WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump won impeachment acquittal Wednesday in the U.S. Senate, bringing to a close only the third presidential trial in American history with votes that split the country, tested civic norms and fed the tumultuous 2020 race for the White House.
With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, senators sworn to do “impartial justice” stood and stated their votes for the roll call — “guilty” or “not guilty” — in a swift tally almost exclusively along party lines. Trump, the chief justice then declared, shall “be, and is hereby, acquitted of the charges.”
The outcome followed months of remarkable impeachment proceedings, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House to Mitch McConnell’s Senate, reflecting the nation’s unrelenting partisan divide three years into the Trump presidency.
What started as Trump’s request for Ukraine to “do us a favor” spun into a far-reaching, 28,000-page report compiled by House investigators accusing an American president of engaging in shadow diplomacy that threatened U.S. foreign relations for personal, political gain as he pressured the ally to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of the next election.
No president has ever been removed by the Senate.
A politically emboldened Trump had eagerly predicted vindication, deploying the verdict as a political anthem in his reelection bid. The president claims he did nothing wrong, decrying the “witch hunt” as an extension of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian 2016 campaign interference by those out to get him from the start of his presidency.
Trump’s political campaign tweeted videos, statements and a cartoon dance celebration, while the president himself tweeted that he would speak Thursday from the White House about “our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax.”
However, the Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said there will always be “a giant asterisk next to the president’s acquittal” because of the Senate’s quick trial and Republicans’ unprecedented rejection of witnesses.
A majority of senators expressed unease with Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine that resulted in the two articles of impeachment. But two-thirds of them would have had to vote “guilty” to reach the Constitution’s bar of high crimes and misdemeanors to convict and remove Trump from office. The final tallies in the GOP-held Senate fell far short.
On the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, the vote was 52-48 favoring acquittal. The second, obstruction of Congress, also produced a not guilty verdict, 53-47.
Only one Republican, Mitt Romney of Utah, the party’s defeated 2012 presidential nominee, broke with the GOP.
Romney choked up as he said he drew on his faith and “oath before God” to vote guilty on the first charge, abuse of power. He voted to acquit on the second.
All Democrats found the president guilty on the two charges.
Both Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868 drew cross-party support when they were left in office after impeachment trials. Richard Nixon resigned rather than face sure impeachment, expecting members of his own party to vote to remove him.
Ahead of Wednesday’s voting, some of the most closely watched senators took to the Senate floor to tell their constituents, and the nation, what they had decided.
Influential GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee worried a guilty verdict would “pour gasoline on the fire” of the nation’s culture wars over Trump and “rip the country apart.’’
He said the House proved its case but it just didn’t rise to the level of impeachment.
Other Republicans siding with Trump said it was time to end what McConnell called the “circus” and move on.
Most Democrats, though, echoed the House managers’ warnings that Trump, if left unchecked, would continue to abuse the power of his office for personal political gain and try to cheat again ahead of the the 2020 election.
Even key Democrats from states where Trump is popular — Doug Jones in Alabama and Joe Manchin in West Virginia — risked backlash and voted to convict.
“Senators are elected to make tough choices,” Jones said.
Several senators trying to win the Democratic Party’s nomination to face Trump — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar — dashed back from early primary state New Hampshire to vote.
During the nearly three-week trial, House Democrats prosecuting the case argued that Trump abused power like no other president in history when he pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, ahead of the 2020 election.
They detailed an extraordinary effort by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani that set off alarms at the highest levels of government. After Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine, the White House temporarily halted U.S. aid to the struggling ally battling hostile Russia at its border. The money was eventually released in September as Congress intervened.
When the House probed Trump’s actions, the president instructed White House aides to defy congressional subpoenas, leading to the obstruction charge.
Questions from the Ukraine matter continue to swirl. House Democrats may yet summon former national security adviser John Bolton to testify about revelations from his forthcoming book that offer a fresh account of Trump’s actions. Other eyewitnesses and documents are almost sure to surface.
In closing arguments for the trial, the lead prosecutor, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., appealed to senators’ sense of decency, insisting “right matters” and “truth matters” and Trump “is not who you are.’’
Schiff told The Associated Press he hoped the votes to convict “will serve as a constraint on the president’s wrongdoing.”
“But we’re going to have to be vigilant,” he said.
