RECOGNITION OF THE MINORITY LEADER; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 23
(Senate - February 04, 2020)

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[Pages S815-S850]
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  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, the majority leader can come up on the 
floor and repeat his talking points, but there are some salient points 
that are irrefutable.
  The first, this is the first impeachment trial of a President or 
impeachment trial of anybody else that was completed that has no 
witnesses and no documents. The American people are just amazed that 
our Republican friends would not even ask for witnesses and documents.
  I thought the House did a very good job. I thought they made a 
compelling case. But even if you didn't, the idea that that means you 
shouldn't have witnesses and documents, when we are doing something as 
august, as important as an impeachment trial, fails the laugh test. It 
makes people believe--correctly, in my judgment--that the 
administration, its top people, and Senate Republicans are all hiding 
the truth. They are afraid of the truth.
  Second, the charges are extremely serious. To interfere in an 
election, to blackmail a foreign country to interfere in our elections 
gets at the very core of what our democracy is about. If Americans 
believe that they don't determine who is President, who is Governor, 
who is Senator, but some foreign potentate out of reach of any law 
enforcement can jaundice our elections, that is the beginning of the 
end of democracy.
  So it is a serious charge. Republicans refused to get the evidence 
because they were afraid of what it would show, and that is all that 
needs to be said.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Hyde-Smith). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. THUNE. Madam President, tomorrow we will be voting on the two 
impeachment articles sent over to us by the House of Representatives, a 
process, as the leader pointed out, that really started from the very 
day this President took office.
  I will be voting to acquit the President for several reasons. First 
and foremost, I do not believe the facts in this case rise to the high 
bar that the Founders set for removal from office. The Founders imposed 
a threshold for impeachment of ``Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes 
and Misdemeanors''--in other words, very serious violations of the 
public trust.
  The Founders were deliberate in their choice of words. They wanted to 
be clear that impeachment was a severe remedy to be deployed only for 
very serious violations. When George Mason proposed adding the term 
``maladministration'' to the impeachment clause during the 
Constitutional Convention, the Framers rejected the proposal because, 
as Madison pointed out, the term was too vague and would be 
``equivalent to a tenure during pleasure of the Senate.''
  The Founders recognized that without safeguards, impeachment could 
quickly degenerate into a political weapon to be used to turn over 
elections when one faction or another decided they didn't like the 
President. That is why the Founders split the impeachment power, giving 
the House the sole authority to impeach and the Senate the sole 
authority to try impeachments. As a final check, the Founders required 
a two-thirds supermajority vote in the Senate to remove a President 
from office. All of these things show just how seriously the Founders 
regarded removing a duly elected President. They intended it as an 
extreme remedy to be used only in very grave circumstances.
  I do not believe that the charges the House has leveled against the 
President meet that high bar. The House managers' presentation, which 
stretched over 22 hours, included testimony from more than a dozen 
witnesses. We also heard from the House managers during more than 16 
hours of questions from Senators--in all, about 180 questions--and we 
received more than 28,000 pages of testimony, evidence, and arguments 
from the House of Representatives.
  I considered all the evidence carefully, but ultimately I concluded 
that the two charges presented by the House managers--abuse of power 
and obstruction of Congress--did not provide a compelling case for 
removing this President.
  According to public reporting, House Democrats toyed with charging 
the President with bribery, believing that it polled well, but they 
didn't have the evidence to prove that charge or, indeed, to prove any 
actual crime.
  While allegations of specific criminal conduct may not be 
constitutionally required, they anchor impeachment in the law, and 
their absence is telling. Lacking evidence of a specific crime, the 
House decided to use the shotgun approach and throw everything under 
the catchall ``abuse of power'' umbrella.
  Abuse of power is vaguely defined and subject to interpretation. In 
fact, I don't believe there has been a President in my lifetime who 
hasn't been accused of some form of abuse of power. For that reason, 
abuse of power seemed to me a fairly weak predicate on which to remove 
a democratically elected President from office. During the Clinton 
impeachment, I voted against the abuse of power article precisely 
because I believed it did not offer strong grounds for removing the 
duly elected President.
  With respect to the second article, obstruction of Congress, the 
House took issue with the President's assertion of legal privileges, 
including those rooted in the constitutional separation of powers. Of 
course, every President in recent memory has invoked such privileges--
for example, when the Obama administration cited executive privilege to 
deny documents to Congress during the Fast and Furious gunrunning 

  The House could have challenged the President's privilege claims by 
going through the traditional channels to resolve disputes between the 
executive and legislative branches, that being, of course, the courts. 
That is what was done in previous impeachment inquiries, like the 
Clinton impeachment. But the House skipped that step in the hopes that 
the Senate would bail them out and compel testimony and documents that 
the House, in its rush to impeachment, was unwilling to procure. Again, 
it seemed like a very thin basis on which to remove a duly elected 
President from office.
  The facts in the case are that aid to Ukraine was released prior to 
the end of the fiscal year. No investigation of the scandal-plagued 
firm Burisma or the Bidens was ever initiated. While we can debate the 
President's judgment when it comes to his dealings with Ukraine or even 
conclude that his actions were inappropriate, the House's vague and 
overreaching impeachment charges do not meet the high bar set by the 
Founders for removal from office.
  My second consideration in voting to acquit the President is the 
deeply partisan nature of the House's impeachment proceedings. The 
Founders' overriding concern about impeachment was

[[Page S816]]

that partisan majorities could use impeachment as a political weapon.
  In Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton speaks of the danger of 
impeachment being used by ``an intemperate or designing majority in the 
House of Representatives.'' By limiting the House's power to impeaching 
the President and not to removing him from office, the Founders hoped 
that the Senate would act as a check on any attempt by the House to use 
the power of impeachment for partisan purposes.
  Unfortunately, the Founders' concerns about partisanship were 
realized in this impeachment process. For the first time in modern 
history, impeachment was initiated and conducted on a purely partisan 
  While the Nixon impeachment proceedings in the House are held up as 
an example of bipartisanship, even the impeachment of President Clinton 
was initiated with the support of more than 30 Democrats. By contrast, 
in this case, House Democrats drove ahead in a completely--completely--
partisan exercise. Then they rushed through the impeachment process at 
breakneck speed, rejecting a thorough investigation because they wanted 
to impeach the President as fast as possible. Then they expected the 
Senate to take on the House's investigative responsibility.
  House Democrats paid lip service to the idea that they regretted 
having to impeach the President, but their actions told a different 
story. The Speaker of the House--the Speaker--distributed celebratory 
pens when she signed the Articles of Impeachment and then went on TV 
and celebrated the impeachment with a fist bump.
  It doesn't require much work to imagine the damage that could be done 
to our Republic if impeachment becomes a weapon to be used whenever a 
political party doesn't like a President. Pretty soon, Presidents would 
not be serving at the pleasure of the American people but at the 
pleasure of the House and the Senate.
  We need to call a halt before we have gone too far to turn back. 
Endorsing the House's rushed, partisan, and slipshod work would 
encourage future Houses to use impeachment for partisan purposes. Both 
parties need to learn that partisan impeachments are perilous.
  Finally, I believe that except in the most extreme circumstances, it 
should be the American people, and not Washington politicians, who 
decide whether a President should be removed from office. Presidential 
primary voting, as we learned yesterday in Iowa, is already underway. 
We have a Presidential election in November, when the people of this 
country can weigh in and make their voices heard. I think we should 
leave the decision up to them.
  Indeed, given the deep divisions plaguing our country, as reflected 
in the starkly different views about this impeachment, removing the 
President from office and from the ballots for the upcoming election 
would almost certainly plunge the country into even greater political 
  I am deeply troubled by the events of the past few months. I have 
always believed that we can differ here in Congress while still 
respecting and working with those who disagree with us, but Democrats 
have increasingly sought to demonize anyone who doesn't share their 
obsession with impeaching this President. One of the House managers in 
this trial went so far as to suggest that any Senator who voted against 
them was treacherous.
  At one point, a Senator asked whether the Chief Justice's 
constitutionally required participation in the trial was contributing 
to ``the loss of legitimacy of the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, 
and the Constitution,'' with the clear suggestion that the only way for 
the Supreme Court to maintain its legitimacy would be for it to agree 
with the Democratic Party. We have sunk pretty low when we have come to 
the point of suggesting that disagreement is unconstitutional.
  But for all this, I remain hopeful. Congress has been through 
contentious times before, and we have gotten through them. There is no 
question that this partisan impeachment has been divisive, but I do 
believe we can move on from this. I am ready to work with all of my 
colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, in the coming weeks and 
months as we get back to the business of the American people. And for 
the Nation that we all love, I pray that proves possible.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Madam President, the Senate must determine whether to 
remove a President duly elected by the people. A decision of such 
magnitude deserves, first, full consideration of the procedures; 
second, the merits of the charges; and third, the ramifications removal 
would have on our Republic.
  The Framers of the Constitution granted the House of Representatives 
impeachment powers yet cautioned against using that power unless 
absolutely necessary. Impeachment negates an election in which 
Americans choose their leader. If substantial numbers of Americans 
disagree with removing the President, removal damages civic society. It 
follows that the House should conduct thorough and complete 
investigations, even if time-consuming, before impeaching.
  A thorough investigation educates Americans that a President should 
be impeached and removed. Failing to convince the people invites anger 
towards, disdain for, and abandonment of the democratic process.
  The Framers also required a two-thirds Senate majority for removal to 
prevent partisanship, so that removal only occurs after the House 
convinces its own Members, the Senate, and the American people. The 
Watergate investigation, for example, convinced Americans that 
President Nixon committed crimes, forcing his resignation with 
overwhelming support for removal in the House and the Senate.
  In the case against President Trump, the House declined to call 
witnesses it felt relevant, arguing that the courts would take too long 
and the President was an imminent threat to our Republic. House 
managers blamed legal resistance from the administration and witnesses. 
For example, Dr. Charles Kupperman threatened to sue. A congressional 
committee afraid of being sued while claiming to be fearlessly pursuing 
truth for the good of the country rings hollow. It also rang hollow 
when Adam Schiff said that we could not wait for the next election for 
voters to decide President Trump's fate after Speaker Nancy Pelosi held 
the articles for 37 days. That decision smacks of partisan political 
  The partisanship the Founders warned against was reflected in the 
House vote with the only bipartisan votes being against impeachment. 
House Managers Schiff, Nadler, and Lofgren once said that party-line 
impeachment would divide the Nation. They never explained why their 
opinions changed.
  The role of the Senate, though, is to judge the House's evidence. 
House managers stated their case was ``overwhelming'' and 
``compelling.'' Having not pursued further witness testimony in 
building their case, the House managers demanded the Senate call 
witnesses the House did not call.
  Additional witnesses, however, would not have changed material facts, 
but allowing the House to poorly develop a case, sacrificing 
thoroughness for political timing, would have forever changed the 
dynamic of the Chambers respective to the role of each in the 
impeachment process. Should the Senate acquiesce in this manipulation 
of the process, it would welcome the House to use impeachment as a 
political weapon, whatever the merits of its case.
  I have been speaking of procedure. I want to emphasize that procedure 
matters. Justice Frankfurter once wrote: ``The history of liberty has 
largely been the history of the observance of procedural safeguards.'' 
If the appropriate use of impeachment is to be preserved, procedural 
safeguards must be observed.
  Moving now to charges, in article II, House managers argued the 
President obstructed Congress by acting on the advice of legal counsel 
to resist subpoenas. The judiciary resolves disputes between the 
executive and legislative branches. The House should have exhausted 
judicial remedies before bringing this charge. I shall vote against 
article II.
  On article I, abuse of power, three issues must be addressed: one, 
the legal standard of guilt by which to judge the President; two, 
whether the President committed a crime; and if so, three, whether that 
crime warrants removal from office.

