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.
Martha McSally is Arizona’s junior senator. The Republican formerly represented Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.