Pelosi was initially reluctant to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump when she took control of the House after the 2018 election, warning against a partisan vote.
But a whistleblower complaint of his conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy set off alarms. The president’s call was placed the day after Mueller announced the findings of his Russia probe.
When Trump told Pelosi in September that the call was perfect, she was stunned. Days later, the speaker announced the formal impeachment inquiry.
The result was the quickest, most partisan impeachment in U.S. history, with no Republicans joining the House Democrats to vote for the charges. The Republican Senate kept up the pace with the fastest trial ever, and the first with no witnesses. Seventeen ambassadors, national security officials and others had testified in the House.
Trump’s star attorney Alan Dershowitz made the sweeping, if stunning, assertion that even if the president engaged in the quid pro quo as described, it is not impeachable, because politicians often equate their own political interest with the national interest.
McConnell braced for dissent, but with a 53-47 Republican majority he refuted efforts to prolong the trial with more witnesses, arguing the House should have done a better job.
Roberts, as the rare court of impeachment came to a close, wished senators well in “our common commitment to the Constitution,” and hoped to meet again “under happier circumstances.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had been drawn into the Ukraine affair, signed off on the Senate judgment later Wednesday. “Tonight, it was my pleasure to sign President @realDonaldTrump’s full acquittal,” he tweeted.
Central Community College-Hastings industrial technology students gathered around their CNC machines, metal lathes and laser cutters in the Hamilton Building. Each of them wore a shirt that said “Eat, Sleep, Machine.”
For those students, the “machine” part of their college careers just got bigger.
“It’s great seeing the students faces light up when they come in. They show up early, and they want to stay late,” said Troy Davis, an advanced manufacturing design technology instructor. “To teach in here is phenomenal.”
CCC recently finished the first phase of its Hamilton Building construction project, expanding the space for the advanced manufacturing design technology program.
Hundreds of stakeholders, including CCC faculty, alumni and local high school representatives, showed up for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning and toured the open parts of the facility.
The $10 million project was funded half by the college’s reserves and half with donations. The $5 million donation goal was met six months ahead of schedule, pushing the groundbreaking up to September 2018.
The first phase was planned to finish in fall 2019, but weather pushed construction back. The phase adds 17,000 square feet to the south side of the existing Hamilton Building.
The second phase, which will renovate the Hamilton Building to expand the welding program, is expected to finish later this year. That planned completion date also was pushed back due to the weather. When complete, the building will more than double its footprint to 32,000 square feet.
The building addition expansion creates more space for students and machines during classes, and expands the student capacity for the program.
“In our last space we had pretty well run out of space,” said Mark Funkey, associate dean of skilled and technical sciences. “It was becoming a problem as far as sight lines for safety and just facilitating for the teacher.”
Funkey said that with the new facility, CCC will be able to about double the number of students in the advanced manufacturing design technology program. Normally, the program can hold 40-50 students. Now, it should be able to take 70-80.
Funkey said there already has been a bump up in the number of students taking skilled and technical science programs at CCC.
Davis said the building addition lets instructors position equipment more efficiently. A lot of equipment also was replaced and upgraded.
Davis hopes the new space will help get workers to the manufacturers in CCC’s 24-county territory. He said on average, a graduate could have his or her pick of eight to 10 jobs.
“I hope we’re able to meet the needs of manufacturers in the service area — meet or exceed,” Davis said.
This new facility will make the program one of the premier, if not the premier, manufacturing programs in the state, Funkey said. He said while having the facility makes CCC more appealing to students, the goal is to get more people into manufacturing.
“There’s other great programs, and honestly, we need all of them in the state because manufacturing needs employees,” Funkey said.
Jerry Wallace, CCC-Hastings campus president; Dean Moors, executive director of the CCC Foundation; and College President Matt Gotschall all spoke during the ribbon cutting.
Mike Flood of Norfolk offered insight into looking toward a future of keeping young talent in rural communities during a presentation Wednesday at the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.
Flood said a group examined the problem in Norfolk, but Hastings shares a similar demographic. He said rural communities in Nebraska lose a lot of population in the 20s age group, creating a problem for sustaining growth. He said the communities are great places to raise a family, but that isn’t of interest to that age group, which causes them to leave the area.
In order to combat the problem, Flood said Norfolk has started work to relocate businesses that employ young people into an area downtown. He said the goal is to make it easier for them to connect with one another as a way to encourage them to stay in the community.
