Photo: US President Donald Trump giving a statement after the conclusion of impeachment proceedings
By Mike Talavera
A Senate vote that was divided almost strictly along party lines has acquitted US President Donald Trump of the two articles of impeachment approved by the House last December, one for ‘abuse of office’ and the other for ‘obstruction of justice.’
Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney was the only Republican to join Democrats in voting to convict, but the ‘guilty’ votes were far short of the 67 needed to officially impeach the president.
Calls for impeachment had come almost immediately after Trump was elected, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had not openly supported the initiative until last September when an anonymous intelligence officer accused the president of engaging in inappropriate dealings with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, namely asking for the Ukrainian government to investigate US Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings with the country.
Racing through proceedings that revealed insights into the Trump administration’s foreign policy with Europe in general, Democrats hurried to push impeachment forward in December to keep pace with the coming election year. For both Democrats and Republicans, the trial has served as a stage for promoting their electoral campaigns.
The day before his acquittal, Trump delivered his State of the Union address where he did not mention impeachment at all, using it instead as a campaign rally with reality-show-like elements, although he did refuse to shake Pelosi’s hand. Today, with “acquittal” on newspaper headlines, Trump has spent the day gloating about his win over the Democrats.
Even if Trump had been found guilty, it is unlikely that he would have been removed from office anytime soon. The Democrats were aware that the chances of convicting Trump were slim, but it was the theater of impeachment, not the outcome, that they hoped would appeal to their base. They thought all the speeches, all the dramatic press conferences, all the presentations of evidence would make it seem like they were doing something other than campaigning for the upcoming election.
Despite the partisanship on display during the impeachment trial, Democrats and Republicans remain united in keeping US imperialism on its destructive path. Whether it’s passing a $4.6 billion ‘border bill’ last year reinforcing Trump’s fascist policies against immigrants, or passing crippling sanctions on oppressed nations like Iran, Democrats and Republicans get things done when it comes to advancing the interests of monopoly capital, even if they disagree on who should be leading the US state.
Trump’s acquittal will not stop the crises that continue to hound US imperialist society. The “roaring” US economy, as Trump described it during the state of the union, is experiencing modest growth only due to the deep exploitation and oppression of the world’s vast majority.