Minutes ahead of the U.S. Senate’s final voting in the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) delivered strong remarks on the Senate floor about his decision to acquit Trump on both impeachment articles.
Trump was charged separately with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“As a senator, I believe that the first and perhaps most important consideration is whether ‘abuse of power’ and ‘obstruction of Congress’ are impeachable offenses, as asserted by the House managers,” Shelby explained. “If the Senate endorses this approach, we will dramatically transform the impeachment power. We will forever turn this grave constitutional power into a tool for adjudicating policy disputes and political disagreements. The Framers cautioned us against this dangerous path, and I believe the Senate will heed their warning.”
Alabama’s venerable senior senator, the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, placed blame at the feet of House Democrats.
“What we really have here is nothing more than the abuse of the power of impeachment itself by the Democratic House. Doesn’t our country deserve better? This president certainly deserves better,” Shelby remarked.
He added, “Since President Trump took office, many have sought to delegitimize his presidency with partisan attacks. This extreme effort to unseat the president is unjustified and intolerable. Now that the Senate has heard and studied the arguments from both sides, the lack of merit in the House managers’ case is evident.”
Shelby advised that he concluded the House managers’ “case does not allege an impeachable offense.”
“‘Abuse of power’ – one of the charges put forward by the House managers – is a concept as vague and susceptible to abuse as ‘maladministration,’ he noted, later saying, “The House managers’ ‘obstruction of Congress’ claim is similarly flawed.”
“Today I am proud to stand and repudiate these very weak impeachment efforts, and I will accordingly vote to acquit the president on both articles. My hope is that, in the future, Congress will reject this episode and instead choose to be guided by the Constitution and the words of our Framers,” Shelby emphasized.
“The American economy is booming. The United States is projecting strength and promoting peace abroad. And the president is unbowed,” he concluded. “I believe the American people see this. At the end of the day, the ultimate judgment rests in their hands. In my judgment, that is just as it should be.”
You can read Shelby’s entire speech here.
Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) voted to convict and remove the president on both articles of impeachment.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn
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