[[Page S817]]

  First, the standard of guilt was never established. Legal standards 
for conviction vary from the lower--more probable than not--threshold 
to the higher, which is beyond a reasonable doubt, which is used in 
criminal cases.
  Since House managers charged ``something akin'' to a crime, ``beyond 
a reasonable doubt'' seems most appropriate, the higher threshold. As 
Senator Jay Rockefeller stated during President Clinton's impeachment, 
beyond a reasonable doubt ``means that it is proven to a moral 
certainty, that the case is clear, that the case is concise.''
  Second, House managers allege that the President held military aid to 
Ukraine to leverage an investigation into former Vice President Biden 
as a quid pro quo, although they did not charge President Trump with 
the crime of requiring a quid pro quo or bribery. The President's 
defense team cast reasonable doubt on this allegation.
  For example, regarding the July 25 phone call, which was reported by 
the whistleblower and which triggered the House impeachment 
proceedings, the President raised the issue of corruption in Ukraine. 
President Trump has always been skeptical of foreign aid and especially 
when he thinks it is wasted. Hunter Biden was mentioned, but no 
connection was made with the release of aid to Ukraine.
  Other defense arguments included that Ambassador Kurt Volker denied a 
connection between aid and corruption investigations; President 
Zelensky and Ukrainian officials denied feeling pressure; and President 
Trump denied a quid pro quo to Ambassador Sondland and told Senator Ron 
Johnson, when asked if there was some sort of arrangement, ``No way. I 
would never do that.''
  Both aid to Ukraine was released before the statutory deadline and a 
meeting between Presidents Trump and Zelensky occurred without an 
announced investigation.
  It is also important to note that the release of aid on September 11 
followed new Ukrainian anti-corruption measures, which included 
swearing in a reformed Parliament and installing a new prosecutor 
general--August 29--and the newly established High Anti-Corruption 
Court meeting for the first time--September 5.
  The third issue regarding article I, abuse of power, is that the term 
is a nebulous one which does not define a specific crime. Contrast this 
with the impeachment of President Nixon when the House drafted an 
Article of Impeachment alleging abuse of power which enumerated five 
specific criminal and noncriminal offenses against President Nixon.
  The Constitution speaks of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and 
misdemeanors. Because high crimes and misdemeanors are not specifically 
defined, it is reasonable to assume that the Framers meant for 
impeachment to occur only if a crime approached levels as severe as 
treason and bribery.
  Since the House managers allege President Trump committed something 
``akin to a crime,'' in deciding whether abuse of power is a high crime 
or misdemeanor, the prudent decision is to apply the principle of 
lenity. This principle, relied upon by Supreme Court Justice Marshall 
and Justice Frankfurter, says that if a law is ambiguous, it is better 
to narrowly interpret the words of a law in favor of the defendant.
  Although the preceding discussion finds that the House managers 
failed to prove their case beyond a shadow of a doubt, failed to define 
the crime, thereby invoking the principle of lenity, it is still a 
question that if a crime was committed, was it an impeachable crime?
  In 1998, then-Democratic Congressman Ed Markey argued that even 
though President Clinton, as chief law enforcement officer of the land, 
lied under oath, the crime was not impeachable. The Senate agreed, 
establishing the precedent that to remove a President, the crime must 
reach a high threshold of severity. The allegation against President 
Trump was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and it does not meet 
that high threshold.
  I shall vote against article I.
  I end by speaking of the ramifications for our Republic. In 1998, 
then-Congressman Chuck Schumer said of the Clinton impeachment:

       I suspect history will show that we have lowered the bar on 
     impeachment so much, we have broken the seal on this extreme 
     penalty so cavalierly that it will be used as a routine tool 
     to fight political battles. My fear is that when a Republican 
     wins the White House, Democrats will demand payback.

  Mr. Schumer was a prophet.
  This must stop.
  With that, I yield.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Ms. ERNST. Madam President, I want to first thank the House managers 
and the counsel for the President for their time and their hard work 
and patience these past few weeks.
  Yes, folks, we have had a robust and at times a rancorous trial. Some 
days I left here feeling angry, and some days I left more hopeful. 
Frankly, it is likely that many Americans--and in my case, Iowans--from 
every political stripe will feel hurt by this process at some level. 
But we are all representatives of the ideals and beliefs of the people 
we are here to represent.
  Like all of you, I have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, and 
I take that oath very seriously. There have been a lot of arguments 
presented about what the Constitution says regarding the threshold for 
impeaching a President. It is clear to me that the Constitution goes 
out of its way to make it a high bar for removing the President. This 
is because the Founders were rightfully concerned that impeachment 
might be used to upend the electoral will of the American people. 
Absent restraint, the impeachment process would be all too tempting for 
those who oppose a sitting President to simply use it as a tool to 
achieve political advantage.
  Each of us had one job--one job--during this process: to decide, 
based on the evidence, whether the President committed an impeachable 
offense. Upon reviewing the record containing the testimony of 17 
witnesses and over 28,000 pages, as well as hearing from both sides on 
their arguments presented throughout this process, I will vote against 
both Articles of Impeachment.
  The arguments of the House managers simply did not demonstrate that 
the President's actions rise to an impeachable offense. Given the 
constitutional requirements, voting any other way on these articles 
would remove the ability of the American people to make their own 
decision at the ballot box in November.
  This process was fraught from the start with political aims and 
partisan innuendos that simply cannot be overlooked.
  The House managers' arguments have argued that the American people 
cannot be trusted to render their own judgment on this President. I 
reject this premise and the complete distrust of the American people 
with everything in my heart. To do this would set a new and dangerous 
precedent in American history.
  As we sit here today, we believe we are experiencing a unique and 
historical event; however, if the case presented by the House of 
Representatives is allowed to be the basis for the removal of this 
President, I am afraid that impeachment will become just another tool 
used by those who play partisan politics. This is not what the Founders 
intended, and this is a very dark path to go down.
  Under the Constitution, impeachment wasn't designed to be a litmus 
test on every action of the President's; elections were designed to be 
that check. Further, the issue of foreign affairs has historically been 
fraught with peril for Presidents. Foreign affairs is an art, not a 
science, and trying to insert a formula into every Presidential 
interaction with a foreign leader is a path toward ineffectiveness.
  The Senate is about to close this chapter in American history. I pray 
that we do not allow this to become the norm. I also pray earnestly 
that we will shift into a spirit of cohesiveness, coming together to 
get our work done for the American people. Our people, our Founders, 
our country, and my great State of Iowa deserve better than this.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from the great State of 
  Mr. WICKER. Madam President, tomorrow I will cast my vote against the 
removal of our duly elected President. I will do so based upon my 
understanding of the duty conferred upon me

[[Page S818]]

by the Constitution of the United States.
  I do not believe the House managers have proved the allegations 
contained in the Articles of Impeachment, nor do I believe the articles 
allege conduct that may be used as grounds for removal. I find the 
President's counsel to be persuasive in this regard. Significantly, 
much of the American public, without the benefit of learned 
constitutional instruction, has come to the same conclusion.
  During the 2\1/2\ weeks of this trial, we have received more than 
28,000 pages of documents, we have seen 192 video clips of 13 different 
witnesses, we had the opportunity to question each side for a total of 
16 hours, and we have listened to literally hours and hours of 
argument. Clearly, I am unable to discuss every aspect of the trial in 
the time allotted me. Some facts in this case are in dispute, but many 
are not. Here is what we all know beyond a doubt:

  First, we know that voices on the left have been calling for the 
impeachment of Donald Trump since day one--literally day one. The 
Washington Post on January 20, 2017, published an article titled ``The 
Campaign to Impeach President Trump Has Begun'' on Inauguration Day.
  Secondly, we know that the yearslong $32 million Mueller 
investigation failed to reveal sufficient ammunition for those who 
desired impeachment.
  Third, the impeachment of this President in the House was the result 
of a narrowly partisan vote, with no Republican Representatives--zero--
voting in favor of the articles.
  And fourth, a guilty verdict this week would not only immediately 
remove the President from office, but it would also remove his name 
from the ballot in an election, which is already going on, and the 
first caucuses of which were conducted only yesterday. The words are 
right there in articles I and II, on pages 3 and 4 of the resolution: 
``disqualification to hold . . . any office.''
  The Founders of this country entrusted Congress with the power of 
impeachment as a check and balance on the executive branch. This power 
was never intended to settle policy differences or political 
disagreements--even intense disagreements. It was not designed so that 
Congress could get rid of a President they found odious or obnoxious or 
with whom they vehemently disagree.
  The Constitution gives Congress this extraordinary authority as a 
remedy only for what it calls ``high Crimes and Misdemeanors.'' And 
making it clear what an extreme action of impeachment is, the Framers 
required the support of two-thirds in this Chamber in order to convict.
  These standards intentionally set a very high bar to prevent abuse of 
the impeachment process. Meeting these standards requires this process 
be used to try only the most serious allegations and requires broad 
consensus in the Senate. Members of both parties have, in the past, 
warned about the dangers of a narrowly partisan impeachment.
  As late as last year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cautioned:

       Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless 
     there's something so compelling and overwhelming and 
     bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path because 
     it divides the country.

  Congressman Nadler, one of the impeachment managers, said in 1998:

       There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an 
     impeachment substantially supported by one of our major 
     political parties and largely opposed by the other. Such an 
     impeachment would lack legitimacy, would produce divisiveness 
     and bitterness in our politics for years to come.

  This wide approach has been supported in the past by House Manager 
Zoe Lofgren, by Senator and future Vice President Joe Biden, and by our 
own colleagues, Senator Menendez and Schumer, who feared that 
impeachment would become a routine tool.
  These leaders had good company in taking this position. In Federalist 
No. 65, Alexander Hamilton warned of the danger that the decision to 
impeach ``will be regulated more by the comparative strength of the 
parties than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.''
  Many of our Democratic friends who once sided with Hamilton have 
apparently changed their minds. They have also reversed themselves on 
the urgency of doing so--a rather sudden and abrupt change of heart on 
that question.
  House advocates of impeachment have argued that President Trump is 
willing to cheat in the ongoing election and amounting to such an 
imminent threat to our democracy that he must be removed at once. 
Unless he is out of office and out quickly, they assert, we cannot have 
any confidence that the 2020 election results will be trustworthy.
  I ask: Does any Senator really believe that; that America cannot have 
a fair election if Donald Trump is in the White House? But that alleged 
danger was the reason for the abbreviated House procedure. The lead 
House manager, Congressman Schiff, said in an interview last year that 
the timing of impeachment was driven by the urgency of removing the 
President. Congressman Nadler agreed, saying that ``nothing could be 
more urgent.'' Speaker Pelosi repeated the same argument many times to 
explain the rushed process in the House and why there was not time to 
give the President a fair hearing. Senators heard the words repeated 
and repeated on video clips shown during this trial--``urgent,'' 
  What happened to that urgency once the House voted? Did the Speaker 
then rush the papers to the Senate so we could address this imminent 
threat? Hardly. Speaker Pelosi held the articles for more than a month. 
If this trial was so urgent, why not send the articles without delay? 
Some might conclude that by withholding the articles, the Speaker 
exposed that she did not, in fact, believe that this case was so 
urgent. Perhaps it was an effort to influence our procedural decisions. 
I do not impugn motives here. Our rules prohibit me from doing so. I 
merely note an obvious change for whatever reason.
  As I consider the high bar of impeachment tomorrow, I will vote not 
to convict. I will do so because there is not overwhelming evidence, 
because no high crimes are shown, because there is not a broad 
consensus among my countrymen, only articles passed on a narrowly 
partisan basis, and because removing President Trump on these charges 
at this time would set a dangerous precedent.
  I conclude by reminding my colleagues that we are the trustees of the 
Constitution of 1787. We have the privilege and responsibility of 
standing on the shoulders of our remarkably perceptive Founders, but we 
also act as trustees for our Republic on behalf of future generations. 
With that in mind, we have an enhanced obligation to be careful, to 
resist the passions of the moment, and to remember that what we do 
today establishes precedence for decades and centuries to come.
  Manager Schiff closed his remarks yesterday with an ominous reference 
to nefarious midnight decisions somehow threatening the freedom or 
welfare of Americans. His hopeful conclusion was that it is midnight in 
America, but the Sun will rise tomorrow, a sentiment I happen to share, 
though my concept of what amounts to a beautiful sunrise may differ 
from his.
  Over a century ago, during the depths of World War I, Vachel Lindsay 
composed ``Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight,'' imagining an agonized, 
sleepless Lincoln walking the streets of Springfield, dismayed over the 
carnage in Europe.
  Let us ask ourselves today, do Hamilton and Madison and Franklin walk 
these venerable halls at midnight? Do these Founding Fathers traverse 
the stone corridors of these great building, this symbol of stability 
and rule of law? If they do, they caution us, as they always have, to 
be careful, to avoid rash decisions, to resist the urges of 
partisanship, and to let the Constitution work. I hope my colleagues 
will heed their counsel.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Madam President, as we think back over these last 
weeks, when we have sat together on the floor considering evidence and 
sitting in judgment as jurors and judges, spending countless hours 
deliberating, I often think about what I will remember from these days 
on a very personal level.
  It has been a historic event, but in some ways, the human element 

