In a statement released late Thursday, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he will vote against having witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Alexander was one of four Republican senators that Democrats were trying to convince to support extending impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate for at least another week in order to call the witnesses the House of Representatives failed to prior to delivering Articles of Impeachment two weeks ago.
Alexander posted his reasoning on Facebook.
I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense.
There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine. There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a “mountain of overwhelming evidence.” There is no need to consider further the frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers.
It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation. When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.
The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday.
The Senate has spent nine long days considering this “mountain” of evidence, the arguments of the House managers and the president’s lawyers, their answers to senators’ questions and the House record. Even if the House charges were true, they do not meet the Constitution’s ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’ standard for an impeachable offense.
The framers believed that there should never, ever be a partisan impeachment. That is why the Constitution requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate for conviction. Yet not one House Republican voted for these articles. If this shallow, hurried and wholly partisan impeachment were to succeed, it would rip the country apart, pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions that already exist. It would create the weapon of perpetual impeachment to be used against future presidents whenever the House of Representatives is of a different political party.
Our founding documents provide for duly elected presidents who serve with “the consent of the governed,” not at the pleasure of the United States Congress.
Let the people decide.
After a long career in state and national politics, the veteran Republican is retiring at the end of his term in January, 2021.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]