Impeachment Trial: Sullivan Votes to Acquit Former President Trump, Murkowski votes to Convict
Posted and Edited by MARY KAUFFMAN
February 14, 2021
(SitNews) Washington, D.C. - On charges of "incitement of insurrection" over the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol, former President Donald Trump was acquitted Saturday in his second impeachment trial after the Senate failed to reach the super majority threshold needed for a conviction. The impeachment trial came to an end Saturday afternoon with a vote of 57 to convict and 43 to acquit. Trump is the only U.S. president to be impeached twice.
Seven Republicans joined 50 Democrats to convict Trump falling short of the 67 guilty voted needed. One of Alaska's Republican Senators was among those voting to convict.
U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) voted “not guilty” Saturday on the article of impeachment brought against former President Donald Trump by the House of Representatives while U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted to convict President Trump on charges of "incitement of insurrection" over the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Both Alaska Senators released statements explaining how they came to their decisions to acquit or convict.
In a prepared statement Senator Sullivan explained why he voted to acquit former President Trump:
“I cast my vote today [January 13, 2021) to acquit former President Trump on the single article of impeachment as a result of an extensive review of the Constitution, historical precedent, and, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story said two centuries ago, ‘a deep responsibility to future times’—just as I did during last year’s impeachment trial and the Electoral College certification in January.
“The constitutional purpose of impeachment is to remove an official from office—and, in this case, that purpose had already been achieved. With their votes this past election, the American people spoke and chose a new President. Thus, pursuing impeachment in this case creates a troubling, unconstitutional precedent in which former officials—private citizens—can face impeachment and conviction. As I said during last year’s impeachment, the American people are well equipped to decide whether or not the former President should be disqualified from holding future office.
“I strongly believe the Senate does not have jurisdiction to try a former President who is now a private citizen. The Senate claiming that jurisdiction contradicts the intent of the Framers to the detriment of our constitutional order. Additionally, the House Managers provided the former President with no due process—and argued none was required—and side-stepped the First Amendment defense of his speech.
“Ultimately, in spite of an emotional and wrenching presentation, the House Managers failed to account for the repercussions of these new precedents and the way in which they went about this rushed, ‘snap’ impeachment. Combined with the power to try private citizens, all of this constitutes a massive expansion of Congress’ impeachment powers never contemplated by our Founders. The temptation to use such power as a regular tool of partisan warfare in the future will be great and has the potential to incapacitate our government.
“Make no mistake: I condemn the horrific violence that engulfed the Capitol on January 6. I also condemn former President Trump’s poor judgment in calling a rally on that day, and his actions and inactions when it turned into a riot. His blatant disregard for his own Vice President, Mike Pence, who was fulfilling his constitutional duty at the Capitol, infuriates me. I will never forget the brave men and women of law enforcement—some of whom lost their lives and were seriously injured—who carried out their patriotic duty to protect members of Congress that day.
“However horrible the violence was—and how angry I have been about it—I believe that it was imperative, for the future of our country and our democracy, to be as dispassionate and impartial about this vote as possible.
“The vast majority of Alaskans who supported President Trump were also appalled by the violence on January 6. They supported the former President because of his policies that helped our state. I will continue to work to make sure that their voices are not silenced and that this dispiriting chapter in American history won’t deter them from speaking out in defense of their beliefs.
“At the end of the day, my obligation is to rise above the passions of the moment and to carefully consider the decisions we make today and the ramifications they will have for our country’s future. I believe that my vote to acquit fulfills that obligation. I want Alaskans to know that throughout all of this, my guiding light has been both fidelity to my constituents and to our Constitution.”
Senator Murkowski after voting to convict President Trump on charges of "incitement of insurrection" over the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Murkowski wrote in a prepared statement:
“On January 13, when the U.S. House of Representatives impeached former President Donald J. Trump for a second time, I committed to upholding my oath as a U.S. Senator—to listen to each side impartially, review all the facts, and then decide how I would vote. I have done that and after listening to the trial this past week, I have reached the conclusion that President Trump’s actions were an impeachable offense and his course of conduct amounts to incitement of insurrection as set out in the Article of Impeachment.
“The facts make clear that the violence and desecration of the Capitol that we saw on January 6 was not a spontaneous uprising. President Trump had set the stage months before the 2020 election by stating repeatedly that the election was rigged, casting doubt into the minds of the American people about the fairness of the election. After the election, when he lost by 7 million votes, he repeatedly claimed that the election was stolen and subjected to widespread fraud. At the same time, election challenges were filed in dozens of courts. Sixty-one different courts – including many judges nominated by President Trump himself – ruled against him.
“President Trump did everything in his power to stay in power. When the court challenges failed, he turned up the pressure on state officials and his own Department of Justice. And when these efforts failed, he turned to his supporters. He urged his supporters to come to Washington, D.C. on January 6 to ‘Stop the Steal’ of an election that had not been stolen. The speech he gave on that day was intended to stoke passions in a crowd that the President had been rallying for months. They were prepared to march on the Capitol and he gave them explicit instructions to do so.
“When President Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol, breached both chambers of Congress, and interrupted the certification of Electoral College votes, he took no action for hours. The evidence presented at the trial was clear: President Trump was watching events unfold live, just as the entire country was. Even after the violence had started, as protestors chanted ‘Hang Mike Pence’ inside the Capitol, President Trump, aware of what was happening, tweeted that the Vice President had failed the country. Vice President Pence was attempting to fulfill his oath and his constitutional duty with the certification of Electoral College votes.
“After the storm had calmed, the President endorsed the actions of the mob by tweeting, ‘These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!’ This message, in defense of only himself, came nearly four hours after the attack on the Capitol began. President Trump allowing the violence to go on for hours without any clear directive or demand for peace – his intentional silence – cost Americans their lives. President Trump was not concerned about the Vice President; he was not concerned about members of Congress; he was not concerned about the Capitol Police. He was concerned about his election and retaining power. While I supported subpoenaing witnesses to help elucidate for the American people President Trump’s state of mind during the riot, both his actions and lack thereof establish that.
“If months of lies, organizing a rally of supporters in an effort to thwart the work of Congress, encouraging a crowd to march on the Capitol, and then taking no meaningful action to stop the violence once it began is not worthy of impeachment, conviction, and disqualification from holding office in the United States, I cannot imagine what is. By inciting the insurrection and violent events that culminated on January 6, President Trump’s actions and words were not protected free speech. I honor our constitutional rights and consider the freedom of speech as one of the most paramount freedoms, but that right does not extend to the President of the United States inciting violence.
“Before someone assumes the office of the presidency, they are required to swear to faithfully execute the office of the President and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. President Trump – the nation’s elected leader, the Commander in Chief of our armed forces – swore an oath to defend America and all that we hold sacred. He failed to uphold that oath.
“One positive outcome of the horrible events on January 6, was that hours after the Capitol was secured, on January 7, at 4:00 a.m., Congress fulfilled our responsibility to the U.S. Constitution and certified the Electoral College results. We were able to do that because of brave men and women who fulfilled their oath to protect and defend Congress. I regret that Donald Trump was not one of them.”
Source of News:
Office of U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan
Office of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
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