Red State Democrats Stick With Party On Impeachment Vote

Three moderate Democratic senators who were viewed as potential swing votes in the Senate impeachment trial all voted to convict President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

While the decision by Democratic Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia didn’t change the outcome of the trial, it nevertheless marked a strong display of party unity. It also denied Trump a bipartisan acquittal vote in the Senate.

The three senators didn’t signal how they would vote until Wednesday. They all represent states Trump won in 2016. Only Arizona is expected to be a swing state this year. The only senator to break with his or her party was Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who voted to convict the president on a charge of abuse of power.

Jones, who faces a tough reelection this year, made his announcement hours before the Senate voted to acquit Trump.

“Senators are elected to make tough choices. We are required to study the facts of each issue before us and exercise our independent judgment in keeping with the oaths we take. The gravity of this moment, the seriousness of the charges, and the implications for future presidencies and Congresses all contributed to the difficulty with which I have arrived at my decision,” Jones said in a statement.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Jones said he was concerned about the precedent set by the Senate not calling witnesses, such as former national security adviser John Bolton, in the trial. But he also said there was still sufficient evidence for convicting Trump, and that evidence “clearly proves” that Trump used his office to seek to coerce a foreign government to interfere in the election.

“His actions were more than simply inappropriate. They were an abuse of power,” Jones said. He added that he had more pause about the charge of obstruction of Congress, but said the evidence in the trial ultimately proved the case.

Sinema, in a statement, said “the facts are clear” and “while White House attorneys claim this behavior is not serious, it is dangerous to the fundamental principles of American democracy to use the power of the federal government for personal or political gain.”

“His actions were more than simply inappropriate. They were an abuse of power,” Jones said. He added that he had more pause about the charge of obstruction of Congress, but said the evidence in the trial ultimately proved the case.

Sinema, in a statement, said “the facts are clear” and “while White House attorneys claim this behavior is not serious, it is dangerous to the fundamental principles of American democracy to use the power of the federal government for personal or political gain.”

Their announcements came the same day Romney made the stunning revelation on the Senate floor. Both Jones and Manchin praised the Utah Republican. Jones called Romney a “man of conscience” and Manchin said he “spoke from his heart and his convictions. It was very powerful.”

Manchin, who broke with his party in 2018 to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and has been willing to work with the president, was viewed as a wild card up until his announcement.

Like the rest of their caucus, Jones, Sinema and Manchin also supported Democratic calls for witnesses and documents, which likely would have prolonged the trial for weeks.

Jones, who won a special election in 2017 against controversial Republican challenger Roy Moore, is the most vulnerable Democratic senator up in 2020. Sinema won a close race in 2018 against now-Sen. Martha McSally and Manchin won re-election in 2018 by three points.

Author: Marianne Levine And James Arkin

Source: Politico: Red state Democrats stick with party to convict Trump

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