Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) on Wednesday released a statement announcing he will vote to convict President Donald J. Trump on both impeachment articles: Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“For months, I have been studying the facts of this case exhaustively,” Jones advised. “I have read thousands of pages of transcripts, watched videos of testimony, taken copious notes, reviewed history and precedents and discussed this case with colleagues, staff, and constituents, in addition to having participated in the Senate trial over the past two weeks.”
“After many sleepless nights, I have reluctantly concluded that the evidence is sufficient to convict the President for both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress,” he continued.
Jones subsequently complained about the process utilized in the Senate impeachment trial while not mentioning the process used by the Democrat-controlled House in bringing the charges. The focus on process in defending his decision on impeachment is reminiscent of when he did the same in voting against the confirmation of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“With the eyes of history upon us, I am acutely aware of the precedents this impeachment trial will set for future presidencies and Congresses,” Jones stated. “Unfortunately, I do not believe those precedents are good ones. I am particularly concerned that we have now set a precedent that a fair trial in the Senate does not include witnesses and documentary evidence, even when those witnesses have first-hand information and the evidence would provide the Senate and the American people with a more complete picture of the truth.”
As he has done for months, Jones also decried “the partisan nature” of the impeachment proceedings.
“I am also deeply troubled by the partisan nature of these proceedings from start to finish. Very early on I implored my colleagues in both houses of Congress to stay out of their partisan corners. Many did, but so many did not. The country deserves better. We must find a way to rise above the things that divide us and find the common good,” Alabama’s junior senator commented.
He subsequently spoke about the first article, asserting Trump is a national security threat; on the second article, Jones wrote that the president “deliberately and unconstitutionally obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the investigation in any way.”
Having done my best to see through the fog of partisanship, I am deeply troubled by the arguments put forth by the President’s lawyers in favor of virtually unchecked presidential power. In this case, the evidence clearly proves the President used the weight of his office and that of the United States government to seek to coerce a foreign government to interfere in our election for his personal political benefit. The President’s actions placed his personal interests well above the national interests and threatened the security of the United States, our allies in Europe, and our ally Ukraine. His actions were more than simply inappropriate. They were an abuse of power. With impeachment as the only check on such presidential wrongdoing, I felt I must vote to convict on the first charge of abuse of power.
The second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, gave me even more pause. I have struggled to understand the House’s strategy in their pursuit of documents and witnesses and wished they had done more. However, after careful consideration of the evidence developed in the hearings, the public disclosures, the legal precedents, and the trial, I believe the President deliberately and unconstitutionally obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the investigation in any way. While I am sensitive to protecting the privileges and immunities afforded to the President and his advisors, I believe it is critical to our constitutional structure that we protect Congress’ authorities also. In this matter it was clear from the outset that the President had no intention whatsoever of any accommodation with Congress when he blocked both witnesses and documents from being produced. In addition, he engaged in a course of conduct to threaten potential witnesses and smear the reputations of the civil servants who did come forward and provide testimony. The President’s actions demonstrate a belief that he is above the law, that Congress has no power whatsoever in questioning or examining his actions, and that all who do so, do so at their peril. That belief, unprecedented in the history of this country, simply must not be permitted to stand. To do otherwise risks guaranteeing that no future whistleblower or witness will ever come forward and no future President — Democrat or Republican — will be subject to Congressional oversight as mandated by the Constitution.
In a tweet from his personal account, Jones added, “Growing up in Alabama I learned right from wrong. What the President did was more than wrong.”
Jones will take to the Senate floor at 10:25 a.m. CST. A live stream will be available here.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn