day of arguments: that to remove the president months before the election would be to subvert the will of voters.

“The House managers’ arguments have argued that the American people cannot be trusted to render their own judgment on this president,” Ms. Ernst said. “I reject this premise, the complete distrust of the American people, with everything in my heart.”

Ms. Ernst did not directly address the president’s conduct, but jabbed at House Democrats for trying to impose their own conventional wisdom onto how Mr. Trump conducted diplomacy. Foreign policy, Ms. Ernst said, is an “art, not a science” and “trying to insert a formula into every presidential interaction with a foreign leader,” she continued, was to veer onto a “path towards ineffectiveness.”

Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, pledged to vote to remove Mr. Trump, and lamented the Senate’s “capitulation,” a turn of events, he said, that surprised him.

“We have allowed a toxic president to infect the Senate and warp its behavior,” Mr. Kaine said. “And now the Senate’s refusal to allow a fair trial threatens to spread a broader public anxiety about whether ‘impartial justice’ is a hollow fiction.”

Mr. Kaine, known in the Senate for his optimism, sounded a dark warning, insisting that an acquittal would only embolden Mr. Trump to engage in worse conduct. “I will not be part of this continual degradation of public trust,” he said.

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Lamar Alexander, Key G.O.P. Senator, Plans to Oppose Move for New Evidence

WASHINGTON — Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said late Thursday that although he believed that Democrats had proved their case that President Trump acted “inappropriately” in his dealings with Ukraine, he did not think the president’s actions were impeachable and would vote against considering new evidence in the impeachment trial.

Mr. Alexander’s statement was a strong indication that Republicans had lined up the votes to block a call for more witnesses and documents on Friday and press toward a quick acquittal in the third presidential impeachment trial in history. His opposition was a significant victory for the White House and Republican leaders.

“The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did,” Mr. Alexander said in a late-night statement after the conclusion of a second marathon day of questioning by senators. “I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday.”

In announcing his stance, Mr. Alexander effectively conceded that the president had engaged in a corrupt effort to leverage taxpayer money to advance his own political objectives — the basis of the abuse-of-power charge against him — but said he had concluded such actions were not impeachable. He called the second charge, obstruction of Congress, “frivolous.”

“It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation,” he said in a statement released at 11 p.m. “When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.”

His announcement capped a day of intense lobbying both on the floor of the Senate and off as each side sought to appeal to a shrinking group of undecided Republicans. Shortly before Mr. Alexander declared his intentions, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, another moderate, became the second Republican to say definitively that she would vote in favor of considering new evidence, after Senator Mitt Romney of Utah.

Video

transcript

Questions at Impeachment Trial on Witnesses and Whistle-Blower

On their last day of questioning in the impeachment trial of President Trump, senators put Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the middle of the fray.

“Senator from Kentucky?” “I have a question to present to the desk for the House manager Schiff and for the president’s counsel.” “Thank you.” “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.” “The question from Senator Warren is for the House managers: At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?” “I don’t think a trial without witnesses reflects adversely on the chief justice. I do think it reflects adversely on us.” “Senators for both parties —” “Senator from South Dakota —” “The question from Senator Portman —” “The senator from Wisconsin —” “Senator Brown and Wyden —” “Mr. Chief Justice.” “Senator from Alaska?” “May I send a question to the desk?” “Thank you.” “Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?” “The House could have pursued Ambassador Bolton. The House considered whether or not they would try to have him come testify and subpoena him. They chose not to subpoena him. And it will do grave damage to this body as an institution to say that the proceedings in the House don’t have to really be complete — you don’t have to subpoena the witnesses that you think are necessary to prove your case, you don’t really have to put it all together before you bring the package here, even when you’re impeaching the president of the United States, the gravest impeachment that they could possibly consider.”

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On their last day of questioning in the impeachment trial of President Trump, senators put Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the middle of the fray.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Democrats would need four Republicans to join them in voting for a motion to consider additional witnesses and documentary requests. After Mr. Alexander and Ms. Collins made their positions clear on Thursday night, all eyes turned to a fourth possible Republican swing vote, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who said she would announce her decision on Friday.

Both parties deemed it nearly impossible that any other Republican senator would defect.

As the trial neared a critical turning point, both parties were already looking beyond the verdict and framing their arguments to voters ahead of the November elections.

“If the American people decide that they don’t like what’s happened here, that they don’t like the constitutional violations that have happened, that they don’t like the attack on a successful president for purely partisan political purposes, then they can do something about it, and they can throw them out,” said Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel.

Bracing for a likely defeat of their efforts to force witnesses to be heard at the trial, Democrats forecast what is likely to be their message after the verdict is reached, asserting that Mr. Trump’s acquittal would be illegitimate because the trial was flawed.

“He will not be acquitted,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, told reporters at her weekly news conference. “You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation.”

