The third presidential impeachment trial in US history came to a close on Wednesday.
It ended largely as expected — with an acquittal of President Donald Trump by the Republican-led Senate, which found him to be not guilty of the two articles of impeachment passed by the House.
GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah delivered the final curveball ahead of the afternoon’s vote, becoming the only member of his party to vote with the Democrats to convict Trump of abuse of power, in a 52-48 not guilty vote. Romney voted with the Republicans to acquit on the second article, obstruction of Congress, bringing that not guilty vote to 53-47.
Romney had harshly criticized Trump in his floor speech announcing how he would vote ahead of Wednesday’s session: “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.”
His vote came as a surprise, and GOP pushback to Romney was swift.
“It’s a disappointment, but at the end of the day it makes no difference,” Vice President Mike Pence said before the vote. “The President of the United States will be acquitted.”
The Point: After so much uncertainty, the impeachment trial is over. On to the next news cycle.