[[Page S819]]

me as the most memorable. I will remember vividly the bravery of 
dedicated public servants who had everything to lose and nothing to 
gain by telling the American people the truth about Donald Trump and 
his scheme to corruptly use power for his personal benefit. Their 
courage, their grace under pressure, their dignity, and unshakeable 
honesty should be a model for all of us.
  I will remember, for example, LTC Alexander Vindman, whose video 
appeared before us, a man who was brought to the United States at the 
age of 3 and grew to love this country so much that he put his life at 
risk in combat and then his career at risk by coming before the 
  I will remember Fiona Hill, the daughter of a coal miner and nurse, 
who proceeded to get a Ph.D., swear an oath to this country, serving in 
both Republican and Democratic administrations, warning us not to 
peddle the ``fictional narrative . . . perpetrated and propagated,'' as 
she said, ``by the Russian security services themselves'' about this 
supposed Ukrainian effort to meddle in our election. I will remember 
very vividly Ambassador William Taylor, West Point graduate and 
decorated Vietnam war veteran, who testified that he thought it was 
``crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political 
  I will remember the whistleblower who came forward to express shock 
and alarm that the President of the United States would attempt to 
extort a vulnerable, fledgling democracy to help him cheat in the next 
election in exchange for the foreign military aid they so desperately 
needed to fight their adversary, Russia, and our adversary, Russia, 
attacking and killing their young men and women.
  I have met some of those young men and women who came to Connecticut 
to the Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital, so badly injured they could 
barely talk, and the stories of their suffering and hardship came back 
to me, as I sat on the floor here, and their courage and their bravery 
and strength also will stay with me.
  I will remember the moment that we raised our hands and took an oath 
to be impartial, all 100 of us--99--at the same time, in a historic 
moment when the weight of that responsibility shook me like a rock. I 
will also remember the shame and sadness that I felt when this body--
supposedly, the greatest deliberative body in the history of the 
world--voted to close its eyes, to put on blinders to evidence, 
witnesses, and documents; firsthand knowledge, eyes and ears on the 
President, black and white--documents don't lie--that were necessary to 
understand the complete story and give the American people the complete 
truth. That moment--unfortunately, a moment of dismay and 
disappointment--will stay with me as well, after aspiring for so long 
to be part of this body, which I respected and revered, so utterly 
failing the American people at this moment of crisis.
  And I will remember audible gasps, some laughs, and raised eyebrows 
in this Chamber when Professor Alan Dershowitz made the incredible, 
shocking argument that a President who believes that his own reelection 
serves the public interest can do anything he wants, and his actions 
are not impeachable. The implications of that argument for the future 
of our democracy are simply indescribable.
  I have been a trial lawyer. I have spent most of my career in and out 
of the courtroom. So I can argue the legalities. But I am not here to 
rehash the legal arguments, because culpability here seems pretty clear 
to me. The President solicited a bribe when he sought a personal 
benefit and investigation of his political opponent, a smear of his 
rival, in exchange for an official act--in fact, two official acts: the 
release of military funding for an ally and a White House meeting--in 
return for that personal benefit. Those actions are a violation of 
section 201, 18 United States Code, today. They were a violation of 
criminal law at the time of the Framers, and that is why they put it in 
the Constitution.
  Bribery and treason are specifically mentioned. Bribery is included 
as an abuse of power, as it was when Judge Porteous was convicted and 
impeached. Many of the Members of this Chamber voted to impeach him, 
although bribery was never mentioned in the articles charging him with 
abuse of power.
  The idea that bribery or any crime has to be mentioned for there to 
be an abuse of power is clearly preposterous. In my view, the elements 
of bribery have been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and there is no 
excuse for that criminal conduct. I am going to submit a detailed 
statement for the Record that makes the legal case, but, clearly, 
bribery has been committed by this President.
  Looking beyond the legalities, what strikes me, perhaps, as most 
telling here is the constant theme of secrecy--the fact that the 
President kept his reasons for withholding aid a secret. Unlike other 
suspensions of aid to other countries--like the Northern Triangle in 
Central America or Egypt, where it was announced publicly and Congress 
was notified--here, he kept it secret. He operated through his personal 
attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in secret, not through the State Department, 
not through the Department of Justice. Despite all of his claims of 
corruption and wrongdoing by Hunter or Joe Biden, he either never went 
to the Department of Justice or they declined to investigate because 
there was no ``there'' there. Instead, he sought, secretly, the 
investigation of a political rival through a foreign government, 
targeting a U.S. citizen secretly.
  His refusal to provide a single document to Congress, to allow a 
single witness to testify, keeping their testimony and that evidence 
secret, concealing it; his defiance of every subpoena in court, 
effectively neutering Congress's oversight authority--our oversight 
authority--to check any of these abuses, all of it is for the purpose 
of secrecy.
  His claim of absolute immunity is totally discredited and rejected by 
the court because, as the court said in the McGahn case, he is not a 
  His claim of executive privilege as the reason for keeping that 
evidence secret--well, he never really invoked executive privilege, but 
executive privilege cannot be invoked to conceal criminal conduct that 
fits within the crime of a fraud exception.
  And while the President's lawyers argued before this body that the 
House should have gone to court to enforce those subpoenas instead of 
resorting to the remedy of impeachment, they then had the audacity to, 
simultaneously, at exactly the same time, argue in court that Congress 
cannot seek a judicial remedy to enforce subpoenas because it has the 
remedy of impeachment. They argued no jurisdiction because of 
impeachment, and at the same time no access to evidence necessary for 
impeachment because, supposedly, you can go to court. This duplicity is 
absolutely stunning.
  Again, I will say, just on a personal note as a prosecutor, it is a 
dead giveaway. He is guilty. Regardless of what we do tomorrow, we know 
for sure, in this great democracy, the truth will come out. It always 
does. It is just a question of when. It comes out about all of us at 
some point. And, for this President, the truth is coming out in 
realtime, as we speak on this floor and as we vote tomorrow.
  The revelations in the New York Times about what John Bolton has 
written in his book indicate the truth is going to come out in mid-
March with John Bolton's book, assuming the President doesn't try to 
censor it and tie him up in court or exercise some prior restraint. It 
will come out in congressional investigations when John Bolton and 
others testify. It will come out because there are courageous men and 
women, like Ambassador Taylor, Fiona Hill, Colonel Vindman, and others, 
who are willing to put country ahead of their personal careers.
  When my children grow up--and they are pretty well grown--I hope they 
will be more like them than like the President. I never, ever thought I 
would say that in the Senate of the United States, let alone anywhere, 
because this President has shown that he will take advantage of every 
opportunity for self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement. Whether it is 
violating the emoluments clause--and I, along with 199 of my 
colleagues, have sued him on that issue, making money from the 
Presidency, profiting and putting profit ahead of his official duties, 
or seeking to smear a political rival and soliciting a bribe. Even if 
the aid went through and even if the investigation was never announced, 
it is still a crime--putting that kind of self-benefit ahead of his 
duty to the country and

[[Page S820]]

our national security, the welfare and fight of an ally at the tip of 
the spear against a common adversary who is seeking to destroy Western 
democracies. He is someone who has said: Show me the boundaries of the 
law, and I will push them, and if I can successfully cross them, I will 
do it again.
  And he will do it again. Everyone in this Chamber knows it.
  So, as we make this momentous decision, I implore each of my 
colleagues to think about the gravity of what we will do if we fail to 
convict this President, the message that we send to countries 
struggling to overcome corruption, because America is more than just a 
country. America is an idea and an ideal. When we implore them to fight 
corruption, our credibility is shredded when we condone it at home.
  The Framers, in their wisdom, knew that elections every 4 years were 
an inadequate check against any President who corruptly abuses power 
for personal gain. And this situation and this President are exactly 
what they feared when our young infant country was struggling to avoid 
foreign interference in our elections. It was their worst nightmare, 
foreign interference, the threat of foreign meddling--exactly what this 
President has invited.
  It was delegate William Davie of North Carolina who said: ``If he be 
not impeachable whilst in office, he will spare no effort or means 
whatever to get himself re-elected.'' It was precisely cheating in a 
future election, foreign interference in our domestic affairs, that the 
Framers established impeachment to prevent. That is why the remedy 
exists, and that is why we must use it now.
  History will judge us harshly if we fail in this historic challenge. 
History will haunt the colleagues who fail to meet this challenge, who 
lack the courage that was demonstrated by those heroes: Taylor, 
Vindman, Hill, Cooper, and others. And they will continue to serve our 
country. The truth will come out.
  The heroes of this darker era will be our independent judiciary and 
our free press. They will continue uncovering the truth. They will 
continue providing freedom of information material under the law. They 
will continue to protect civil rights and civil liberties. They will 
continue their vigilance, even if we fail in ours.
  But we have this task now. History will sit in judgment of us, and 
the future of our Republic will be in jeopardy if we fail tomorrow to 
do the right thing.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Loeffler). The Senator from Maryland is 
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam President, it is the constitutional duty of 
each Senator to weigh the evidence before us and render a final verdict 
on the two Articles of Impeachment.
  On the charge of abuse of power, the House managers have presented 
overwhelming evidence, a ``mountain of it,'' as Senator Alexander has 
conceded. For anyone with eyes to see or ears to hear, President Trump 
undoubtedly used the power of the Presidency to withhold vital, 
taxpayer-funded military aid from Ukraine to extort its government into 
helping him in his reelection campaign. He did so even though fighting 
Russian aggression is in our national interest. And make no mistake, 
the fact that he got caught before his scheme succeeded is no defense.
  The House has also proved its case on the charge of obstruction of 
Congress. President Trump has engaged in unprecedented stonewalling, a 
blanket coverup that makes President Nixon look like an amateur--not a 
single document produced nor a single witness. Those who did testify 
did so despite the President's order not to show up. They raised their 
right hands and swore to tell the truth. They included Trump political 
appointees and a major donor to his campaign, individuals who served 
our country in war, dedicated public servants who took an oath to 
defend the Constitution. Dismissing them as ``anti-Trumpers'' and 
``Democratic witnesses'' is wrong, as were the President's attempts to 
bully and intimidate them.
  With the facts proven, the Senate must now ask: Do these charges meet 
the standard for impeachment? The President claims impeachment requires 
charging him with a statutory crime, but that is a fringe view with 
patently absurd results. Their lead lawyer making this argument, Alan 
Dershowitz, did not hold this view during the Clinton impeachment; nor 
does Trump's Attorney General, William Barr; nor does Jonathan Turley, 
Trump's constitutional law expert at the House Judiciary Committee 
hearing--nor does the authority cited by the President's own lawyers 
here in the Senate and referenced nine times in their legal briefs. 
That authority, entitled ``Impeachment: A Handbook'' states that ``the 
limitation of impeachable offenses to those offenses made generally 
criminal by statute is unwarranted--even absurd.''
  This suggested standard has been roundly dismissed because it leads 
to ridiculous conclusions--for example, that a President could withhold 
taxpayer-funded disaster assistance to the people of a State until 
their Governor endorsed the President for reelection.
  Even Alan Dershowitz recognized the folly of his own argument, so he 
switched to saying impeachment requires ``criminal-like'' conduct. 
Well, the President's actions here have all the markings of criminal-
like conduct, including what the Founders would consider bribery and 
extortion. Moreover, as made clear by the nonpartisan legal opinion I 
requested from the GAO, the President and his team broke the 
impoundment control law as part of his overall extortion scheme.
  In fact, the toxic mix of misconduct we find here--a President 
corruptly using his office in a manner that compromises our national 
security to get a foreign government to help him stay in power--is 
exactly the kind of abuse of power our Founders most feared.
  Yet the President shows no sign of remorse or regret. His refusal to 
acknowledge any wrongdoing is an ongoing threat to our country and our 
Constitution. Even as this impeachment process has proceeded, he has 
continued to solicit other countries, including China, to help his 
reelection efforts, as he says the Constitution gives him ``the right 
to do whatever I want as President.''
  Let's be honest. President Trump sees the Constitution not as a check 
on his powers but as a blank check to abuse power, and he will not 
change. His ongoing betrayal of the oath of office represents a clear 
and present danger to our Constitution, our democracy, and the rule of 
  Those who argue we must not remove the President before the next 
election ignore the fact that the Founders included an impeachment 
clause in the same Constitution that establishes 4-year terms for the 
President. They wrote the impeachment clause for exactly this moment, 
to prevent a corrupt President from enlisting a foreign power to help 
him cheat in an election.
  President Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors against 
the Constitution, and we must use the Founders' remedy. We must find 
him guilty and remove him from office. Failure to convict will send a 
terrible signal that this President and any future President can commit 
crimes against the Constitution and the American people and get away 
with it.
  But it is not only the President who has violated his duty under the 
Constitution. So, too, has this Senate, not because of the ultimate 
conclusion expected tomorrow but because of the flawed way the Senate 
will reach that decision. While I strongly disagree with acquittal, 
that verdict might be accepted by most Americans if reached through a 
real and a fair trial. But this Senate did not hold a real trial. It 
held the first impeachment proceeding in our history not to call a 
single witness or seek a single document.
  President Trump's former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, 
offered us important information about the charges against the 
President. The Senate voted not to hear from him. President Trump said 
he wanted his Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, to testify at the 
Senate trial, but then he changed his mind and Senate Republicans voted 
not to hear from him. I offered to have the Chief Justice make 
decisions about relevant witnesses and documents, just as impartial 
judges do in trials every day across America. In fact, unlike in every 
other courtroom, it preserved the right of the Senate to overturn the 
Chief Justice's decision by a majority vote. That is obviously a fair 
process for the President, but every Republican Senator voted

