The nation spent 134 days discussing whether President Donald Trump’s actions justify his removal from office. With the final impeachment vote in the rear-view mirror, the question becomes what happens next.
Here are 3 things to watch for:
An uncomfortable next few weeks for Sen. Romney.
Trump was reportedly livid that Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah voted in favor of ousting him. Romney was the only Republican to do so, calling the president’s actions an “appalling abuse of public trust” and “flagrant assault on our electoral rights.”
It was the first time in history that a senator broke ranks with his party on an impeachment vote, raising questions about whether Romney – who isn’t up for re-election for another four years – will be ostracized by his colleagues.
Donald Trump Jr. was quick to suggest kicking Romney out of the party.
“Mitt Romney is forever bitter that he will never be POTUS,” Trump Jr tweeted. “He was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he’s joining them now. He’s now officially a member of the resistance & should be expelled from the @GOP.”
Trump Jr. also posted a meme on Instagram calling Romney the same slur for female genitalia that his father was caught on tape using on the set for a 2005 “Access Hollywood”
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale called Romney an “irrelevant relic.”
“Let’s call it what it is,” Parscale tweeted. “You’re sour about Trump’s success and you want to keep your elitist dinner invites.”
The Republican establishment was more restrained. Ronna McDaniel, who chairs the Republican National Committee and who happens to be Romney’s niece, said it wasn’t the first time she disagreed with her uncle.
“I, along with the @GOP, stand with President Trump,” she said.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed any suggestion that Romney was in the “doghouse.”
“We don’t have any doghouses here,” he said. “The most important vote is the next vote.”
Talk of John Bolton testimony, an investigation into Hunter Biden
Left lingering following the lengthy House inquiry and relatively brief Senate trial is the issue of whether Congress – and the public – will ever hear from Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton.
Late last month, The New York Times reported that Bolton wrote in an unpublished manuscript for his upcoming book that Trump directed him to help in pressuring Ukrainian officials to dig up dirt on Democrats.
Trump denied the allegation.
The House never subpoenaed Bolton in its inquiry, although he said he’d be willing to testify before the Senate if asked.
The question now becomes whether the House might try to subpoena him and whether Bolton would agree to cooperate, given the impeachment trial is now over. Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the House impeachment inquiry, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday that Democrats approached Bolton’s legal counsel and asked if he would submit an affidavit under oath on the matter but he refused.
Meanwhile, Republicans said they still want to hear from Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden. They allege an investigation is warranted into his work on a Ukrainian gas company.
No evidence of wrongdoing has surfaced, although Hunter Biden has acknowledged an apparent conflict of interest in taking the job while his father was leading U.S. policy on Ukraine.
Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, on Wednesday -- soon after the Senate vote to acquit Trump -- released their letter to Secret Service demanding the public release of potential documents on Hunter Biden. The senators wrote that the inqury was part of their investigation into "potential conflicts of interest posed by the business activities of Hunter Biden and his associates during the Obama administration."
Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who led the pressure campaign on Ukraine to investigate the Bidens -- the primary allegation in the impeachment inquiry -- told NPR this week that "absolutely, 100 percent" the president should still pursue a probe targeting his political rival.
"I would have no problem with him doing it," Giuliani told NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview. "In fact, I'd have a problem with him not doing it."
Both sides will start hammering away at health care, education as the election heats up.
Remember shouts of “repeal and replace”? Throughout impeachment, Trump mostly dropped his attacks on Obamacare, directing his ire instead at the “hoax” to investigate his foreign dealings.
As the nation pivots from impeachment to an election, the president will step up attacks on the Democrats running against him.
That tactic was already on display in his annual address on Tuesday, when he swapped any mention of impeachment in favor of several big policy promises, including a promise to protect Medicare and Social Security and preventing surprise medical bills.
Trump also publicly swung behind a plan announced a year ago by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to create federal tax credits for scholarships that students could use to attend private schools, including trade programs and home schools. That idea hadn’t been given much attention by the president before, and conservative groups had previously knocked the idea as unnecessarily complicating the tax code.
Democrats will no doubt swing back with allegations that his promises ring hollow, and point to his record of trying to dismantle Obama’s health care law in court as evidence that the administration doesn’t support protecting insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions.
“The last word on Donald Trump and Trumpism will come through the American people – at ballot boxes across the country,” said Democrat Pete Buttigieg.