Local leaders respond to President Trump’s acquittal in impeachment trial

President Donald Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial Wednesday afternoon, and now local leaders are responding to the news.

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell voted to impeach, and issued this statement after:

“The United States is known for free and fair elections. It is the bedrock of our democracy. The President tried to get a foreign power to interfere in our elections and that was wrong.”

Senator Patty Murray posted several tweets on the trial, saying:

I’ve said many times throughout this trial that each senator’s decision to choose fairness or a cover-up, and country or party, is theirs alone to make and live with—and that this isn’t just about this president, it’s about every future president.

I am now on the record, representing millions of people in my home state of Washington, in saying it is unacceptable for a president, now or ever, to ask a foreign country to interfere in our election for their own benefit.

I want every American to know my strong feeling is that we, the people, elect our presidents, they owe their office to the American people, and Americans must be their priority. I am grateful to every senator who stood up for this fundamental American principle today.”

Washington State Representative Pramila Jayapal voiced her disdain for the vote, saying:

Instead of showing courage, all but one Republican senator today exemplified cowardice. In putting party and politics over country and Constitution, Republicans drove a stake in the heart of our democracy.

The case for convicting and removing President Trump was overwhelming and irrefutable: President Trump endangered the sanctity of our elections by inviting foreign interference in our most sacred democratic institution. He betrayed our national security, violated the sacred trust of the American people, and threatened the very future of our democracy. At every turn, the President and his Administration obstructed the House—refusing to turn over even a single document or provide even a single witness.

In spite of this unprecedented obstruction, the House did its job and Donald Trump will forever be an impeached president.

Since the House impeached President Trump, more and more damning information about the President’s abuse of power has come to light. Instead of pursuing the full truth, Senate Republicans eagerly enlisted themselves to be President Trump’s co-conspirators—covering up the President’s misconduct without even caring to find out the extent of his misconduct. It is a disgrace that Mitch McConnell refused to give the American people what they deserve and what the Constitution demands: a fair trial with witnesses and impartial justice.

President Trump will be held accountable one way or another—whether through the courts or the ballot box—and the American people and history will not forget the Republicans’ cowardice.”

Senator James Risch of Idaho voted to acquit President Trump. He spoke on the floor, saying, “This movement has been entirely partisan. No Republican voted to impeach in the House of Representatives. At the end of the day, this is a political exercise, and that political exercise is going to fail.”

Afterwards, Senator Risch issued the following statement:

As a juror and former litigator, I strongly felt the need for a fair and objective Senate impeachment trial free from the deep politicization that characterized the House’s investigation of the President. Over the last two weeks, I have listened to hours of opening arguments and debate, and reviewed countless documents and witness testimony. House impeachment managers asserted that the House’s prepared case was ‘rock-solid.’ Having reviewed all the evidence as presented by the House managers and the President’s legal team, I do not share that assessment.

This impeachment has epitomized exactly the sort of hyper-partisan exercise that our Founding Fathers warned against when they penned a Constitutional requirement for a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict. Their debate indicated strongly they did not want impeachment to be used as a political bludgeon to simply remove a president with whom they disagree. That was attempted here. I therefore cast my vote to acquit the President and seek to return to the important work for Idahoans that they sent me to the Senate to accomplish.”

Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho also voted to acquit, saying:

The highly partisan impeachment in the House of Representatives seeks to remove President Trump from office for 1) improper motives in conducting an otherwise legal act in furtherance of legitimate national foreign policy interests, 2) holding a meeting at the United Nations in New York rather than at the White House in Washington, D.C., and 3) for asserting Executive Privilege against the House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate has conducted a full trial over 12 days. In this trial, the Senate reviewed testimony from 13 witnesses sworn under oath in the House, over 28,000 pages of documentary evidence, numerous additional presentations of additional unsworn witnesses, documents and reports contained in over 192 video presentations and other oral assertions. This included, but was not limited to, presentations of John Bolton’s manuscript statements. Clearly, contrary to many reports, the Senate held a full trial, including numerous witnesses.

The Founders of our nation were clear that impeachment and removal of the President of the United States both from office and from the ballot in future elections must face very high hurdles. They specifically wanted to protect impeachment from being used as a partisan tool. It is clear from the Constitution, and Supreme Court’s interpretation of the separation of powers provisions contained in it, that elections were to be the major protection assuring oversight of presidential conduct. That is why they chose 4-year terms rather than life tenure or another longer term of office. They also provided that conviction of impeachment must not occur because of partisan dissatisfaction with the outcome of an election by requiring a 2/3 vote in the Senate. Finally, they imposed a high bar of ‘Treason, Bribery or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ The Founders’ inclusion of the qualifying word ‘other’ was deliberate, as it demonstrates offenses that justify removal from office must be akin to treason and bribery. The case of the House managers does not even purport to allege a crime in either Count I or Count II. Moreover, the allegations fall far short of the high threshold for removal of a U.S. President from office, and undermine Americans’ constitutional right to elect their president at the ballot box.”

Idaho Representative Russ Fulcher released the following statement:

The historic “impeachment in search of a crime” is over… for now. I just started my second year as a member of the U.S. Congress, and impeachment efforts have preoccupied the House leadership agenda every day that I have served. To put it more bluntly, Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Schiff, and other democratic leaders have allowed their vitriol toward President Trump to override the interests of our entire Nation. As a result, this Congress has accomplished very little in terms of constructive policy and the level of political polarization is staggering. The vast majority of democrats have made themselves unavailable to any constructive policy dialogue, as they are completely absorbed by their impeachment agenda.

Now that the Senate has acquitted the President, I ask the Speaker and my colleagues across the aisle to put history in the rear-view mirror. Let’s fulfill our responsibilities and go to work for the American people.”