He commended the progress Hastings has made with its downtown area.
“You’ve got exactly what we’re trying to develop in Norfolk,” he said.
Incoming board chair Eric Kennedy with Amish Furniture of Nebraska said he is ready for the challenge of serving on the board.
“It’s really going to be an exciting year,” he said.
Several awards were presented during the meeting, included the Outstanding Community Service Award, Max Award, Pioneer Spirit Award, and businesses of the year. A short video presentation followed each announcement.
Joe Patterson won the Outstanding Community Service Award, which honors individuals who have helped write the modern history of Hastings with outstanding credentials in business, education or community service.
Dave Ptak presented the award on behalf of the award’s sponsor, Bruckman Rubber Company. He pointed out that people in municipal service are seldom recognized for things done well. He said the work Patterson began with the Hastings Parks and Recreation Department has added a lot to the quality of life in the community.
Patterson served as the department’s director for 20 years before becoming the city administrator.
“Serving one community for 41 years is almost unheard of for municipal service,” Patterson said in his video presentation.
In accepting the award, Patterson thanked his wife Sherri for helping him and the community along the way.
“She’s volunteered to help in so many ways,” he said. “She’s as deserving of this award as me.”
The Max Award went posthumously to Larry Rader. The award recognizes individuals or organizations who offered significant contribution to the chamber or community in recent months.
Dean Moors with the Central Community College Foundation presented the award, noting working with Rader on many projects over the years — including the deck on his house.
“Larry and Judy were very generous with their time,” he said.
In the video presentation, Judy said her husband had a special connection with the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce. He also helped the chamber build its current facility.
“He did dearly love this community and this chamber,” she said.
Rader’s grandson, Dustin, was among the family members accepting the award. He said Rader never would have passed up an opportunity to have an open microphone and likely would have offered great appreciation for the chamber.
“Grandpa had a very, very special place in his heart for you,” Dustin said. “It seems extremely fitting that he receive this award.”
Allen’s of Hastings received the Pioneer Spirit Award, which recognizes a company that has made significant contributions to the community in leadership and philanthropy for at least 20 years.
Owner Georgene Allen accepted the award and thanked her staff for all their efforts over the years to help the store succeed.
“We are appreciative of their hard work and perseverance,” she said in her video presentation.
The Eagles Club received the Non-Profit Business of the Year award.
Adam Primm with Hastings Ford Lincoln presented the award, sharing a story from his time at the Eagles Club when he accidentally bought six pies and he ended up sharing them and chatting with others at the club.
“It’s a group of friends helping other people,” he said.
Liz Gartner, president of the Eagles Aerie 592, accepted the award for the club. She said she believed they were nominated for the award based on their willingness to host a wide variety of events, especially for nonprofit groups.
“We offer something not a lot of other places can offer,” she said.
JM Eagle won the Business of the Year with more than 25 employees. Darin Brown, plant manager in Hastings, accepted the award. He said he felt honored for being recognized for the company’s contributions to the community.
Redline Speciality Pharmacy was named Business of the Year with up to 25 employees. Owners Tim and Hilarie Redline accepted the award following a video presentation.
“Our hope is we were nominated for this award because we are invested in the community and give back to the community,” Hilarie said in the video.
NEW YORK — He was born Issur Danielovitch, a ragman’s son. He died Kirk Douglas, a Hollywood king.
Douglas, the muscular, tempestuous actor with the dimpled chin, lived out an epic American story of reinvention and perseverance, from the riches he acquired and risked to the parts he took on and the boundaries he defied. Among the most popular, versatile and recognizable leading men of the 20th century, he could will himself into a role or a favorite cause as mightily as he willed himself out of poverty.
Douglas, who died Wednesday at 103, was a force for change and symbol of endurance. He is remembered now as a final link to a so-called “Golden Age,” the father of Oscar winner Michael Douglas and a man nearly as old as the industry itself. But in his prime, he represented a new kind of performer, more independent and adventurous than Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and other greats of the studio era of the 1930s and 1940s, and more willing to speak his mind.
His career began at the peak of the studios’ power and ended in a more diverse, decentralized age that he helped bring about.