[[Page S821]]

against it. And why? Because they are afraid of getting to the truth, 
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. They know that, as more 
incriminating facts come out, it becomes harder to acquit. By joining 
the President's coverup, they have become his accomplices.
  While the decision on the President will come tomorrow, the verdict 
on this Senate is already in--guilty, guilty of dereliction of its 
constitutional duty to conduct an impartial trial. And because the 
trial was a farce, the final result will be seen by most of the country 
as illegitimate, the product of a tainted trial.
  President Trump must understand this: There is no exoneration, no 
vindication, no real acquittal from a fake trial. In failing to adhere 
to the principles of our Constitution and the values of our country, I 
fear we have done grievous injury to the nature of our democracy. I 
only hope America will find the resilience to repair the damage in the 
years to come.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan is recognized.
  Mr. PETERS. Madam President, I swore an oath to defend the 
Constitution, both as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve and as a U.S. 
Senator. At the beginning of this impeachment trial, I swore an oath to 
keep an open mind, listen carefully to the facts, and, in the end, 
deliver impartial justice.
  After carefully listening to the arguments presented by both House 
managers and the President's lawyers, I believe the facts are clear. 
President Trump stands accused by the House of Representatives of 
abusing his power in an attempt to extort a foreign government to 
announce a trumped-up investigation into a political rival and thereby 
put his personal interest ahead of national security and the public 
  The President illegally withheld congressionally approved military 
aid to an ally at war with Russia and conditioned its release on 
Ukraine making an announcement the President could use to falsely 
discredit a likely political opponent.
  When the President's corrupt plan was brought to light, the White 
House engaged in a systematic and unprecedented effort to cover up the 
scheme. The President's complete refusal to cooperate with a 
constitutionally authorized investigation is unparalleled in American 
  Despite the extraordinary efforts by the President to cover up the 
facts, the House managers made a convincing case. It is clear the 
President's actions were not an effort to further official American 
foreign policy. The President was not working in the public interest. 
What the President did was wrong, unacceptable, and impeachable.
  I expected the President's lawyers to offer new eyewitness testimony 
from people with firsthand knowledge and offer new documents to defend 
the President, but that did not happen. It became very clear to me that 
the President's closest advisers could not speak to the President's 
innocence, and his lawyers did everything in their power to prevent 
them from testifying under oath.
  No one in this country is above the law--no one, not even the 
President. If someone is accused of a crime and they have witnesses 
that could clear them of any wrongdoing, they would want those 
witnesses to testify. In fact, not only would they welcome it; they 
would insist on it. All we need to do is use some common sense. The 
fact that the President refuses to have his closest advisers testify 
tells me that he is afraid of what they will say.
  The President's conduct is unacceptable for any official, let alone 
the leader of our country. Our Nation's Founders feared unchecked and 
unlimited power by the President. They rebelled against an abusive 
Monarch with unlimited power and, instead, created a republic that 
distributed power across different branches of government. They were 
careful students of history. They knew unchecked power would destroy a 
democratic republic. They were especially fearful of an unchecked 
executive and specifically granted Congress the power of impeachment to 
check a President who thought of themselves as above the law.
  Two years ago, I had the privilege of participating in the annual 
bipartisan Senate tradition, reading President George Washington's 
Farewell Address to the Senate. In that address, President Washington 
warned that unchecked power, the rise of partisan factions and foreign 
influence, if left unchecked, would undermine our young Nation and 
allow for the rise of a demagogue. He warned that we could become so 
divided and so entrenched in the beliefs of our particular partisan 
group that ``cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled 
to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the 
reins of government.''
  I am struck by the contrast of where we are today and where our 
Founders were more than 200 years ago. George Washington was the 
ultimate rock star of his time. He was beloved, and when he announced 
he would leave the Presidency and return to Mount Vernon, people begged 
him to stay.
  There was a call to make him a King, and he said no. He reminded 
folks that he had just fought against a Monarch so that the American 
people could enjoy the liberties of a free people. George Washington, a 
man of integrity and an American hero, refused to be anointed King when 
it was offered to him by his adoring countrymen. He chose a republic 
over a monarchy.
  But tomorrow, by refusing to hold President Trump accountable for his 
abuses, Republicans in the Senate are offering him unbridled power 
without accountability, and he will gleefully seize that power. And 
when he does, our Republic will face an existential threat. A vote 
against the Articles of Impeachment will set a dangerous precedent. It 
will be used by future Presidents to act with impunity. Given what we 
know--that the President abused his power in office by attempting to 
extort a foreign government to interfere with an American election; 
that he willfully obstructed justice at every turn; and that his 
actions run counter to our Nation's most cherished and fundamental 
values--it is clear the President betrayed the trust the American 
public placed in him to fully execute his constitutional 
responsibilities. This betrayal is, by definition, a high crime and 
misdemeanor. If it does not rise to the level of impeachment and 
removal, I am not sure what would.
  The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to hold him 
accountable. If we do not stand up and defend our democracy during this 
fragile period, we will be allowing the President and future Presidents 
to have unchecked power. This is not what our Founders intended.
  The oath I swore to protect and defend the Constitution demands that 
I vote to preserve the future of our Republic. I will faithfully 
execute my oath and vote to hold this President accountable for his 
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, may I say that it is a pleasure to 
speak to the Senate with the new Senator from Georgia presiding for the 
first time, at least, that I have had this occasion.
  Well, here we are. The impeachment outcome is settled, as it was from 
day one. In my view, the facts are clear, the conduct impeachable, and 
the obstruction unprecedented.
  In my view, this impeachment process ran into a partisan wall, and 
the Senate's part was to deny the American people the most basic 
elements of a fair trial: witnesses and evidence.
  Alexander Hamilton, years ago, warned us of what he called the 
``greatest danger'' in impeachments, ``that the decision will be 
regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real 
demonstrations of innocence or guilt.''
  In my view, that danger has met us.
  As a boy I often sang a hymn with the stanza that ``to every man and 
nation comes the moment to decide, in the strife of truth with 
falsehood, for the good or evil side.''
  In my view, the Senate chose the wrong side.
  We are obviously going to disagree about a lot here, so let me focus 
on two thoughts that perhaps we can agree on.

[[Page S822]]

  One is that what we have done here should carry little weight as 
precedent. Politics cast very long shadows over this proceeding. This 
was not our finest hour, by any stretch, and much of what was said and 
done here should not be repeated, let alone treated as precedent.
  I hope history treats this episode as an aberration, not a precedent.
  Too many things that are right and proper had to be bent or broken to 
get to the preordained result, and too much of what was said by White 
House counsel was not only wrong but disgraceful.
  The presentation in this Chamber by White House counsel was 
characterized by smarminess, smear, elision, outright misstatement, and 
various dishonest rhetorical tricks that I doubt they would dare pull 
before judges.
  Knowing that we were a captive and silent audience, knowing the 
outcome was predetermined in their favor, and grandstanding for a TV 
audience, particularly an audience of one, they delivered a performance 
that leaves a stain on the pages of the Senate Record.
  Perhaps there will be consequences for some of their conduct in our 
  The conduct of White House counsel in the Trump impeachment trial 
raise grave concerns.
  A staunch Republican friend, who is an able and eminent lawyer, 
emailed me about a White House counsel argument, calling it ``the most 
shocking thing I have seen a `serious' lawyer say in my entire legal 
career.'' He referred to Professor Dershowitz, but the conduct of White 
House counsel in this matter has indeed been shocking far beyond the 
excesses of Professor Dershowitz.
  In some cases, we do not know who pays them. Mr. Sekulow is evidently 
anonymously paid, with dark money, through a mail drop box. Who is he 
working for here? Does his secret benefactor create a conflict for him? 
We should know.
  Among them are lawyers who appear to have grave professional 
conflicts. They represent the President although they are fact 
witnesses to conduct charged in the impeachment. This concern was 
brought to their attention by House letter on January 21, 2020, putting 
them on notice. They ignored the letter.
  The House argued that members of the White House counsel team 
actually administered a massive cover-up, using extreme and 
unprecedented arguments to protect a blanket defiance against 
congressional inquiry into alleged Presidential misdeeds, with the 
intent to hide evidence of those misdeeds.
  There is new evidence that counsel were not just fact witnesses, but 
present at meetings in which the scheme at issue was advanced, and the 
misconduct alleged was confessed to, by the President. Being present 
during the commission of the offense and witness to an overt act in 
furtherance of the alleged scheme is more grave than being a mere fact 
witness. This needs further inquiry, but it raises the question of 
actual participation in the crime or fraud or misconduct at issue, 
which would waive their attorney-client privilege.
  They have not been candid about the law. They have argued over and 
over that they will delay the Senate proceedings by litigation in 
United States District Courts if we allow witnesses or subpoenas, 
mentioning only once, in their pretrial brief, the case of Walter Nixon 
v. United States, where the Supreme Court save the federal Judiciary 
``no role'' in senate impeachment proceedings, warning ``that opening 
the door of judicial review to the procedures used by the Senate in 
trying impeachments would `expose the political life of the country to 
months, or perhaps years, of chaos,' '' the very delay White House 
lawyers have threatened.
  Further investigation may reveal whether various counsel made, or 
permitted co-counsel to make, arguments at odds with facts to which 
they were witness, thereby deliberately misleading the Senate. For a 
lawyer to participate in or be immediate witness to criminal or 
impeachable wrongful activity; and then practice as a counsel in 
matters related to that criminal or impeachable or wrongful activity; 
and then conceal from that tribunal what they knew about that criminal 
or impeachable or wrongful activity, and even affirmatively mislead 
that tribunal about the misconduct as they witnessed it, would be 
attorney misconduct of the gravest nature.
  In light of these problems, one recurring argument by White House 
counsel takes on new meaning. In an often conflated argument, White 
House counsel insisted that no crime was alleged in the House of 
Representatives' Articles of Impeachment and that there was no crime 
committed. If, as recent evidence suggests, at least one White House 
counsel was present at and participated in a meeting in furtherance of 
the scheme at issue, the argument that the scheme was not criminal is 
deeply self-serving. That self-serving nature is precisely why counsel 
under that sort of conflict of interest should not appear in 
proceedings addressing conduct which they witnessed, which they aided 
or abetted, or in which they participated.
  White House counsel used their time before us to smear non-parties; 
to present virtual political commercials; to misstate, exaggerate or 
mislead about legal propositions; to misstate, exaggerate or mislead 
about factual propositions; to misstate, exaggerate or mislead about 
House managers' arguments; and to float conspiracy theories and 
unsupported political charges to the public audience. In some cases, 
arguments are deeply unfair: for instance, calling secondary witnesses' 
testimony hearsay and secondhand at the same time they are blocking the 
direct witnesses' testimony. It was in sum, a sordid spectacle, one 
that few if any courts would have tolerated. They came into our House, 
and dirtied it.
  So enough of my professional disgust with their performance, but let 
us agree that this ought not be precedent.
  Let us also agree on something else. There is one particular argument 
the White House made that we should trample, discard, and put out into 
the trash: the notion that a U.S. district court can supervise our 
Senate impeachment proceeding. I truly hope we can agree on this.
  As a Court of Impeachment, we are constituted at the Founders' 
command. The Chief Justice presided in that seat at the Founders' 
command. We convened as a body at the Founders' command. And at the 
Founders' command, the Senate--the Senate--has the sole power to try 
all impeachments.
  Every signal from the Constitution directs that we try impeachments 
and no part of the Senate's power to do so is conferred anywhere else 
in the government. It is on us.
  The President's counsel proposed that they may interrupt the Senate's 
trial of impeachment, delay the Senate's trial of impeachment, in order 
to go down the street to the U.S. district court to litigate our trial 
determinations about evidence and privilege--determinations in our 
  There are three arguments against that proposition. The most obvious 
one is the Constitution. The Constitution puts the trial in the hands 
of the Senate sitting as a Court of Impeachment and makes no mention of 
any role for any court to supervise or pass on the Senate's conduct of 
this trial. It is simply not in the Constitution.

  The second argument is the improbability--the improbability--that the 
Founders would convene the U.S. Senate as a Court of Impeachment, bring 
the managers of the U.S. House of Representatives over here to present 
their charges, put the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court into 
that chair to preside over the trial, give the Senate the sole power to 
try the impeachment, and then allow a defendant to run down the street 
to a district judge and interrupt the proceedings. That idea is 
contrary to common sense as well as constitutional order.
  The impeachment provisions of the Constitution were adopted by the 
Founders in September of 1787, after that long, hot summer in 
Philadelphia, and ratified with the Constitution in 1788. The Judiciary 
Act establishing lower courts did not pass until 1789. It is hard to 
imagine that the Founders meant the proceedings and determinations of 
our Senate Court of Impeachment to be subject to the oversight of a 
judge down the road from us whose office did not even exist at the 
  The Founders in the Constitution put this squarely on us. No one else 
is mentioned. It is our ``sole Power.'' It is the duty of the Chief 
Justice under the Constitution to preside over the trial.

