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Donald Trump: the 45th US President - and only the third to be impeached

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Donald Trump: the 45th US President - and only the third to be impeached
Copyright  AP Photo/Evan Vucci
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The impeachment charges against Donald Trump were based on allegations that he pressured his newly-elected Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate the business affairs of Joe Biden's son Hunter in Ukraine. Trump blocked but later released payment of a $400 million military aid package mandated by congress to allegedly obtain cooperation from Zelenskyy.

Democrats argued that leaked documents revealed Trump had abused his power in trying to link Biden to a corruption scandal that he hoped would undermine his challenger's presidential hopes.

It led to a vote in the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives - and Donald Trump becoming only the third US president in history to be impeached. The accused claimed it was just another 'Democrat hoax'.

At a rally in Michigan in December 2019 on the night the House Of Representatives voted to impeach him, Trump insisted it was politically motivated:

"Through their depraved actions today, crazy Nancy Pelosi’s House Democrats have branded themselves with an eternal mark of shame. It really is. It's a disgrace."

But the process _is_ as much political as it is judicial, and in the majority Republican Senate, the President was aquitted.

Trump proclaimed the outcome as a total vindication of his innocence and evidence of a Democrat conspiracy to oust him by whatever means they could.

The impeachment saga deepened hostilities on Capital Hill. Nancy Pelosi reinforced her contempt by ripping up Trump's State of the Union address, normally a bipartisan event.

The tone was set for the most divisive presidential election of modern times.