On Wednesday evening, President Trump's Senate impeachment trial finally came to a conclusion with a vote: to charge or to acquit. All 100 Senators voted on two charges against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — after he used foreign interference for possible political gain in the Ukraine scandal.
With the surprising exception of Mitt Romney, who actually voted in favour of Trump's abuse of power against the Republican-majority, the 48-52 and 47-53 final party-line poll was not enough to remove Trump for office. Trump was ultimately acquitted of all charges against him after a five-month Congressional investigation.
Although the outcome was pretty much what we expected, following the final verdict, over 200 protests popped up across the U.S. Unlike the Senators who were divided in their ultimate decision, this crowd's message was quite united: "Trump is guilty." The protests, called "Reject the cover-up," amassed a ton of demonstrators in front of capitol buildings throughout the U.S. and even in front of the State Capitol with slogans that took a specific jab at the "sham" trial process.
This outpouring of frustration follows a heated two-week Senate trial where Democrats, under the leadership of House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, called for former national security advisor John Bolton to testify before the Senate. Bolton's unpublished manuscript alleged that Trump said he would continue withholding millions in military aid to the Ukraine until they agreed to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
But, the Senate now-famously refused to allow Bolton to testify in the trial, thanks in part of Senate Majority Leader "Midnight" Mitch McConnell. This ignited huge protests and calls to action against McConnell and the impeachment process, with one company even sending all Republican senators coded cakes demanding that Bolton testify.
Now that Trump is acquitted of all charges and can run for re-election, protestors are refusing to let the holes in the justice system go unnoticed. With signs reading "Nobody is above the law" and "Acquittal by Republicans = nail in the coffin of democracy," the message from anti-Trump rallies are clearly standing inherently against the entire impeachment hearing process.
"He was acquitted, but there is no doubt of his guilt — everybody, including the Republicans, know that he is guilty," Christine, a rally organizer told Channel 10 news in Michigan. "They just don't want to punish him. We believe that they should know, we are not going to accept this."
Protestors were not the only ones to speak out against the final verdict, though. Following the Senate vote, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley spoke to a crowd outside of Capitol Hill calling the acquittal of Donald Trump a "sham" and a "betrayal." “I will focus my ire on Senate Republicans,” Pressley said, according to a USA TODAY report. “Shame on you, Mitch McConnell.”
The Democratic-led House of Representatives promises to continue investigating Trump, particularly with a subpoena of Bolton. It's unclear what will come of a continued investigation in the heat of an election year, but the opposition to Trump's acquittal remains powerfully unwavering.