[[Page S823]]

It is his duty to make appropriate rulings. And it is on us to live 
with that, unless--as we may--we choose to overrule the Chief Justice 
as a body, by recorded vote, and live with that. We run this trial--the 
Senators, the Senate--no one else. We are responsible to the people of 
the United States to run this trial. We were trusted by the Founders to 
live up to those responsibilities.
  When we sit as a Court of Impeachment, it is all on us. The Founders 
put it squarely on us. We took that job when we took our oaths. That 
means we control the trial rulings, the timing, the evidence 
determinations, and the privileges we will accept. We can accept the 
rulings of the Chief Justice or we can reverse them, but it is our job.
  Previous impeachments record the Senate making just such rulings. 
Never has the Senate referred such a ruling to a court. Indeed, in 
Walter Nixon v. United States, 506 U.S. 224, a 1993 decision, the 
Supreme Court held that Federal courts have no power to review 
procedures used by the Senate in trying impeachments, that it was a 
nonjusticiable political question, and that ``the Judiciary, and the 
Supreme Court in particular, were not chosen to have any role in 
  The Supreme Court in that decision even foresaw the delays that White 
House Counsel threatened us with and saw them as an argument against 
any judicial role. The Court said that ``opening the door of judicial 
review to the procedures used by the Senate in trying impeachments 
would expose the political life of the country to months, or perhaps 
years, of chaos,'' and the Court immediately went on to particularly 
highlight that concern with respect to the impeachment of a President.
  It would have been nice if White House Counsel, when they were in 
this Chamber arguing for their threatened delays, would have addressed 
this Supreme Court decision.
  The Constitution, common sense, and our impeachment precedents all 
put the responsibility for a Senate trial of impeachment squarely on 
us. We should not--we should never--shirk that responsibility.
  This has been a sad and sordid moment for the Senate. It has done 
harm enough. Let it not provide any credit to this false White House 
argument, and let this not be precedent for future Presidential 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota is recognized.
  Ms. SMITH. Madam President, this morning, I let Minnesotans know that 
I will vote to remove President Donald Trump from office. I rise today 
because, on this historic vote, I want Minnesotans to understand why 
and where I think we go from here.
  I was reluctant to go down the path of impeachment. While I strongly 
disagree with the President on many issues, I see impeachment as a last 
resort, and I feared that leaping to impeachment would only serve to 
drive us even further into our political corners. This changed when I 
read the whistleblower report, which alleged nothing less than the 
President's corrupt abuse of power, an abuse that had the potential to 
undermine our election in 2020. For me, this left no choice but for the 
House to fully investigate these allegations.
  When the House sent the two Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, it 
became my job to ``do impartial justice according to the Constitution 
and the laws,'' and I take that oath as seriously as anything I have 
ever done.
  This impeachment trial has been about whether the President's corrupt 
abuse of power--power that he used for his own personal, political 
benefit while betraying the public trust--is a high crime and 
misdemeanor as defined by the Founders of our Constitution.
  I believe that it is, and I also believe that to condone corrupt 
behavior such as this undermines the core values we stand for as a 
nation that no one is above the law, including and most especially the 
  Over the past several weeks, I have listened carefully to hundreds of 
hours of presentations, questions and answers, and read thousands of 
pages of documents. Through it all, the facts underlying the case 
against the President were never really refuted.
  The President, working through his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, 
withheld Ukrainian security assistance and a prestigious meeting in the 
White House in an effort to persuade President Zelensky to announce he 
was investigating Joe Biden and the theory that Ukraine interfered in 
our 2016 elections. In order to improve his prospects for reelection, 
Trump directed that vital assistance be withheld until Ukraine 
announced investigations into a baseless conspiracy theory that 
originated as Russian propaganda, and he only released the aid when he 
was found out.
  Then, when the House sought to investigate these actions, the Trump 
White House categorically blocked any and all subpoenas for documents 
and witnesses. No U.S. President has ever categorically rejected the 
power of Congress to investigate and do oversight of the executive 
branch--not Nixon, not Clinton. This obstruction fractures the balance 
of power between the legislative and executive branches.
  How can our constitutional system work if we allow the President to 
decide if and how Congress can investigate the President's misconduct? 
It can't. If we say that the President can decide when he cooperates 
with a congressional investigation, we are saying that he is above the 
  While evidence of the President's wrongdoing is substantial, I 
advocated every way I could for a trial that would be fair for both 
sides, which means hearing from witnesses with direct knowledge of the 
President's actions. I am greatly disappointed that almost all of my 
Republican colleagues in the Senate abandoned the historical, 
bipartisan precedent of hearing from witnesses in every Senate 
impeachment trial.
  Ultimately, when so many people know the truth of what happened, the 
complete truth will come out. Yet the Senate abandoned its 
responsibilities when it blocked efforts to get the complete truth here 
in this Chamber. As a result, there will be a permanent cloud over 
these proceedings. The President may be acquitted, but without a fair 
trial he cannot claim to be exonerated.
  The core question of this impeachment trial is this: Do we say that 
it is OK for the President to use his office to advance his personal 
political interests while ignoring or damaging the public good? My 
answer is no.
  Corruptly soliciting a foreign government to interfere in our 
elections and to announce an investigation to damage a political rival 
and an American citizen at the expense of free and fair elections and 
our national security--that is the definition of an abuse of power. 
This is what Alexander Hamilton was talking about when he wrote that 
impeachment proceedings should concern ``the abuse or violation of some 
public trust.''
  Some have argued that what the President did was wrong, but his 
conduct does not rise to the level of impeachment. They agree that the 
President used his power to secure an unfair advantage in our elections 
but think that this abuse of power isn't that bad. It isn't bad enough 
to remove him from office.
  It is that bad. Trump's abuses of power are grave offenses that 
threaten the constitutional balance of power and the core value that no 
one, especially the President, is above the law. The President's abuse 
of power undermines the integrity of our next election and calls into 
question whether our elections will be free and fair. His abuses of 
power damage national security by undermining the moral stature of the 
United States as a trusted ally and as a fighter against corruption.
  For me, one of the saddest moments of this trial was the testimony 
from American diplomats who urged Ukrainian leaders not to engage in 
political investigations. According to the testimony, the Ukrainians 
responded by saying, in effect: Do you mean like the investigations you 
are asking us to do with the Bidens and the Clintons?
  Some have said that we should wait and let the American people decide 
in the next election, only months away. But when the President has 
solicited foreign nations to influence our elections with 
disinformation and has prevented the American people from hearing a 
full and fair accounting of that effort, our duty to defend the 
Constitution requires that we act now. A vote to remove the President 
from office protects our next election.
  When Leader McConnell refuses to allow the Senate to consider 

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security legislation and when the President shows no remorse and says 
publicly that he is ready to do it again, we have no choice but to act. 
When the President says that the Constitution allows him to do whatever 
he wants, Congress must act.
  The President's conduct is a threat to our elections and our national 
security. What is more, if we fail to check this President, future 
Presidents may be emboldened to pursue even more shameless schemes.
  Lots of countries have high-minded constitutions full of powerful 
words and strong enunciations of rights that don't really mean 
anything. As House manager Adam Schiff pointed out, Russia has a 
Constitution like this. Our Constitution is different. It is not some 
dry, historic document that we keep behind glass in a museum. It is the 
big idea of our system of government that no one is above the law, and 
people, not Monarchs, are the source of power. Everything--everything--
flows from this great idea realized in the lives of Minnesotans who, 
every day, seek the freedom and the opportunities they need to build 
the lives they want.
  There is nothing inevitable about democracy. It is not a natural 
state. It is a state that we have to fight for. The fight for democracy 
and our Constitution has chosen us in this moment, and it is our job to 
rise to this moment.
  After the Senate vote, the work of reinforcing the American values of 
fairness and justice will continue. We have a lot of work to do. 
Democracy is hard work, and I know that Minnesotans are up to it. The 
truth is that I see more signs of common ground, hope, and 
determination in Minnesota than I do the fractures of division, 
distrust, and partisanship, and that is a foundation for us all to 
build on going forward.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cruz). The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, the great irony of the last several weeks in 
the impeachment trial is that the Democrats accused the President of 
using his governmental office to go after his political opponent. The 
irony is, they then used the impeachment process to go after their 
political opponent. In fact, as you look at the way it unfolded, they 
admitted as much.
  As the impeachment proceedings unfolded, they said: We didn't have 
time for witnesses. We had to get it done before Christmas because we 
wanted it done and ready to go for the election. We had to get it 
done--the entire process needed to be completed--before the election.
  They didn't have time for the process. They didn't have time for due 
process. They didn't have time for the President to call his own 
witnesses or cross-examine their witnesses.
  The great irony is, they did exactly what they accused the President 
of. They used the government and the government's process to go after 
their political opponent.
  What is the evidence that it is partisan? They didn't convince one 
Republican. Not one elected Republican decided that any of their 
arguments were valid or that the President should be impeached.
  They made it into a sham. They made it into a political process 
because they didn't like the results of the election.
  When did this start? Did the impeachment start with a phone call to 
the Ukrainian President? No, the impeachment and the attacks on the 
President started 6 months before he was elected.
  We had something truly devastating to our Republic happen. We had, 
for the first time in our history, a secret court decide to investigate 
a campaign. At the time, when those of us who criticized this secret 
court for spying on the Trump campaign, they said: Oh, it is just a 
conspiracy theory. None of this is happening. There is no ``there'' 
  But now that we have investigated it--guess what--the FISA court 
admits they were lied to. The FBI has now been proven to have lied 17 
times. We have a half a dozen people at the top level of our 
intelligence community who have admitted to having extreme bias. You 
have Peter Strzok and Lisa Page talking about taking down the President 
and having an insurance policy against him succeeding and becoming the 
President. You have McCabe, you have Comey, and you have Clapper.
  You remember James Clapper, the one who came to the Senate, and, when 
asked by Senator Wyden, ``Are you storing, are you gathering 
information from Americans by the millions and storing it on government 
computers?'' James Clapper said no. He lied to Congress. Nobody chose 
to impeach him, but he lied to Congress and committed a felony. Is he 
in jail? No, he is making millions of dollars as a contributor on 
television now, using and peddling his national security influence for 
dollars, after having committed a felony in lying to us.
  These are the people who plotted to bring the President down. These 
are the people who continue to plot to bring the President down. Before 
all of this started, though, I was a critic of the secret courts. I was 
a critic of FISA. I was a critic of them abusing American civil 
liberties. I was a critic of them invading our privacy, recording the 
length of our phone calls, who we talk to, and sometimes recording 
conversations--all of this done supposedly to go after terrorists, but 
Americans, by the millions, are caught up in this web.
  But now, for the first time, it is not just American civil liberties 
that are being abused by our intelligence agencies. It is an entire 
Presidential campaign, and it could go either way. This is why you want 
to limit power. Men are not angels, and that is why we put restrictions 
on government. We need more restrictions now. We can't allow secret 
courts to investigate campaigns.
  This started before the election. It went on for the last 3 years, 
through the Mueller investigation. They thought they had the President 
dead to rights, and they would bring him down through this 
investigation. So, initially, the spying didn't work, and the Mueller 
investigation didn't work. They went seamlessly into the impeachment.
  The question for the American public is now: Will they go on? Are 
they going to immediately start up hearings again in the House that 
will be partisan hearings again? I suspect they will. They have had 
their day in the Sun, and they loved it, and I think they are going to 
keep doing it time and time and time again.
  Now, during the proceedings, I asked a question that was disallowed, 
but I am going to ask that question again this morning, because the 
Constitution does protect debate and does protect the asking of 
questions. I think they made a big mistake not allowing my question.
  My question did not talk about anybody who is a whistleblower. My 
question did not accuse anybody of being a whistleblower. It did not 
make a statement believing there was someone who was a whistleblower. I 
simply named two people's names because I think it is very important to 
know what happened.

  We are now finding out that the FISA investigation was predicated 
upon 17 lies by the FBI, by people at high levels who were biased 
against the President, and it turns out it was an illegitimate 
investigation. Everything they did about investigating the President 
was untrue and abused government to do something they never should have 
done in the first place.
  So I asked this question. And this is my question--my exact question. 
We will put it up here:

       Are you aware that the House Intelligence Committee staffer 
     Shawn Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella 
     while at the National Security Council together? Are you 
     aware and how do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and 
     Misko may have worked together to plot impeaching the 
     President before there were formal House impeachment 

  Now, why did I ask this question? Because there are news reports 
saying that these two people--one of them who works for Adam Schiff and 
one of them who worked with this person at the National Security 
Council--that they knew each other and had been overheard talking about 
impeaching the President in the first month of his office. In January 
of 2017, they were already plotting the impeachment.
  And you say: Well, we should protect the whistleblower. The 
whistleblower deserves anonymity.
  The law does not preserve anonymity. His boss is not supposed to say 
anything about him. He is not supposed to be fired. I am for that.
  But when you get into the details of talking about whistleblowers, 
there is a variety of opinions around here. The