Even before Mr. Alexander announced his stance on witnesses, Senate Republican leaders projected confidence that they would line up the requisite votes, and privately plotted the trial’s endgame. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, spent much of Thursday toiling behind the scenes to cajole wavering moderates and stifle any move to prolong the trial by admitting additional evidence.

Asked about the looming vote as he arrived on Thursday morning to the Capitol, he told reporters: “I’m always confident.”

Ms. Murkowski appeared to be grappling with her position on Thursday evening. After the Senate broke for dinner, she submitted a question for Mr. Trump’s defense team asking why the Senate should not hear from John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser, who wrote in an unpublished book that Mr. Trump said he would not release the military aid for Ukraine until the country assisted in investigations of his political rivals.

She noted that account, reported on Sunday by The New York Times, contradicted Mr. Trump’s explicit denials that he had linked the military aid and investigations.

“This dispute about material facts weighs in favor of calling additional witnesses with direct knowledge,” Ms. Murkowski asked. “Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?”

But later, she joined with Mr. Alexander and other senators in asking Mr. Trump’s team if they agreed that even if Mr. Bolton’s account were true, the president’s conduct did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. They did.

The House Democratic prosecutors made their final pleas to call the former national security adviser as the vote drew closer.

“The truth is staring us in the eyes,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House manager. “We know why they don’t want John Bolton to testify: It’s not because we don’t know what really happened here, they just don’t want the American people to hear it in all its ugly, graphic detail.”

Mr. Alexander, a former education secretary and presidential candidate set to retire at the end of the year, met privately with Ms. Murkowski earlier Thursday evening when the trial broke for dinner and also informed Mr. McConnell of his decision.

He then returned to the floor and read a copy of “Impeachment: An American History” and hand-drafted a statement announcing a decision that even his staff did not yet know.

Mr. Alexander’s final statement made clear that he would vote to acquit Mr. Trump, as well, even if he did not condone his conduct.

“If this shallow, hurried and wholly partisan impeachment were to succeed, it would rip the country apart, pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions that already exist,” he said.

Ms. Collins gave far less insight into her thinking on the underlying charges, but said that she saw value in hearing more.

“I believe hearing from certain witnesses would give each side the opportunity to more fully and fairly make their case, resolve any ambiguities, and provide additional clarity,” she said in a statement released just before Mr. Alexander’s. “Therefore, I will vote in support of the motion to allow witnesses and documents to be subpoenaed.”

Earlier inside the Senate chamber, the usually scripted trial got off to a tense start on Thursday when Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, submitted a question that included the name of a person widely believed to be the C.I.A. whistle-blower whose anonymous complaint about Ukraine helped prompt the impeachment inquiry.

After studying the question card, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. refused to read it aloud, instead saying, “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.”

An indignant Mr. Paul then rushed out of the chamber straight to waiting television cameras to read the question aloud himself. He asked if the prosecution and defense teams were aware of reports that two government officials “may have worked together to plot impeaching the president before there were formal House impeachment proceedings.”

Mr. Paul’s move reflected how Mr. Trump’s conservative allies have sought to turn the tables on the entire inquiry, shifting the focus away from the president’s conduct and toward what they suggest was a conspiracy by his opponents to manufacture a basis for removing him.

The theme has been a favorite of the president’s, and is all but certain to figure prominently in his re-election campaign after his acquittal as he makes the case to voters that the impeachment effort was an affront to them as much as a challenge to him.

In a rare bipartisan question — one of only three out of more than 170 submitted — Ms. Murkowski and Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, asked that given the actions of any president are to some extent inherently political, how should senators distinguish between permissible political actions and impeachable ones.

Patrick Philbin, a deputy White House counsel, said trying to discern a politician’s motive “is very dangerous.”

“There is always some eye to the next election,” he said, “and it ends up becoming a standard so malleable that in reality really is a substitute for a policy difference: If we don’t like a policy difference, we attribute it to a bad motive.”

Mr. Schiff countered that impeachment was the appropriate “political punishment for a political crime” involving corrupt activity.

“If we go down that road” of ignoring a corrupt motive, Mr. Schiff said, “there is no limit to what this or any other president can do.”

The vote on Friday does not deal directly with individual witnesses or sets of documents. Rather, it will resolve whether the trial should even consider calling additional witnesses and evidence.

If a majority of senators vote no, Republican leaders could move the proceeding to final deliberations and a speedy up or down vote on each article of impeachment, possibly as early as Friday. If they vote yes, the trial would blow open and could become a free-for-all in which any group of 51 senators could band together to issue subpoenas for testimony and records of their choosing.

But senators in both parties were also bracing for the distinct possibility that the witness and documents vote could end in a 50-50 tie. Such an outcome would put Chief Justice Roberts in a difficult position. There is precedent, drawn from the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, of a chief justice casting a tiebreaking vote on a procedural motion. But despite Democratic hopes, Chief Justice Roberts is unlikely to want entangle himself in a dispute that has been so thoroughly politicized.

If the chief justice abstained from breaking a tie, the motion would fail.

Michael D. Shear, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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