The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump ended in acquittal Wednesday, Feb. 5 with votes falling largely along party lines.
The final vote for Article One, abuse of power, was 48 guilty votes and 52 not guilty votes while Article Two, obstruction of Congress, was 47 guilty votes and 53 not guilty votes. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah was the only Republican to vote guilty for Article One.
Logan Stenseng, president of the University of Kansas Young Democrats, said the general reaction of Democrats everywhere can be characterized as one of “frustration with a corrupt political system.”
"The most succinct way to describe it is that the House and Senate Republicans abandoned the Constitution, abandoned the truth, the rule of law and ultimately the public interest in order to serve the interest of the president over everything else,” Stenseng said.
“The Democratic party understands that their obligation, their responsibility is to the American people and not to a president.There's no hiding now that Republicans don’t serve the people’s interest and were never interested in a transparent investigation into Trump's conduct," he continued.
The trial began about a month after the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on the two articles. The final vote for the first article was 230 in favor and 197 against while the second was 229 favorable votes and 197 against.
Because the House voted in favor of both articles of impeachment, the president has been impeached. However, since the Senate voted to acquit the president, he will remain in office for the rest of his term.
“[The acquittal is] about us acquitting a president that abused the powers he held in the most powerful office in the world," said Macie Clawson, a University of Kansas senior studying political science. "It is us sending a message to the American public and the international community that we will allow President Trump to do nefarious things and will allow him to continue to do nefarious things.”
“It makes me scared for the future of our democracy, our ability to unify in times of crisis and my ability to enact change in what appears to be a broken system,” Clawson continued.
For many University of Kansas students, this has been the first impeachment trial of their lives. However, political science professor Patrick Miller said it does not have a large impact on students at the University, but students should still be informed about what is happening in their government.
“It really doesn't [affect KU students], at least directly. It only affects KU students in the sense that it is something important that is happening to our larger democracy,” Miller said. “If you care about constitutional processes and the balance of power between our governmental institutions, then it affects you.”
While it may not directly affect students at the University, the impeachment helps draw the line on what is an impeachable offense, Miller said. He also added that Trump’s actions bring up questions about the balance of power between federal institutions.
“Politics aside, I think that the vote wasn’t conducted in the most fair way possible. I would have liked for the Senate to have heard witnesses so that they could make the most well-educated decision,” said Hannah Feldman, a senior from Atlanta studying English and Jewish studies.
Feldman continued to scrutinize the process of the impeachment trial itself, expressing that she felt it was solely based on party lines.
“It seemed like it was a partisan vote, and I think that we as citizens deserve better from our politicians," Feldman said. "It seemed like nationalism and partisanship was more important than honesty and integrity, and, again, politics aside, I would have liked at least the pretense of a true, useful trial.”
Political science lecturer Alan Arwine said before the House voted to impeach the president that the impeachment could hurt Democrats, such as Rep. Sharice Davids, who represent red districts.
“There isn't really any evidence that the process is motivating voters in either party more than the other, or that it is motivating many people at all," Miller said. "We'll have to see how this plays out over the course of the campaign.”
Paige Harding, the vice chair of the KU College Republicans, said she is glad the impeachment is finally over.
“I’m glad he got acquitted, and I hope that Congress goes back to doing the job that they’re supposed to do,” Harding said. “They work for the American people, and I don’t think that they've put America’s people as their main interest. I hope that all of this impeachment stuff is behind us and they get back to doing their job because they work for us.”