[[Page S825]]

greatest whistleblower in American history, in all likelihood, is 
Edward Snowden. What did people want to do with him? Half the people 
here want to put him to death and the other half want to put him in 
jail forever. So it depends on what you blow the whistle on, whether or 
not they are actually for the whistleblower statute.
  I am not for retributions on the whistleblower. I don't want him to 
go to jail, and I don't want him to lose his job. But if six people, 
who all work together at the National Security Council, knew each other 
and gamed the system, knowing that they would get these protections--
they gamed the system in order to try to bring down the President--we 
should know about that. If they had extreme bias going into the 
impeachment, we should know about that.
  I think the question is an important one, and I think we should still 
get to the bottom of it. Were people plotting to bring down the 
President? They were plotting in advance of the election. Were they 
plotting within the halls of government to bring down the President? 
Look, these people also knew the Vindman brothers, who are still in 
government. So you have two Vindman brothers over there who know Eric 
Ciaramella, who also know Sean Misko, who also knew two people working 
on Adam Schiff's staff, and Adam Schiff throws his hands up and says: I 
don't know who the whistleblower is. I have never met him. I have no 
idea who he is.
  So if he doesn't know who he is and the President's counsel doesn't 
know who he is, how does the Chief Justice of the United States know 
who the whistleblower is? I have no independent confirmation from 
anyone in government as to who the whistleblower is. So how am I 
prevented from asking a question when nobody seems to admit that they 
even know who this person is?
  My point is, is by having such protections--such overzealous 
protection--we don't get to the root of the matter of how this started, 
because this could happen again. When the institution of the 
bureaucracy, when the intelligence community with all the power to 
listen to every phone conversation you have has political bias and can 
game the system to go after you, that is a real worry. It is a real 
worry that they spied on the President.
  But what if you are an average ordinary American? What if you are 
just a supporter of President Trump or you are a Republican or you are 
a conservative? Are we not concerned that secret courts could allow for 
warrants to listen to your phone calls, to tap into your emails, to 
read your text messages? I am very concerned about that.
  So we are going to have this discussion go on. It isn't really about 
the whistleblower so much. It is about reforming government. It is 
about limiting the power of what they can do as secret courts. I think 
the FISA Court should be restricted from ever investigating campaigns. 
If you think a campaign has done something wrong, call the FBI, go to a 
regular court, where judges get to appear on both sides, and if you 
want to subpoena somebody or tap the phone, all right, we can do it, 
but it has got to be an extraordinary thing.
  Think about it. Think about the danger. The other side says it is a 
danger to democracy. Think about the danger to democracy of letting 
your government tap the phones of people you disagree with politically.
  I don't care whether it is Republican or Democrat. We cannot allow 
the intelligence community and secret courts like the FISA court to go 
after political campaigns. And I mean that sincerely--Republican or 
Democrat. We need to change the rules. We cannot have secret courts 
trying to reverse the elections.
  I feel very strongly about this. I was for this reform before Donald 
Trump ever came on the scene and before any of this happened. I have 
been for having more significant restrictions on these secret courts 
and more significant restrictions on the intelligence community to make 
sure they don't abuse the rights of Americans. This is a big deal, and 
if we are going to get something good out of this, if there is going to 
be some positive aspect to having to go through this nightmare we have 
been through over the last several months or years now, the blessing in 
disguise here would be that we actually reform the system so this never 
happens to anyone else ever again.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mrs. FISCHER. Mr. President, I rise to voice my opposition to these 
Articles of Impeachment. I want the people of Nebraska to know how I 
will vote and why, as the Senate prepares for the trial's final vote.
  I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and I have a 
responsibility to be an impartial juror during the trial.
  I have given fair and careful consideration to the evidence presented 
during this trial, and I have engaged in the questioning process. This 
is a process that should be about facts and fairness, and that is what 
the Senate has done its very best to do, but the reality is that the 
House of Representatives didn't do its job.
  Under the Constitution and by precedent, the impeachment 
investigation is the responsibility of the House, not the Senate. 
Hearings in the House inquiry during the Nixon impeachment 
investigation lasted for 14 months. The Clinton impeachment House 
inquiry relied on years of prior investigation and overwhelming amounts 
of testimony from firsthand witnesses. President Trump's inquiry in the 
House was deeply partisan, and it lasted only 12 weeks.
  Disturbingly, there was a lack of due process during this House 
investigation. The President was not allowed to have his lawyers cross-
examine witnesses at the House Intelligence Committee hearings and 
depositions. This is the committee that was the lead on the 
investigative hearings. Shockingly, the President of the United States 
was prevented from participating in the House's impeachment for 71 of 
the 78 days of investigation. Our founding document protects the right 
of the accused. The Constitution explicitly states that no one should 
``be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of 
law.'' Our blueprint for freedom protects all individuals' rights, 
whether that person is a truckdriver, a farmer, a businesswoman, or the 
President of the United States.
  The third branch of government--our court system--is of foundational 
importance, and we have it for a reason. That reason is to provide 
every American with the opportunity to have justice in a fair way in 
accordance with the Constitution and the rule of law. But because House 
Democrats were in a rush to impeach the President before their holiday 
break, they decided to abandon the courts completely.
  It was the House's constitutional right to subpoena witnesses. It was 
the President's constitutional right to assert privilege. And it was 
the court's constitutional right to enforce subpoenas. The House did 
not petition the court to enforce subpoenas. Short-circuiting the 
process led to an incomplete investigation by the House.
  Article 1, section 3 of the Constitution provides that ``the Senate 
shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.'' If the Senate were 
to become the factfinder in an impeachment investigation, it would 
completely change the role of the Senate from this point forward, this 
hallowed Chamber, the world's greatest deliberative body. It would 
become an investigative arm of the House. Setting this precedent would 
have a devastating effect on our political institution, transforming 
the very nature of the Senate during impeachment hearings for 
generations to come.
  The Senate is supposed to conduct a fair trial, protect the 
Constitution, and guarantee due process of law.
  My Republican colleagues and I understand the gravity of these 
proceedings. The record shows that President Clinton's impeachment 
trial was met with a motion filed by Senator Byrd to dismiss the 
Articles of Impeachment early on. This time, not a single Senator filed 
such a motion. We approached this process with the seriousness it 
  Senate Republicans supported a resolution that gave the House 
managers more than ample time to lay out their case. Since then, we 
have heard an extraordinary amount of information over the last 2 
weeks. The House managers presented 192 video clips with testimony from 
13 witnesses and submitted more than 28,000 pages of documents. 
Senators then submitted 180 questions. After 2 weeks of trial 
arguments, the House managers failed to

[[Page S826]]

make a compelling case that the President should be removed from 
office; therefore, I will vote for the President's acquittal.
  I firmly believe it is time for the Senate to move forward and return 
to the people's business. It is time to refocus our attention on our 
bipartisan work: providing for our servicemembers, caring for our 
veterans, funding research to cure diseases that cut short too many 
lives, fighting the opioid addiction, and improving our criminal 
justice system.
  So I speak to Nebraskans and to all Americans in urging every Senator 
in this Chamber to have the courage, the heart, and the vision to move 
past this process and work together toward a brighter future for 
generations to come. That should be our mindset at this pivotal moment. 
That should be our mindset in everything we do.
  I urge my colleagues to take the long view and fulfill our 
constitutional role. Let's reunite around our common goals and our 
values. Let's bring this process to an end and advance policies that 
will make life better for Nebraskans and better for all Americans.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss why I will be 
voting to acquit President Trump on both Articles of Impeachment 
tomorrow afternoon.
  Our Constitution makes clear that only a particularly grave act--
``treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors''--would 
justify a Senate voting to reverse the will of the people, the voters, 
and remove from office the person they chose to lead this Nation.
  Besides making clear just how serious an offense needs to be in order 
to warrant impeachment, our founding document allows the President to 
remain in office unless two-thirds of our body--the Senate--votes for 
impeachment. To me, that underscores the need for a national consensus 
that runs across partisan lines before undoing an election.
  The Senate has never in our history removed a President from office 
following an impeachment trial.
  Our Founding Fathers recognized that impeachment should not be used 
as a blunt partisan instrument.
  President Trump was duly elected by the people of this country to be 
President of the United States in 2016. Nothing that I have heard in 
this process has come close to providing a reason that would justify my 
voting to overturn the choice made by nearly half a million West 
Virginians and tens of millions of other Americans and even further--
even further--to remove him from the ballot in 2020.
  There is no doubt that the House impeachment process was partisan, 
politically driven, and denied President Trump some of his most basic 
rights of due process. At the same time, the product that was brought 
to our Chamber was obviously flimsy, rushed, and contained incomplete 
  Time and again, House managers demanded that we do things here in the 
Senate that they neglected to do themselves during their House 
proceedings, such as calling witnesses they refused to call--witnesses 
they are now asking us to bring forward.
  Regardless of the failings of the House managers, it is the Senate's 
job and, indeed, our oath to do impartial justice. In keeping with that 
oath, I supported a trial process that was modeled after the Senate's 
precedent in 1999, when it received the approval of 100 Senators. I am 
glad we conducted this trial under that process because I felt it was 
fair to both sides.
  Both the managers and the President's attorneys were given 3 full 
days in the Senate to present their respective cases, and Senators 
spent 2 full days--16 hours--asking questions and receiving answers 
from the parties. Actually, I found that very instructive. The Senate 
heard testimony from witnesses in 192 video segments--some of them 
repetitive--and received more than 28,000 pages of documents. The House 
record, which we received here in the Senate, included the testimony of 
17 witnesses. So there were witnesses. The House brought witness 
testimony into the Senate.
  I keenly listened to these presentations with an open mind, and I 
have concluded that the arguments and evidence do not provide me with a 
sufficient rationale for reversing the 2016 election and removing 
President Trump from the ballot in 2020. That is especially true 
considering the partisan nature of this impeachment process.
  In the cases of President Nixon and President Clinton, there was 
significant support from House Members of the President's party for 
opening impeachment inquiries. The impeachment inquiry into President 
Nixon was supported by more than 400 Members of the House, many of 
those--an overwhelming number of those--from his own party. And 31 
House Democrats voted to open an impeachment inquiry into their 
President, the Democratic President, President Clinton.
  By contrast, in this case, not a single Member of the President's 
party voted in the House of Representatives to start an impeachment 
inquiry or to adopt either Article of Impeachment against the 
  Many of the President's political opponents want--and have wanted for 
years--to have him removed from office, while virtually no one in his 
own party supports this impeachment.
  We have a mechanism in this country for dealing with issues that 
divide along party lines. That mechanism is not impeachment or removal. 
That mechanism, quite simply, is an election, and we have one in 9 
months. So, beginning yesterday, we think, and in 9 months, we will 
have the certainty everyone desires.
  In the meantime, I am casting a ``no'' vote in this Chamber tomorrow. 
I am voting no on both of these articles. But do you know what? I am 
also going to do something else. I am going to take this opportunity to 
rededicate myself to the principles that this U.S. Senate stands for. I 
am going to take this opportunity to look at those principles and 
appreciate that these are the principles that are tied to making 
America better each and every day. Together we can do this, as 
Republicans and Democrats.
  During the impeachment process, Republicans approached me all the 
time--West Virginians approached me all the time, regardless of party, 
to ask why we were spending all of this time on a wasted process. They 
asked me questions like, Why don't you just get on with the business of 
giving America the confidence that you are working on the things that 
we care about--this was the butcher in the grocery store who asked me 
this very question--our families, making our families stronger, our 
lives better, and our jobs more permanent?
  When we rid ourselves of the shackles of politics, we can truly work 
together on issues like transportation, broadband, energy, ending the 
drug crisis, or strengthening our military. These are the issues that 
affect all of us. These are the issues that transcend the day-to-day 
lives of all the people we represent. They also transcend the day-to-
day sound bites we hear from the constant barrage of both positive and 
negative media to which we are so attuned.
  No one has been served by this intense--and, at times, 
sensationalized--and very divisive proceeding. When we rid ourselves of 
the poisonous venom of partisan politics, we see more clearly. We know 
that we don't always agree. That is pretty clear. But we can certainly 
find common ground, and we do, as was envisioned by our Founders.
  So let's all just take a deep breath and move on from here. Let's 
listen to our better voices. Those are the Americans we represent, who 
remind us every day how important our freedom and our futures are to 
the country and to the constitutional institutions that gird our 
  We sure have work to do. The American public expects us to do better. 
We should expect that of ourselves. After these wayward few weeks, 
there is no question we will need to rebuild that confidence. Do you 
know what? I am in this for the long haul, as I know the Presiding 
Officer is--the one where West Virginians and Texans and Americans see 
better days ahead for themselves and their children; the ones where 
West Virginians, Texans, and Americans drive to work each day and hear 
that Congress is actually doing its job. We were sent to Congress to 

