February 05, 2020
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a combat Veteran and member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after voting to convict Donald J. Trump of both articles of impeachment and remove him from office. Earlier today, Duckworth spoke on the Senate floor about her decision.
“Ever since I enlisted in the Reserve Officer Training Corps, I’ve sworn oaths to defend the Constitution—first as a Soldier and now as a Senator. These oaths mean something to me, as does the one I took to be an impartial juror in the third-ever impeachment trial of a President of the United States. The gravity and solemnity of this moment in our nation’s history is not lost on me and the decision of whether or not to convict and remove this president from office is not one I take lightly.
“Over the course of this trial, I’ve taken my Constitutional responsibility seriously and entered the Senate chamber each day with an open mind. I watched as the House managers built a strong case with, as even one Republican senator said, a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence’ that the President withheld security assistance to pressure a foreign government to investigate his political rival. I requested documentary evidence and testimony that could demonstrate the unlawful withholding of security assistance was done for legitimate, rather than corrupt, purposes. But rather than providing any materials that could have provided exoneration, defense counsel relied on long-debunked conspiracy theories, misleading distractions and the dictatorial and indefensible legal theory that a President can do literally anything if they believe it helps their re-election campaign.
“Despite the clear and conclusive case that the President is guilty, I believe the American people—and the Senators serving as jurors in the case—deserved a more full and fair trial that included witnesses and evidence, and I’m disappointed we didn’t get that. The sad truth is, the information from these witnesses will eventually come out and then the country will come to understand just how meaningless and inappropriate today’s acquittal is. Though some of my colleagues have said we should acquit him because ‘the voters should decide,’ that argument rings hollow because this trial was about Trump trying to cheat in the next election by enlisting the help of a foreign government to misinform citizens and rob the voters of their ability to decide. If the Framers had wanted the President to be immune from accountability through impeachment and removal in an election year, they would have written that into the Constitution. They did not.
“After hearing both sides’ presentations, I reflected on the values this nation was founded on—values I fought in uniform to defend: justice, freedom and the rule of law. In this country, no one is above the law. In this country, the truth matters. And as Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman said, in America, right matters. With that in mind, it was impossible to come away from this trial with any opinion other than that the President is guilty of the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Both charges reflect his egregious conduct, which clearly meet the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ as outlined in Section 4 of Article Two of the United States Constitution, and therefore merit removal from office. While I wish our nation had not been placed in this unfortunate position, at the end of the day, I could not have voted any other way.”
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