Thursday, February 6, 2020

McSally and Sinema explain their impeachment votes

Here are responses by our two U. S. Senators from Arizona, reprinted here from the Tucson Sentinel.

I have just one comment to share. McSally writes “Even if all the House Democrats allege is accurate, even if John Bolton supports their allegations in his book, even if other negative information comes out in the future, this does not rise to anywhere near the level of throwing the president out of office …” That’s not news - we’ve heard it all before from Trump’s lawyers. The question is this: what would constitute offenses so great as to be a high crime or misdemeanor?

Sinema: Why I voted to convict Trump in impeachment trial.

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema released the following statement ahead of her vote Wednesday to convict President Donald Trump on impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress:

Today, I vote to approve both articles, as my highest duty, and my greatest love, is to our nation’s Constitution.

Americans deserve a government they can trust operates in our best interest. As elected officials, we swear an oath to the Constitution to put the interests of our country and our national security above personal interests. Public service is an honor and a privilege—and it is our duty to earn this privilege every day through our behavior as stewards of this great nation.

The facts are clear; security aid was withheld from Ukraine in an attempt to benefit the president’s political campaign. While White House attorneys claim this behavior is not serious, it is dangerous to the fundamental principles of American democracy to use the power of the federal government for personal or political gain. Worse, they failed to assure the American people that this behavior will not continue and that future national security decisions will be made free from personal interests.

Our nation’s first president, George Washington, warned us how dangerous foreign interference is in his farewell address: ‘Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence … the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.’

Our founders created a system of checks and balances between the branches of government to prevent overreach and protect the liberties of American citizens. The administration’s wholesale refusal to participate in required negotiations with Congress when asked to provide witnesses and documents sets a dangerous precedent, upending the balance of power. Future presidents—of both parties—will use this case as a guide to avoid transparency and accountability to the American people. That should be gravely concerning to all of us.

Today’s outcome is not a surprise, and neither is the brokenness of Washington. The partisanship and ugliness we witnessed throughout this process in both parties is not a testament to who we are as Americans. The greatest threat we face, from forces both foreign and domestic, is the attempt to divide us as a people with vitriol and hatred. It is our duty as Americans to reject these attempts and remember who we are—a diverse people united in our love of country, of freedom, and of liberty.

McSally: Why I voted to acquit Trump in impeachment trial.

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally released the following statement following her vote Wednesday to acquit President Donald Trump on impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress:

Today, I voted against convicting President Trump of the two articles of impeachment. I opposed removing the president from office and the 2020 ballot as this outcome would have been deeply disruptive to the functioning of our government, further divided our nation, and would prevent the American people from deciding who their president should be at the ballot box. The American people collectively are better fit to judge Donald Trump’s presidency as a whole than the partisan politicians in Washington who brought forth this impeachment.

Our Founding Fathers were clear that impeachment and conviction of a president is an extreme action of last resort, to be used for only the gravest offenses. By requiring a two-thirds vote in the Senate, the framers warned against impeachment as a political weapon by an oppositional party. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi used to agree.

This presidential impeachment is historic for dangerous reasons. It is the first partisan House impeachment with bipartisan opposition. It is the first to deny procedural fairness protections to the president during the House inquiry. It was done in a mere 48 days with no serious attempt to fully resolve all separation of powers issues. This is a reckless precedent in its entirety, especially the House’s attempt to force the Senate to do the work it should have completed before articles were ever sent over. This rushed, incomplete, and unfair process should never be repeated by either party in the future.

The president is not perfect, and the way he evidently attempted to address his legitimate concerns about corruption involving the Bidens was inappropriate. Even if all the House Democrats allege is accurate, even if John Bolton supports their allegations in his book, even if other negative information comes out in the future, this does not rise to anywhere near the level of throwing the president out of office or off the ballot for the first time in American history. Beyond that, House Democrats failure to exhaust all available avenues to obtain witnesses and records, by definition, invalidated their frivolous charge of obstruction of Congress. This entire matter, ultimately, should have been handled via the normal oversight processes available to Congress with subpoena disputes resolved in the courts. You can’t argue, as Nancy Pelosi did, that the president is an urgent danger to national security and then wait for over a month before sending an incomplete work product to the Senate. Her actions were transparently political and not at all in line with the grave nature of our impeachment process.

After 13 witnesses, over 28,000 pages of evidence, and nine days of presentations, the Senate did its constitutional duty to try this impeachment. The Democrats simply failed to convince the Senate—or the American people—that the president should be removed from office. It is only fair that the American people decide who their president should be. It’s time for the Senate to resume its focus on issues that matter to real people, like the cost of prescription drugs, access to affordable health care, and taking care of our veterans.

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