February 03, 2020
After each the House Managers and President’s legal team presented closing arguments in the impeachment trial, senators have the opportunity to speak on the Senate floor about the articles ahead of Wednesday’s vote. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) spoke today about why he will acquit President Trump.
Nearly twenty years ago, I was here in this exact place: deliberating on the guilt or innocence of a president who had been impeached by the House of Representatives. At the time, I said that I thought that would probably be the most important vote I’d cast as a senator. I was wrong.
I believe my vote today to acquit President Trump is the most important vote of my career.
Over the past few weeks as we’ve considered impeachment, there has been a lot made of the fact that I was willing to vote to convict President Clinton for what some on the left would write off as “only a lie about an affair.”
Putting the morality question aside—this supposed debate highlights the central point of the differences in the impeachment process and why President Trump should not be impeached.
Before Clinton was even impeached, he admitted to the crime of perjury. Our debate then was about whether or not perjury was a “high crime or misdemeanor.” I believe it was – as I said then, the president should be held to the highest standard.
But that is substantially different than the question before us today. The question put to us by the House Managers is an evidentiary one—one that asks us if, according to the evidence presented, there is a determination that President Trump is guilty of a crime that warrants removal from office.
The simple answer is no. The House hasn’t even accused the President of a crime. Presidents should be held to the highest standard, but that standard cannot be a false, moving standard that isn’t based on evidence, or is established by the court of public opinion.
Here is why I will vote to acquit:
Pause in Aid was Legitimate
This whole impeachment inquiry was initiated on the basis that President Trump orchestrated a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine’s president during a phone call on July 25, 2019. The House Managers spent 75 percent of their time on this point – driving home the importance of our partnership with Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
That’s just plain wrong. But worse, it is hypocritical.
First – there was nothing wrong with President Trump’s phone call with President Zelensky of Ukraine. You might wonder how I can be so sure. Simple. After the House Democrats elevated the allegations of secondhand source, President Trump voluntarily released the transcript of the call.
The transcript speaks for itself. No evidence of a quid pro quo or any wrongdoing whatsoever. Just a president who understands both the importance of Ukraine as an ally and the importance of rooting out corruption.
President Zelensky said publically said that he felt no pressure from President Trump to investigate anything in exchange for foreign aid.
The Trump Administration placed a brief, temporary hold on aid to Ukraine to ensure American tax dollars were not misused. In fact – this has happened 7 other times: Afghanistan, South Korea, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Lebanon and Pakistan. The pause for Ukraine is consistent.
I’m confident of this because I talked to President Trump directly about it. See, I chair the Senate Armed Services Committee – the committee that is responsible for authorizing lethal aid to Ukraine.
I’ve been working on securing that lethal aid for a long time—dating back to 2014, and then-Ukrainian President Poroshenko. Russia was invading Ukraine, but President Obama was unwilling to help.
The Ukrainians needed help. The FY2016 NDAA was the first NDAA to explicitly and directly authorize lethal aid, but still –Obama refused to provide it. Instead, he wanted to give non-lethal aid: blankets and MREs.
When President Trump came into office, he changed it all. He’s the first president to provide lethal aid to Ukraine and has been a committed partner in the region, helping them withstand Russian aggression.
Yet, each of the House Managers that were serving in the House for the FY2016 NDAA voted against it at their first opportunity, and some have voted against in one form or another it regularly.
House Didn’t Prove Trump Committed a Crime:
Now, I’m the first to admit – I’m not a lawyer. In fact, I think that makes me a more effective member of the Senate, because I look at things not like a lawyer, but from a position of common sense.
In this case, the reasons behind why the president should not be impeached are common sense –he didn’t commit a crime. In each of the past impeachment cases, the House of Representatives accused the President – Johnson, Nixon, Clinton – of committing a crime.
Democrats have wanted to impeach President Trump since before he took office.
The Washington Post reported the concerted effort by left-wing advocacy groups to move toward impeachment of the president only minutes after his inauguration. So they have been looking and looking and looking for a reason to impeach President Trump.
Alan Dershowitz Made It Clear:
Dershowitz is widely known as one of the most admired American criminal law professors in the country. He understands the importance of putting the needs of the country over the Democratic Party, as he was supporter of Hillary Clinton in 2016.
He was direct in his presentation and shredded the Democrats’ case. He made it clear: Abuse of power should be a “political weapon” suited for a campaign – not impeachment, as abuse of power is not a crime or impeachable conduct.
Dershowitz also explained that virtually every president since President Washington was accused and could have been impeached for abuse of power, based on House Managers’ criteria.
He also had an important comment on whether or not we needed to hear sworn testimony from John Bolton. He said: “Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense.”
It is clear that President Trump must be acquitted of the charge of Abuse of Power on the merits. A vote to convict in this case would be a dangerous precedent.
Time and time again during the trial, the House Managers’ have preached at us that the truth matters. That the facts matter. That we must convict the president and remove him from office.
In fact, in the House Manager’s closing arguments, I tried to keep count of every time they made accusations without fact – words like cheat, obstruct, crimes—but I had to stop. It was too many times.
Truth matters. But just because you say the president has committed a crime, doesn’t make it true.
So here is what is true. This has been a partisan process from start to finish.
Compare that to the past. The impeachment inquiry against President Nixon was authorized by a vote of 410-4, overwhelmingly bipartisan.
The impeachment inquiry against Clinton had 31 Democratic votes…31 members of his own party.
Yet, the vote for the impeachment inquiry and the final vote to impeach President Trump was strictly partisan. Not a single House Republican voted to impeach the president – on the contrary, several House Democrats voted against impeachment.
I have listened to the facts. I have listened to the evidence and I am convinced: President Trump has not committed any crime.
In fact – the only thing President Trump is responsible for is all of his accomplishments:
- rebuilding the military, including killing the top terrorists
- confirming constitutional judges
- building the best economy in decades
- negotiating a new trade deal
- more Americans working than ever before
- median household income is highest ever.
Accordingly, I will vote to acquit the president on both articles of impeachment.