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West Virginia U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, often seen as one of the most moderate and Trump-friendly Democrats in the Senate, voted Wednesday along party lines to convict President Donald Trump on both Articles of Impeachment.
While the 67-vote threshold for convicting the president was viewed as nearly insurmountable with Republicans holding a 53 seat majority in the Senate, Manchin remained undecided about how he would vote until Wednesday.
In the end, though, Trump was acquitted on both Articles of Impeachment. The first, which charged him with abusing the power of his office, failed on a 48-52 vote. The second article, charging Trump of obstructing Congress by blocking White House officials from responding to House subpoenas, was downed 47-53.
West Virginia’s senior senator has supported Trump in other controversial votes, including the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in October 2018. Manchin was re-elected to another six-year term in November 2018.
The president remains favorable in West Virginia — where he won the state by more than 40 percentage points in 2016.
But Wednesday, Manchin said in a statement that the evidence brought forth by House managers “clearly supports the charges brought against the President.”
He condemned Republicans for blocking additional witnesses during the impeachment trial. Manchin also took issue with the president taking “executive privilege” in blocking testimony from White House officials who were subpoenaed by House Democrats.
“Voting whether or not to remove a sitting President has been a truly difficult decision, and after listening to the arguments presented by both sides, I have reached my conclusion reluctantly,” Manchin said. “I take no pleasure in these votes, and am saddened this is the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren. I have always wanted this President, and every President to succeed, but I deeply love our country and must do what I think is best for the nation.”
On Monday, Manchin proposed publicly condemning Trump’s actions toward Ukraine through a censure resolution. At the time, Manchin said he was unsure of how he would vote on the Articles of Impeachment.
Belinda Biafore, who serves as chairwoman of the West Virginia Democratic Party, applauded Manchin’s votes to convict Trump on the Articles of Impeachment.
“We proudly stand with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin in defending our nation, the Constitution, and all that we stand for as Americans,” Biafore said in a Wednesday statement. “No one is above the law and that includes President Donald Trump.”
U.S Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., voted to acquit the president on both Articles of Impeachment.