Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) said in an op-ed this week that the president “cannot claim to be exonerated” even if he is acquitted by the Senate, which is expected.
Smith, who is up for reelection this year, announced in a Monday article for The Star Tribune that she will vote in favor of removing President Donald Trump from office. A vote on the president’s acquittal is set for Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.
“While evidence of the president’s wrongdoing is substantial, I advocated for a trial that would be fair for both sides, which means hearing from witnesses with direct knowledge of the president’s actions. I am greatly disappointed that almost all my Republican colleagues in the Senate abandoned the historical bipartisan precedent of hearing from witnesses in every impeachment trial. The Senate abandoned its responsibilities when it blocked efforts to get the complete truth,” Smith writes in her op-ed.
As a result, the Minnesota senator believes there “will be a permanent cloud over these proceedings.”
“The president may be acquitted, but without a fair trial he cannot claim to be exonerated,” Smith continues. “This is the core question of this impeachment trial: Is it OK for the president to use his office to advance his personal political interest, while ignoring or damaging the public good? My answer is no.”
She goes on to assert that the president’s “abuses of power are grave offenses that threaten the constitutional balance of power and our right to free and fair elections.”
“His abuses of power undermine the moral stature of the United States as a trusted ally and a fighter against corruption. If we fail to check this president, future presidents may be emboldened to pursue even more shameless corruption,” she writes.
Smith spoke in favor of removing the president from office during a Senate floor speech Tuesday morning and repeated several of the arguments she makes in her article.
“The core question of this impeachment trial is this:
Do we say that it is okay for the president to use his office to advance his personal political interests while ignoring or damaging the public good?
And my answer is no.”
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) February 4, 2020
Jason Lewis, Smith’s Republican challenger, responded to her article on Twitter, saying “the voters of Minnesota will remove you.”
“The thought of one political party attempting to remove a duly elected president and subvert the will of the people when no crimes were committed is nothing short of an attempted coup,” he said.
And this Nov., @TinaSmithMN, the voters of Minnesota will remove YOU!
The thought of one political party attempting to remove a duly elected President & subvert the will of the people when no crimes were committed, is nothing short of an attempted coup. https://t.co/SR7Kxq1wzA
— Jason Lewis (@LewisForMN) February 4, 2020
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