[[Page S827]]

for the American people, to deliver results, to renew their faith in 
our institutions, to rise above our own parties, and to make life 
  I have always been humbled by the confidence that has been placed in 
me by my fellow West Virginians. It is truly an honor to serve, and it 
is one that comes with great responsibility. We need to roll up our 
sleeves, stop the bickering, and deliver.
  I am looking at a lot of young people here in the Hall of the Senate, 
and I am thinking: How can I do better for you all? That is where our 
future lies.
  I am an eternal optimist. I always have been. I am optimistic that we 
can find the solutions that move our country forward. Sure, there will 
be differences of opinion. There will probably be some harsh and sharp 
words along the way and differences in our philosophies, but Americans 
and these young people expect that we will bridge those gaps. It is 
going to take a lot of hard work, but I am certainly ready for the 
challenge, and I hope you will join me.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, tomorrow, on this floor, the Senate will 
reconvene again as a court to vote on two Articles of Impeachment 
against President Trump. Now, after performing my due diligence, along 
with many others, and considering all assertions by the House and 
Senate managers, I believe the President should be acquitted from both 
charges. I do not believe that removal from office is warranted, more 
especially during an election year.
  I, like everyone in this body, listened to 12 days of debate and 
testimony covering nearly 90 hours. I spent time meeting with my fellow 
Senators in order to reach a conclusion that was, one, fair; and two, 
met our constitutional mandates; and three, what will best serve our 
  I did not seek that responsibility. However, I have tried to carry it 
out to the best of my ability. As a Senate juror, I was asked to weigh 
whether or not the House Articles of Impeachment charging the President 
with obstruction of Congress or abuse of power had merit and, if true, 
whether the offenses rose to a level that requires the President to be 
removed from office--again, during an election year.
  And like many of us, I am troubled by multiple factors. Quite 
frankly, I am troubled with the House managers' demand that we in the 
Senate fill in the gaps of their investigation and call more witnesses, 
something they failed to execute themselves. The job of the Senate is 
to be an honest jury, if you will, and not take up the role of 
prosecutor or prosecution. Nonetheless, after hearing House managers' 
statements, it is clear this is exactly the role they insisted we do.
  I am troubled that countless times the House managers made Senators 
feel as if we were the ones on trial. I believe the House managers were 
both incorrect and demanding, constantly stating that Senators have no 
choice but to agree with their line of reasoning, and if we did not, 
then we would deal with the consequences--a veiled threat yet to be 
  I served in the House 16 years. For 12 years before that, I was chief 
of staff for a House Member. I know the House. I truly enjoyed my 
service there. But you don't come to the Senate and point fingers at 
Senate Members and make the insinuation that we are on trial if we do 
not do the right thing, as they have concluded. Enough of that.
  Additionally, my top concern was what precedence would be set for 
future Presidents and their expectations of privacy in conversation 
with their advisers, not to mention the future, with regard to this 
situation, once again, with our Nation finding itself in a whirlpool of 
partisan impeachment. I have been most troubled that the House managers 
have not put cause before personal animus. I would think, back in the 
day, perhaps, that they had a barrel--like a rain barrel to capture the 
excess water off of the roof. I know we had that in Dodge City. I think 
it probably sat right over there. It is flowing over with personal 
animus. It is a rain barrel to catch that and get rid of it and let us 
get back to our business. I deeply regret that.
  As has been stated frequently, Alexander Hamilton described it best, 
that charges against the President ``will seldom fail to agitate the 
passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or 
less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect 
itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their 
animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or the 
other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger [to 
our Nation] that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative 
strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or 
  I don't know how many Senators and, for that matter, the 
distinguished professor from Harvard, Professor Dershowitz, said that 
over and over again. Unfortunately, the warning of Alexander Hamilton 
and our Founders have come into fruition today. It is infectious and 
harming our ability to function as the United States Senate, where the 
threads of comity are already getting pretty frayed, threadbare.
  In this regard, I appreciated yesterday when the White House counsel 
showed clips of major bills important to the American people that we 
have done in a bipartisan fashion, despite our differences, despite the 
animus in the Senate, especially highlighting something called the farm 
bill, where we achieved 87 votes, with the support, by the way, of the 
distinguished Presiding Officer. We don't always agree on every issue 
on the Ag Committee, but we can work together to accomplish great 
things for America. We have done that with the farm bill. Along with 
Senator Stabenow and the entire Agriculture Committee, we are the least 
partisan committee in this distinguished body. That is what we do in 
the Senate; that is what we do on behalf of our farmers, ranchers, our 
growers--everybody throughout rural and smalltown America--and we are 
charged with certainty and predictability, and we had to get it done. 
That is what the White House has done on a number of occasions. We use 
the threads of comity to get things done. It needs a lot of 
  So I ask, have President Trump's actions risen to the level and 
vision by our Founding Fathers and the Constitution as high crimes and 
misdemeanors warranting removal from office? Our Constitution requires 
that the threshold for that judgment must be set by each Senator 
sitting as a juror.
  All of us in this Senate have concerns about the direction this 
country is heading, but let me just stress that we have come through, 
time and time again, dark times. These are not the worst of times. When 
I first arrived here in the Senate as a chief of staff for Senator 
Frank Carlson, it was within weeks we had the horrible tragedy of the 
assassination of Martin Luther King. Washington was burning. Marines 
were on the Capitol steps with sandbags and live ammunition. That was 
tough. Vietnam tore the country apart, so did Watergate, so did the 
impeachment of Bill Clinton, so did Iran-Contra, just to name a few.
  Today a charge of impeachment against the President has placed this 
Nation in jeopardy again. The House managers' assertions are exactly 
the kind of situation the Framers were trying to avoid--the remarks by 
Alexander Hamilton that I just read--as they devised the impeachment 
mechanism to remove a sitting President whose actions endangered the 
  However, as we did back then, we will once again come together. As I 
said, these are not the worst of times, and we have always pulled it 
together. We are a strong nation because we have strong people. We are 
a strong nation because it is in our nature to work together, even as 
we disagree among ourselves.
  So I made my choice very clear, and my plea is, let us restore the 
threads of comity in this distinguished body. Work together, we must. 
We will emerge strong because we will.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota.
  Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I rise today to speak regarding the 
impeachment of President Trump.
  For more than 2 weeks now, the Senate has listened as both the House 
managers and the President's counsel presented their cases. Nearly 

[[Page S828]]

pages of documents, including testimony from 17 witnesses gathered as 
part of the House investigation, will be part of the Senate record. 
Over the course of 2 days, Senators asked 180 questions of the House 
managers and the White House counsel. The Senate took its 
constitutional duty very seriously.
  After carefully listening to the House managers, President's counsel, 
reviewing the documents and testimony, and asking questions, it is 
clear to me that the House should not have impeached President Trump, 
and the Senate should vote to acquit the President.
  The House process did not provide the President with important due 
process rights. On the other hand, the Senate trial was conducted using 
past precedent of the Clinton trial as the framework. At the start of 
the Senate trial, the Senate agreed that the House evidence could be 
admitted into the record. We provided ample opportunity for both the 
House managers and White House counsel to make their arguments and 
ensure that Senators had substantial time to ask their questions. As I 
said, in fact, Senators asked 180 questions over 2 full days and 
received lengthy answers from both--and detailed answers from both 
President's counsel and the House managers.
  The American public has seen the transcript of the call between 
President Trump and President Zelensky. President Zelensky has said on 
several occasions that he did not feel pressured to do anything in 
return for the security assistance. Further, the military aid was 
provided to Ukraine without any investigations being conducted. Given 
these facts, the House's allegations do not rise to the level of an 
impeachable offense.
  Our Founding Fathers believed that impeachment should not be used as 
a partisan weapon and that the President serves at the will of the 
people. With an election to be held in coming months, it should be up 
to the American people to decide who will lead the country.
  We need to put this impeachment behind us. We need to get back to 
work advancing measures to help improve the lives of Americans. These 
legislative priorities, delayed while the House and Senate focused its 
attention on partisan impeachment, include important items like 
addressing our Nation's infrastructure, lowering prescription drug 
costs, providing middle-class tax relief, promoting American energy 
development, supporting our military and veterans, upholding our trust 
and treaty obligations to our Tribal communities, securing our borders, 
and continuing to fight for our farmers and our ranchers. These should 
all be areas where we can work together on a bipartisan basis for the 
American people.
  With these important priorities in mind, I look forward to getting 
back to work for the American people.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I rise today as an unwavering believer 
in the system of checks and balances laid out by our Framers in the 
Constitution, with three coequal branches of government at times 
working with each other and at times working as a check against each 
other. It is this system of checks and balances that safeguards our 
Republic against tyranny and ensures that our government by the people, 
for the people, as Abraham Lincoln said, does not perish from the 
  My colleagues, what the facts of this trial have shown and what every 
Member of this body knows is that President Trump did exactly what the 
House has accused him of in these two Articles of Impeachment: abusing 
his power and obstructing Congress.
  These articles strike at the very heart of a republic ruled not by 
men but by laws and the very notion of a government elected by and for 
the people.
  I took my constitutional oath to do impartial justice seriously. I 
came to the trial with an open mind. I listened to both sides. I waited 
for the facts to persuade me. But in all the many hours I sat through 
this trial, not once did I hear the President's team make a compelling 
defense. Instead, I heard a damning case from the House managers 
detailing how President Trump subverted our national security and 
solicited foreign interference in our election for his own personal 
political benefit.
  The facts show that the President used U.S. security assistance and 
an official White House meeting--two of Ukraine's highest priorities--
not to advance our national security but, rather, his own 2020 
reelection effort. In so doing, he violated the law known has the 
Impoundment Control Act and undermined Congress's constitutional 
  As the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I 
want to make something clear. When a foreign adversary like Russia 
interferes in our elections, it is not for the benefit of the United 
States; it is for the benefit of Russia.
  The United States provides foreign assistance to countries all over 
the world because it benefits America's interests. We help Ukraine in 
their fight against Russian aggression because it is the right thing to 
do for our national security. But when U.S. officials tell Ukraine that 
in order to get the Oval Office meeting their President wants and the 
security assistance it urgently needs, their government must first 
announce investigation into President Trump's political opponents, that 
is not advancing our national security. That is corrupting it. That is 
forcing a foreign country to choose between their own security and 
getting perversely involved in another country's elections.
  When we use U.S. foreign assistance as a political pawn, we weaken 
our standing and credibility in the world.
  Ukraine needed our help. Yet, when it sought our military assistance, 
instead of sending it right away, the President of the United States 
said: Well, I would like you to do us a favor, though. The damage of 
that message cannot be undone. And if we don't hold this President 
accountable, then we are saying it is OK to do it again.
  I fear the consequences of the President's actions, and I fear the 
consequences of our own inaction--not just for today or this year but 
for years to come when we have to explain to our allies ``Trust us; we 
will be there'' or when we tell the American people ``Trust us; we are 
doing this in the name of U.S. national security'' or when we press 
other countries about strengthening the rule of law and holding free 
and fair elections.
  If we do not rein in this conduct, if we do not call it the abuse of 
power that it is, then we have failed to live up to the ideals of our 
  I fear we have already let the American people and our Constitution 
down by failing to hold a fair trial. There is no American across this 
country who would call a trial without witnesses and documents a fair 
trial. They would call it a sham. And by refusing witnesses and 
documents, the Senate is complicit in the President's obstruction of 
Congress--the essence of the House's second Article of Impeachment.
  The House had a constitutional prerogative to conduct an impeachment 
and oversight investigation. Yet President Trump engaged in 
unprecedented obstruction in order to cover up his misconduct by 
blocking witnesses with firsthand knowledge, by denying access to any 
documents, by publicly disparaging and threatening--threatening--those 
with the courage to defy his orders and testify publicly, by casting 
aside a coequal branch of government, as if he can really do, as he 
himself has said, whatever he wants.
  When a President tries to extort a foreign government for his own 
political aims and in doing so ignores the law and the Constitution, 
the only remedy can be that which our Framers gave us: impeachment and 
  The Framers knew this day would come. They knew the threat of an 
Executive who welcomed or solicited foreign interference in our 
elections is real. What the Framers of our Constitution never could 
have imagined is that there would come a day when the U.S. Senate would 
shrink in the face of a President who would behave like a King, not out 
of principle but out of willful ignorance and blind party loyalty.
  Our failure to conduct a fair trial casts doubt on the very verdict 
rendered by this body. This is not an exoneration of a President; it is 
a coronation of a King.
  I believe that the day we fail to remove this President will go down 
in history as a day of constitutional infamy. It will be remembered as 
a dark

[[Page S829]]

day for our democracy, for our national security, and for our 
constitutional order.
  I ask my colleagues, what future damage will we enable if this body 
says that it is OK for a President to subvert our national security 
interests and solicit foreign interference in our elections? What will 
be left of our system of checks and balances if there are no 
consequences for obstructing investigations, blocking witnesses, and 
withholding evidence from Congress? If we do not remove this President, 
can we pull ourselves back to a place where the rule of law matters? 
How much more shredding of the Constitution as a nation can we possibly 

