How Donald Trump reacted to his acquittal - and how he could complete his victory

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

The President is suddenly free. Free of impeachment charges, free of the fear that he will be marched out of the White House.

So what will he do with this golden political opportunity ahead of the presidential election in nine months? Will he address the American people, express some remorse, and try and heal the nation? (That was the strategy adopted by Bill Clinton after he was acquitted in 1999).

Well, we received the predictable answer overnight, within hours of his trial wrapping up in the Senate.

Trump’s first action was to troll his Democratic opponents by retweeting a video that suggested he would stay as President for decades to come.

His second action was to post on Twitter a menacing attack on Mitt Romey.

The senator from Utah had shown the courage of his convictions and voted to convict Trump on the first Article of Impeachment, abuse of power. The ugly reaction from the White House and its surrogates was immediate.

Democrats are taking some comfort in the belief that the President has been tarnished in the history books. As Senator Chuck Schumer put it, there will always be a giant asterisk next to Trump’s name, and his Senate acquittal will be seen in the future as “valueless.”

But the reality is that Democrats have been brutally defeated by the iron-like discipline of the Republican Party. They face a difficult and ideologically divisive nominating process to find a candidate to face Trump in November.

The economy is working in the President’s favour, and his national approval rating is ticking up.

So these are dark and unsettling days for Democrats, many of whom fear that the president will now be emboldened and unrestrained. They believe that America is now confronting a lawless leader who no longer needs to fear Congress, a co-equal branch of government.

Donald Trump has outsmarted the Founding Fathers, they fear, by escaping the Framers’ constitutional remedy for exactly this kind of rogue presidency.

Democrats in Congress gambled on impeachment and failed.

They have one more shot. It doesn’t involve committees or investigations. It doesn’t involve witnesses or documents.

It involves the American people voting Trump out of office in November.

It that fails, Donald J. Trump’s victory will be complete.