Reaching stardom after World War II, he was as likely to play cads (the movie producer in “Bad and the Beautiful,” the journalist in “Ace in the Hole”) as he was suited for the hero-slave in “Spartacus,” as alert to the business as he was at home before the camera. He was producing his own films at a time most movie stars were content to act and was working with an enviable range of directors, from a young Stanley Kubrick to a middle-aged John Huston, from a genius of noir like Jacques Tourneur to such master satirists as Billy Wilder and Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
Acting served as escape and as confession. His favorite among dozens of films was the contemporary Western “Lonely are the Brave,” which came out in 1962 and included a line of dialogue Douglas called the most personal he ever spoke: “I’m a loner clear down deep to my very guts.”
He never won a competitive Oscar, but he received an honorary one, along with a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute, an honorary Golden Globe and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
His standing came in part from his role in the downfall of Hollywood’s blacklist, which halted and ruined the careers of writers suspected of pro-Communist activity or sympathies.
By the end of the 1950s, the use of banned writers was widely known within the industry, but not to the general public. Douglas, who years earlier had reluctantly signed a loyalty oath to get the starring role in “Lust for Life,” delivered a crucial blow when he openly credited the blacklisted Oscar winner Dalton Trumbo for script work on “Spartacus,” the Roman epic about a slave rebellion that was released in 1960. (A few months before, Otto Preminger had announced Trumbo’s name would appear on the credits for “Exodus,” but “Spartacus” came out first.)
“Everybody advised me not to do it because you won’t be able to work in this town again and all of that. But I was young enough to say to hell with it,” Douglas, criticized at times for taking undue credit for bringing down the blacklist, said about “Spartacus” in a 2011 interview with The Associated Press. “I think if I was much older, I would have been too conservative: ‘Why should I stick my neck out?’ ”
The most famous words in a Douglas movie were said about him, not by him, in “Spartacus.” Roman officials tell a gathering of slaves their lives will be spared if they identify their leader. As Douglas rises, a growing chorus of slaves jump up and shout, “I’m Spartacus!” Douglas stands silently, a tear rolling down his face.
Life was not a role to be underplayed. His outbursts frightened co-workers and family members alike. He was compulsive about preparing for movies and a supreme sufferer on camera, whether stabbed by scissors in Wilder’s “Ace in the Hole” or crucified in “Spartacus.”
Critic David Thomson dubbed Douglas “the manic-depressive among Hollywood stars, one minute bearing down on plot, dialogue and actresses with the gleeful appetite of a man just freed from Siberia, at other times writhing not just in agony but mutilation and a convincingly horrible death.”
While filming “Lust for Life,” he was so caught up in Vincent van Gogh he feared becoming suicidal himself.
Douglas recounted in his memoir that John Wayne yelled at him for playing “a part like that.”
“We got to play strong, tough characters. Not those weak queers,” Wayne said.
Responded Douglas: ‘’Hey, John, I’m an actor. I like to play interesting roles. It’s all make-believe, John. It isn’t real. You’re not really John Wayne, you know.’’
Issur Danielovitch was born in 1916 to an impoverished Jewish family in Amsterdam, New York. His name evolved over time. He called himself Isidore Demsky until he graduated from St. Lawrence University. He took the name Kirk Douglas as he worked his way through the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, choosing “Douglas” because he wanted his last name still to begin with “D” and “Kirk” because he liked the hard, jagged sound of the “K.”
Douglas was a performer as early as kindergarten, when he recited a poem about the red robin of spring. He was a star in high school, and in college he wrestled and built the physique that was showcased in many of his movies. He was determined, hitchhiking to St. Lawrence and convincing the dean to approve a student loan. And he was tough. One of his strongest childhood memories was of flinging a spoonful of hot tea into the face of his intimidating father.
“I have never done anything as brave in any movie,” he later wrote.
Beginning in 1941, Douglas won a series of small roles on Broadway, served briefly in the Navy and received a key Hollywood break when an old friend from New York, Lauren Bacall, recommended he play opposite Barbara Stanwyck in “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.”
He gained further attention as a tough guy in the classic 1947 film noir “Out of the Past,” although a more typical role was as a school teacher in Mankiewicz’s Oscar-winning “A Letter to Three Wives.” His real breakthrough came as an unscrupulous boxer in 1949’s “Champion,” a low-budget film produced by a then-little known Stanley Kramer that his agents disparaged.
