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Sen. Joe Manchin Explains Why He Voted 'Guilty' on Articles of Impeachment

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was one of the few Democrats contemplating how to vote on the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. He continually said he would look at the evidence on an impartial basis. After all, Manchin voted "guilty" on both articles. 

Following the vote, Manchin explained his decision to a group of reporters outside of the Senate.

"First of all, I've taken two oaths since I've been a senator: one oath has been to defend and protect the Constitution and the second oath was to have impartial judgment and I took an oath to God to do that," Manchin told reporters. "And I think I've hopefully done that."

"I've always said if I can go home and explain it, I can vote for it. If I can't explain it, I vote against it," the West Virginia senator explained. "I can explain my vote based on the evidence that was presented. Under oath, the evidence was given to us under oath, by the testimonies from the witnesses that they were able to secure and the documents that we saw."

"Common sense will tell me, after the transcript, that a phone call from the most powerful president in the world to the most inexperienced leader of a country that's facing Russian aggression would very much be intimidated and that's not who we are," Manchin said. "I have said before you can't go around and we can't be the country we are trying to encourage countries to accept democracy and enjoy the freedoms and liberties that we all enjoy by using that for a political favor. You can't do that. That's not who we are."

"So it's very clear. The president said he could not get a fair trial in the House and I wanted to make sure he got a fair trial in the Senate," Manchin explained. 

Manchin specifically took issue with the White House counsel not bringing forward witnesses and documents to prove Trump was innocent. 

Even though he knew it would be a "difficult" and "divisive" decision, Manchin decided to vote "guilty" on the two articles of impeachment. 

"It's not a political decision. It's based on could I go home and face the oath I took, face my family, my friends and the good Lord that I swore to? I couldn't do it," he said. 

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