Impeachment trial of President Trump
During a meeting before tonight's State of the Union address , House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer both made clear censuring President Trump, as some prominent Democrats have suggested, is not on the table.
“We have impeached the President. Our House has spoken,” Pelosi said.
As she started to make the case that Republican senators wouldn’t go for it anyway, Schumer finished the thought.
”Mitch McConnell — we cannot bring it up in the Senate trial. He has the ability to bring it up afterwards. He won’t. But for most of us, and just about all of us, he should be convicted and we don’t want a halfway measure,” Schumer said.
“I think the reason McConnell doesn’t want to bring it on the floor is our Republican colleagues — so many of them — are so afraid of even saying he was wrong that they don’t want to have a vote on it," he added.
Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, said that President Trump’s conduct with Ukraine was wrong but doesn't warrant impeachment.
Portman said that while he doesn’t "condone this behavior … these actions do not rise to the level” of impeachment and removing the President from office.
He added that Trump did eventually remove the hold on the military aid and the investigations into the Bidens never happened.
Portman called the House managers' case "flawed."
"We should have the voters have their say at the ballot box," he said.
Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, called today “heartbreaking” while speaking on the Senate floor.
“I have concluded that the President, Donald John Trump, is guilty of committing high crimes and misdemeanors," Booker said.
He added: “It brings me no satisfaction to come to this conclusion.”
Booker suggested that he believes history will not be kind to the senators. He said that because they declined to hear from witnesses and subpoena documents, people in the future will read about this trial as a time when the Senate "shut its door to the truth...even though it was in easy reach."
"This is a sad day, this is a sad moment," Booker said.
Democratic Sen. Mark Warner announced today that he will vote to convict the President because he "swore an oath to do impartial justice and the evidence proves the charges against him are true.”
“The Constitution draws a line that is much clearer than the President’s lawyers have tried to argue,” Warner said on the Senate floor. “The President crossed it. He abused his power.”
Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he understands some of the points the President’s counsel raised regarding the second article on impeachment.
“There are legitimate questions to consider about executive privilege,” he said. But Warner added that “we cannot accept the absolute immunity arguments this White House has invented.”
“I don’t see how the White House’s desperate efforts to block witnesses is anything but an admission that what they’d say under oath would not be good for this President,” he said. “And I’m deeply disappointed that the Senate could not achieve the majority necessary for a full fair trial.”
Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, said President Trump’s actions were “improper” and “demonstrated very poor judgment” but do not warrant removal from office.
She said it was “wrong” for Trump to mention Joe Biden on the July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president and to ask Ukraine “to investigate a political rival.”
However, Collins said there is “conflicting evidence in the records about the President’s motivations” when it comes to Ukraine. She said the President’s attorneys argued that Trump had “sound public policy concerns.”
Collins said she will vote to acquit Trump on both articles of impeachment.
Sen. John Tester, a Democrat from Montana, said that by voting against witnesses and documents the Senate Republicans are "robbing the American people... of their legitimate right to hold their elected official accountable."
Tester brought two notebooks he said were full of notes that he took during the trial to the floor with him today.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, said she will vote “yes” to convict President Trump on the articles of impeachment.
She said she came to the trial with “an open mind" and said the House managers’ case made it “clear” that Trump withheld aid “to win reelection.” Feinstein said his defense team tried to argue “that this didn’t happen.”
But without hearing from witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Feinstein said the defense’s “arguments were not persuasive.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, said that President Trump “continues to suggest” that he would welcome foreign help in his reelection.
She referenced how he recently mentioned that China should investigate Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Shaheen said she hopes the Senate can “move on from this disappointing day" and get back to important work.
Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican from Montana, said the Senate has never voted to remove a president from office and "it’s not going to happen now.”
Daines called President Trump’s impeachment the “first purely partisan impeachment.” He added that “it must be our last.”
He pointed out that no Republicans in the House voted for the articles.