Meet the Seven Republicans Who Voted to Convict Trump

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Posted: Feb 13, 2021 5:05 PM
Meet the Seven Republicans Who Voted to Convict Trump

Source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The United States Senate on Saturday voted 57 to 43 to convict President Donald Trump. The vote failed to meet the 67 count threshold needed, meaning President Trump was acquitted. 

Republicans – with the exception of Sens. Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Richard Burr (NC), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mitt Romney (UT), Ben Sasse (NE) and Pat Toomey (PA) – voted to acquit the president. 

"Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person," Cassidy said in a video. "I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty."

Burr released a statement saying he originally started out believing impeaching a former president is unconstitutional. He changed his mind when his colleagues voted to move forward with impeachment, which he said "established precedent."

January 6th was a grim day in our nation's history. The attack on the U.S. Capitol was an attempt to undermine our democratic institutions and overrule the will of the American people through violence, intimidation, and force.

Seven lives were tragically lost as a result of that day. Law enforcement officials, outnumbered and overwhelmed, sustained debilitating injuries as they bravely defended Congress against an angry mob. We now know that lawmakers and congressional staff came dangerously close to crossing paths with the rioters searching for them and wishing them harm.

When this process started, I believed that it was unconstitutional to impeach a president who was no longer in office. I still believe that to be the case. However, the Senate is an institution based on precedent, and given that majority in the Senate voted to proceed with this trial, the question of constitutionality is now established precedent. As an impartial juror, my role is now to determine whether House managers have sufficiently made the case for the article of impeachment against President Trump.

I have listened to the arguments presented by both sides and considered the facts. The facts are clear.

The President promoted conspiracy theories to cast doubt on the integrity of a free and fair election because he did not like the results. As Congress met to certify the election results, the President directed his supporters to go to the Capitol to disrupt the lawful proceedings required by the Constitution. When the crowd became violent, the President used his office to first inflame the situation instead of immediately call for an end to the assault.

As I said on January 6th, the President bears responsibility for these tragic events. The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors. Therefore, I have voted to convict. 

I do not make this decision lightly but I believe it is necessary.

By what he did and by what he did not do, President Trump violated his oath of officer to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

My hope is that with today's vote American can begin to move forward and focus on the critical issues facing our country today.

Romney stated Trump did everything in his power to overturn the election, including pressing Georgia's secretary of state, which resulted in the Jan. 6 attack.

After careful consideration of the respective counsels’ arguments, I have concluded that President Trump is guilty of the charge made by the House of Representatives. President Trump attempted to corrupt the election by pressuring the Secretary of State of Georgia to falsify the election results in his state. President Trump incited the insurrection against Congress by using the power of his office to summon his supporters to Washington on January 6th and urging them to march on the Capitol during the counting of electoral votes. He did this despite the obvious and well known threats of violence that day. President Trump also violated his oath of office by failing to protect the Capitol, the Vice President, and others in the Capitol. Each and every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction.

Sasse, on the other hand, made the argument that not standing up to Trump is "tribalism" and if the roles were reversed, the president's party would vote not to convict.

An impeachment trial is a public declaration of what a president's oath of office means and what behavior that oath demands of presidents in the future. But here's the sad reality: If we were talking about a Democratic president, most Republicans and most Democrats would simply swap sides. Tribalism is a hell of a drug, but our oath to the Constitution means we're constrained to the facts. Here are the three key points to this debate:

First, President Trump lied that he had 'won the election by a landslide.' He lied about widespread voted fraud, spreading conspiracy theories despite losing 60 straight court challenges, many of his losses handed down by great judges he nominated. He tried to intimidate the Georgia secretary of state to 'find votes' and overturn that state's election. He publicly and falsely declared that Vice President pence could break his constitutional oath and simply declare a different outcome. The president repeated these lies when summoning his crowd – parts of which were widely known to be violent – to Capitol hill to intimidate Vice President Pence and Congress into not fulfilling our constitutional duties. Those lies had consequences, endangering the life of the vice president and bringing us dangerously close to a blood constitutional crisis. Each of these actions are violations of a president's oath of office.

Second, political violence is evil whether it happens in Portland or at the United States Capitol. Violent mobs are always repugnant. Because many on the left ignored Portland's violence, the former president and some of his allies have now given themselves permission to ignore the violence by those supposedly 'on their side.' No. The answer to an ugly double standard cannot be the elimination of all standards. If we allow tribalism to repeatedly blind us against defending our institutions, we will lose them.

Third, Congress is a weaker institution than the Founders intended, and it is likely to shrivel still smaller. A lot of Republicans talk about restoring Congress' power from an already over-aggressive executive branch. Conservatives regularly denounce executive overreach – but we ought primarily to denounce legislative impotence. This trial is constitutional because the president abused his powers while in office and the House of Representatives impeached him while he was still in office. If Congress cannot forcefully respond to an intimidation attack on Article I instigated by the head of Article II, our constitutional balance will be permanently tilted. A weak and timid Congress will increasingly submit to an emboldened and empowered presidency. That's unacceptable. This institution needs to respect itself enough to tell the executive that some lines cannot be crossed. 

On election night 2014, I promised Nebraskans I'd always vote my conscience even if it was against the partisan stream. In my first speech here in the Senate in November 2015, I promised to speak out when a president – even of my own party – exceeds his or her powers. I cannot go back on my word, and Congress cannot lower our standards on such a grave matter, simply because it is politically convenient. I must vote to convict.

Toomey said that although he voted for Trump, the president's "pressure on state and local officials" to overturn the election results resulted in the attacks on the Captiol.

President Donald Trump's defense team made several accurate observations at the impeachment trial. Many elected Democrats did want to impeach President Trump from the moment he won the 2016 election. The mainstream media was unrelentingly biased and hostile to the president. Both often overlooked violent riots when perpetrated in favor of causes they found sympathetic last summer.

However, these facts do not make President Trump's conduct in response to losing the 2020 election acceptable. He began with dishonest, systematic attempts to convince supporters that he had won. His lawful, but unsuccessful, legal challenges failed due to the lack of evidence. Then, he applied intense pressure on state and local officials to reverse the election outcomes in their states.

When these efforts failed, President Trump summoned thousands to Washington, D.C. and inflamed their passions by repeating disproven allegations about widespread fraud. He urged the mob to march on the Capitol for the explicit purpose of preventing Congress and the Vice President from formally certifying the results of the presidential election. All of this to hold on to power despite having legitimately lost.

As a result of President Trump's actions, for the first time in American history, the transfer of presidential power was not peaceful. A lawless attempt to retain power by a president was one of the founders' greatest fears motivating the inclusion of the impeachment authorities in the U.S. Constitution.

I was one of the 74 million Americans who voted for President Trump, in part because of the many accomplishments of his administration. Unfortunately, his behavior after the election betrayed the confidence millions of us placed in him. 

His betrayal of the Constitution and his oath of office required conviction.

As of this publishing, Collins and Murkowski had no statement relating to their votes to convict.