Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN): Trump is guilty but I'm going to acquit him anyway (VIDEO)
Late Thursday night, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he believes Donald Trump is guilty of the impeachment allegations but will vote against calling witnesses and will vote to acquit Trump.
In a statement, Alexander admitted that it was "inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation." He further admitted that the House managers proved their case "with what they call a 'mountain of overwhelming evidence.'"
But still, Alexander, who is retiring at the end of this year, will vote to acquit Trump anyway.
Alexander defended his decision by claiming the impeachment articles "do not meet the Constitution's 'treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors' standard for an impeachable offense."
Alexander used the fact that House managers proved Trump's guilt as the reason he will vote against calling additional witnesses to the trial. He claimed, "there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven."
Republicans hold a 53-47 seat majority in the Senate, meaning four Republicans would need to join with every Democrat on a vote to call witnesses, such as former national security adviser John Bolton, to testify. Two Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah — have said they will vote to hear from witnesses. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) may also vote in favor of calling witnesses, according to NBC News.
The Senate will likely vote on the issue of witness testimony on Friday.
At the end of his statement, despite agreeing Trump did what he was accused of, Alexander turned around and attacked the impeachment process as "shallow, hurried and wholly partisan."
Alexander's allegation that the House impeachment vote was "wholly partisan" isn't entirely true. Rep. Justin Amash, a conservative lawmaker from Michigan, voted in favor of both articles of impeachment. Amash was elected to Congress in 2010 as a Republican. He was subsequently reelected as a Republican four more times, before leaving the party in July 2019 after calling Trump's conduct "impeachable."
In his statement, Alexander said the American people should "decide what to do about what [Trump] did" in November's election — the very election Trump attempted to influence by withholding aid to Ukraine to pressure that government to investigate his potential 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
"Burn it down," John Weaver, longtime Republican political operative and top aide to Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, wrote on Twitter in reaction Alexander's statement. "The GOP has put the country on the path toward corrupt authoritarian rule. All that remains to stop this are sweeping Democratic wins in November."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. Attribution: Dan Desai Martin.