“With dire warnings about my career and my future, they gave up on me, writing me off as just another crazy New York actor who didn’t know what he was doing,” Douglas recalled in his memoir “The Ragman’s Son,” published in 1988.
He had long desired creative control and “Champion” was followed by a run of successes that gave him the clout to form Bryna Productions (named after his mother) in 1955, and a second company later. Many of his movies, such as Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory,” “The Vikings,” “Spartacus” and “Seven Days in May,” were produced by his companies. Other highlights included the acclaimed crime drama “Detective Story” and the Oscar-winning adaptation of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
Douglas very much lived like a movie star, or even a king, in the pre-#MeToo era. Marriage and other commitments didn’t keep him from being romantically linked with many of his female co-stars, among them Gene Tierney, Patricia Neal and Marlene Dietrich. He would recall playing Ann Sothern’s husband in “A Letter to Three Wives” and how he and the actress “rehearsed the relationship offstage.”
Speaking to The Associated Press about Douglas in December 2016, less than a year before the #MeToo movement caught on, the actress and dancer Neile Adams lightheartedly said of her friend, “You could not sit beside him without his hand crawling up your leg.”
His first marriage, to Diana Dill, ended in 1951. Three years later, he married Anne Buydens, whom he met in Paris while he was filming “Act of Love” (and eagerly pursuing a young Italian actress) and she was a publicist.
He would later owe his very life to Anne, to whom he was married more than 60 years despite acknowledged tension over his infidelities.
In 1958, the film producer Michael Todd, then the husband of Elizabeth Taylor, offered the actor a ride on his private jet. Douglas’ wife insisted that he not go, worrying about a private plane, and he eventually gave in. The plane crashed, killing all on board.
Douglas had two children with each of his wives and all went into show business, against their father’s advice. Besides Michael, they are Joel and Peter, both producers, and Eric, an actor with several film credits who died of a drug overdose in 2004.
Later generations came to know Michael well. Michael Douglas not only thrived in Hollywood, but beat his dad to the Oscars with a project his father had first desired. Kirk Douglas tried for years to make a film out of Ken Kesey’s cult novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” In the 1970s, he gave up and let Michael have a try.
The younger Douglas produced a classic that starred Jack Nicholson as rebel Randle Patrick McMurphy (the role Kirk Douglas wanted to play) and dominated the Oscars, winning for best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay.
“My father has played up his disappointment with that pretty good,” Michael Douglas later told Vanity Fair. “I have to remind him, I shared part of my producing back-end (credit) with him, so he ended up making more money off that movie than he had in any other picture.”
“And I would gladly give back every cent, if I could have played that role,” the elder Douglas replied.
When his movie career faded, Douglas turned to other media. In the 1970s and 1980s, he did several notable television films, including “Victory at Entebbe” and “Amos.” His film credits in the ‘70s and ‘80s included De Palma’s “The Fury” and a comedy, “Tough Guys,” that co-starred Burt Lancaster, his longtime friend who previously appeared with Douglas in “Seven Days in May,” “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” and other movies.
A stroke in 1996 seemed to end his film career, but Douglas returned three years later with “Diamonds,” which he made after struggling to overcome speech problems.
“I thought I would never make another movie unless silent movies came back,” he joked.
He would say he became more reflective in his 70s, especially after a 1991 helicopter crash that killed two other passengers, and began a prolific writing career. His books included “The Ragman’s Son,” the novels “Dance With the Devil” and “The Gift” and a short work on the making of “Spartacus.”
Douglas also was one of Hollywood’s leading philanthropists. The Douglas Foundation, which he and Anne Douglas co-founded, has donated millions to a wide range of institutions, from the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to the Motion Picture & Television Fund. In 2015, the foundation endowed the Kirk Douglas Fellowship — a full-tuition, 2-year scholarship — at the American Film Institute.
In 2003, Douglas teamed with son Michael; Cameron Douglas, Michael’s 24-year-old son; and ex-wife Diana Douglas, Michael’s mother, for “It Runs in the Family,” a comic drama with a few digs worked in about the elder Douglas’ parenting.
In March 2009, he appeared in a one-man show, “Before I Forget,” recounting his life and famous friends. The four-night show in the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City was sold out.
“You know, I never wanted to be a movie actor,” Douglas told the AP in 2009. “My goal in life was to be a star on the stage. Now I know how to do it. Build your own theater.”