  We already know President Trump thinks he can go to war without 
congressional authorization. He believes he can misuse congressionally 
appropriated funds for whatever he wants, like taking billions from the 
Department of Defense to spend on a border wall that every day proves 
to be a colossal waste. And through it all, the compliant and complicit 
Republican majority has further emboldened this President by 
eliminating the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominations, by 
refusing to call witnesses in this trial, by further stripping the 
Senate of its David versus Goliath role in which we serve as a check on 
vast executive power.
  If the Senate is prepared to say that this President and all future 
Presidents of either party can misuse congressionally appropriated 
funding to extract political favors from a foreign power, can deny all 
witnesses, can withhold all relevant documents, can openly threaten 
Ambassadors, career public servants, and Members of Congress--if a 
President can commit all of these gross abuses of power as if he were 
above the law, then the very essence of our democracy is broken, and 
what we must ask ourselves is, What is left? What is left of our 
Constitution if we are not prepared to defend it? What is left other 
than lawlessness?
  We need Republicans of conscience and courage to say more than just 
``Yes, the President did it, and it was wrong.'' We need our Republican 
colleagues to be intellectually honest. We need them to speak the truth 
and say it is impeachable so we can mount a bipartisan defense of the 
Constitution and all that America stands for.
  I, for one, am prepared to defend our Constitution. I will vote 
guilty on the Articles of Impeachment, not because of loyalty to any 
party, not because of how it will or won't play in any upcoming 
election. I will vote for impeachment and removal not because I hate 
this President, because I don't, but because I love our country more.
  I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and with this vote, I 
intend to do so.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Murkowski). The Senator from 
  Mr. MARKEY. Madam President, I thank you.
  Over the course of this trial, we have heard nothing less than a 
blistering, scalding indictment of President Trump's conduct. The House 
managers put forward a compelling--indeed, overwhelming--case that 
Donald Trump engaged in impeachable conduct. He withheld both 
congressionally approved aid to our ally Ukraine and an Oval Office 
meeting desperately sought by Ukraine's new President--two official 
acts--in exchange for personal favors that would benefit him 
  Trump sought an announcement by Ukraine of baseless investigations 
into bogus corruption allegations against Joe Biden, whom Donald Trump 
most feared as an opponent in the 2020 Presidential election. He also 
wanted Ukraine to announce an investigation into the discredited and 
debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 
2016 Presidential election.
  At every turn, Donald Trump refused to cooperate with and actively 
obstructed Congress's investigation into his wrongdoing. His 
obstruction was, in the words of the Articles of Impeachment, 
``unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate.''
  I listened carefully to the President's lawyers as they presented 
their defense case. Like my colleagues, I took pages of notes. My 
colleagues were very patiently trying to hear each argument that was 
being made by the defense counsel. I took notes. They took notes.
  As I sat at this desk, with the seriousness and sanctity of the 
proceedings thick in the air, I waited for the President's lawyers to 
rebut the avalanche of evidence against their client, and I waited and 
I waited. At the end of the case, I was still waiting. And that is 
because the President's lawyers did nothing to rebut any of the facts 
in this case--nothing. They knew what we all knew after we heard the 
House managers' case. Donald Trump did it. He did it. He did exactly 
what he was alleged to have done. He abused his power. He committed 
impeachable crimes. He is guilty. There is no question about it--no 
question at all.

  There is no doubt that President Trump used his personal attorney, 
Rudy Giuliani, to solicit Ukraine's interference in the 2020 election. 
There is no doubt that President Trump froze the $391 million of 
taxpayer dollars in Ukraine military aid and security assistance that 
Congress authorized and appropriated. There is no doubt that President 
Trump conditioned the release of that aid on the Ukrainian Government's 
announcement of politically motivated investigations.
  There is no doubt that in a July 25, 2019, telephone call, President 
Trump directly solicited investigations from President Zelensky, as the 
partial transcript memorialized and as Acting White House Chief of 
Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted. There is no doubt that President Trump 
released the aid to Ukraine only after a patriot within the 
intelligence community blew the whistle on him and after several House 
committees announced a joint investigation into the President's 
coercive scheme. There is no doubt that the President directed and 
orchestrated a coverup and the wholesale obstruction of Congress's 
investigation into his wrongdoing.
  Donald Trump has shown no remorse, no contrition, no recognition 
whatsoever that his conduct was wrong. Instead, he has doubled down on 
his abuses, gaslighting us repeatedly with the assertion that his call 
with President Zelensky was ``perfect'' and by publicly urging Ukraine 
and China to investigate his political rivals.
  The question now before the U.S. Senate is not, What are the facts? 
We know the facts. No reasonable person can dispute them. No, the 
question for the Senate is, What in the pursuit of impartial justice, 
as our oaths require, must we do with these facts?
  To me, the answer is clear. We must vote to convict Donald Trump and 
remove him from office. All the evidence shows that he has committed 
impeachable offenses and is a clear and present danger to our democracy 
and our national security.
  But if we fail to remove Donald Trump from office, we are left with 
an equally consequential question: What would prevent an acquitted 
Donald Trump from abusing his power again? We all know that the answer 
is nothing--nothing will. That is the answer I received from the House 
managers when I asked this question during the trial. In fact, we know 
that an acquittal will only embolden him.
  We know that Donald Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President 
Zelensky took place the day after Special Counsel Mueller testified in 
the House of Representatives. The special counsel found and explained 
in his House testimony that there was evidence of a criminal conspiracy 
between members of the Trump campaign and Russia, but the evidence was 
not sufficient to bring charges. Robert Mueller never said there was no 
evidence of such a conspiracy. There was evidence. It was merely 
insufficient for a prosecution.
  We know that Donald Trump took this as a green light to invite 
further foreign interference in our elections, which he did the very 
next day.
  Donald Trump has no shame. He cannot help himself. If we acquit 
President Trump, he will believe himself to be accountable to no one, 
and when--not if, but when--he is again faced with a choice between the 
public interest and his personal interest, he will choose his personal 
interest, and it will, in part, be a reckoning of our own making. A 
majority in this Chamber will have made President Trump a dictator.
  Then, what will we tell the American people? How will we convince 
them that we still have a democracy that they should have faith in, a 
system of

[[Page S830]]

checks and balances that ensures accountability, that no one is above 
the law?
  This weekend I asked some of my constituents what they would say on 
the floor of the Senate if they could make remarks in this trial.
  Jennifer Baker Jones of Woburn said it perfectly:

       Wednesday's vote won't be a vindication of Trump, but an 
     end to the right of Congress to push back on the President. 
     They are giving up their balance of power.

  It will be difficult because we have already ceded much of our 
authority and, indeed, betrayed the public's faith in us by the conduct 
of this trial.
  Hope Anderson in Lowell, MA, told me:

       We need to not only hold our leaders and ourselves 
     accountable, but seek to maintain and repair the public's 

  We are not here simply to protect one election in 2020. We are here 
to protect all elections.
  At the beginning of this trial, we each took an oath to do impartial 
justice, but then we held the trial without witnesses and without 
documents. We moved to vote on the Articles of Impeachment without 
hearing from John Bolton, a witness whose firsthand knowledge directly 
cuts the heart out of the President's case; without hearing from Mick 
Mulvaney, whose fingerprints are all over this scheme; without the 
emails, texts, and other documents we know exist, writings that 
memorialize communications about the actions at issue here.
  A trial is a search for the truth, the full truth, the whole truth. 
That search for the truth requires hearing from relevant witnesses and 
seeing relevant documents so that the fact finders understand the 
entire story. By not pursuing this evidence, the Senate--the fact 
finders--have told the American people that the truth does not matter.
  They deserve better from us. Our Constitution demands it, our 
democracy demands it, and I believe the vast majority of my Republican 
colleagues do understand what Donald Trump did here and know that it is 
very, very wrong. They know the House managers proved their case. Some 
are even saying that out loud.
  I believe the vast majority of my Republican colleagues recognizes 
that abuse of power is an impeachable offense and that the President is 
not above the law. But, unfortunately, I also believe that they are 
simply too afraid of Donald Trump to do what they know is right.
  Every Senator needs to consider this question. If what Donald Trump 
did here is not impeachable--extorting foreign interference in our free 
and fair elections and then covering it up--then, what is impeachable?
  We have to have accountability. That is our duty. We cannot give 
future Presidents carte blanche to tear down our Constitution and 
interfere with free and fair elections, period. That has to be our 
  I will end my remarks with the answer I got from my constituent 
Matthew Murray in Gloucester to what he would say if he were here. He 

       I urge you, my fellow Senators, to deliberate in accordance 
     to your conscience and the oath you took when you were 
     elected, and vote to remove this dangerous President from 

  This is the choice we must make: duty to this President or duty to 
democracy. For this reason, I will be voting to remove President Trump 
from office. This is an historic moment. I do not think that this body 
has a choice.
  Thank you, Madam President. I yield back.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CARPER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CARPER. Madam President, 233 years ago, our Founding Fathers 
gathered in Philadelphia, just a few miles north of us in Delaware. 
Eleven years earlier, we had declared our independence from the British 
Crown, the most powerful empire in the world. Despite long odds, David 
overcame Goliath, and we won our independence, but would the government 
of this new Nation endure?
  When the Founders gathered in Philadelphia that summer of 1787, they 
began debating a new form of government. At times, the differences 
between our Founders--Northern States, Southern States, small States, 
and large States--seemed irreconcilable. However, a great compromise 
was eventually reached, and an intricate system of checks and balances 
was written into a governing document, the Constitution of the United 
  Nebraska Senator William Jennings Bryan once remarked: ``Destiny is 
not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.'' Our Constitution 
has endured longer than any other on Earth, in large part because we 
did not leave our destiny to chance. Today, our Constitution remains 
the longest lasting Constitution in the world.
  Our Founders, despite their many disagreements, made the crucial 
choice that this new Constitution would not lead to the creation of an 
all-powerful King. They came from places where they had done that, been 
there, and they didn't want to go through that again. Instead, the 
Constitution created three separate, coequal branches of government--an 
executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch. This 
ingenious system would ensure that a future President with the impulses 
of a King would be restrained by the other two branches.
  The Constitution also provided another backstop against abuses from a 
future President who committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes 
and misdemeanors. That constitutional backstop is called impeachment.
  As we consider the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, I ask my 
colleagues to remember that while we are here today because of the 
conduct of one man, the Constitution that guides us through these 
choppy waters some 233 years later is the triumph and wisdom of many 
men. We are here because of patriots like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, 
Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, and many others who lived under the harsh 
rule of a King and fought for the freedom to govern themselves.
  Our Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power of 
impeachment, while the Senate has the sole power to conduct a trial in 
the event the House impeaches a sitting President.
  We are now at the end of the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. It 
is not the trial that many of us had hoped for. We had hoped for a fair 
trial. The American people deserve a fair trial. A fair trial has 
witnesses. A fair trial has evidence.
  I don't believe that history will be kind to those who have and 
continue to prevent the truth from coming to light during this trial. 
The American people deserve to know the truth, as does this jury, the 
Members of the United States Senate.
  President Lincoln once said:

       I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, 
     they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.

  Thomas Jefferson said something very similar to that. He said that if 
the people know the truth, they won't make a mistake.
  The same is true of the Senate. If given the truth, we, too, can be 
depended upon to meet this crisis and do the right thing. I believe the 
truth will not only set us free but keep us free.
  We now have an obligation to consider the evidence presented by House 
managers and the President's defense team related to two Articles of 
Impeachment--one, abuse of power; two, obstruction of Congress.
  The House managers have presented a case that is a result of a 3-
month-long investigation during which the House Intelligence Committee 
issued scores of subpoenas for documents and testimony. Donald Trump 
obstructed this process from the start. No President--not even 
President Richard Nixon during Watergate--has ever issued an order to 
direct a witness to refuse to cooperate in an impeachment inquiry. As a 
result of this unprecedented obstruction, the Trump administration did 
not provide a single document to the House of Representatives--not one.
  Fortunately, those 17 brave public servants, many of whom risked 
their careers, came forward to testify under oath, and here is what we 
learned from them.
  Donald Trump used the powers of his office to pressure the Government 
of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf and to smear 

[[Page S831]]

most feared political opponent, our former colleague, former Vice 
President Joe Biden. Donald Trump did this by illegally withholding 
funds appropriated by Congress to help an ally, Ukraine, in the midst 
of a hot war against Russia. Donald Trump did this by withholding a 
coveted White House meeting from the newly elected President of 
Ukraine, President Zelensky.
  This President illegally withheld the funds and a meeting until 
President Zelensky merely announced sham investigations involving Vice 
President Joe Biden and a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not 
Russia, interfered in the 2016 election. And when he got caught in the 
midst of this corrupt scheme, President Trump even called for other 
foreign nations to interfere on his behalf in the upcoming 2020 

  While I believe the evidence against Donald Trump is overwhelming, 
like any criminal defendant, he is entitled to a robust defense.
  Many of us listened carefully to the President's defense team over 
the course of his 2-week trial. Not once did the President's defense 
team rebut the facts of the case. Not once did they defend their 
client's character or call an eyewitness who could contradict the 
assertions made by witnesses who testified under oath. Not once did we 
hear the President's defense team say: Of course, the President 
wouldn't use the weight of the Federal Government to smear his 
political rival.
  What did we hear? Instead, we heard distractions, conspiracy 
theories, unfounded smears about Vice President Biden--our former 
colleague--and his family. Instead, we heard a farfetched legal theory 
that Presidents cannot be impeached for soliciting foreign interference 
in our elections if they believe their own reelection is in the 
national interest.
  I believe the House managers proved their case, and there now appears 
to be some bipartisan agreement that the President abused his power. 
Still, does this merit conviction and removal from office? Think about 
  Our Constitution, agreed to in 1787, sought to establish ``a more 
perfect Union''--not a perfect union, ``a more perfect Union.'' The 
hard work toward a more perfect union did not end when Delaware became 
the first State to ratify the Constitution on December 7, 1787. In 
truth, it had only just begun. We went on as a nation to enact the Bill 
of Rights, abolish slavery, give women the right to vote, and much, 
much more.
  Throughout our history, each generation of Americans has sought to 
improve our government and our country because, after all, we are not 
  In the words of Senator Bryan, we do not leave our destiny to chance. 
We make it a matter of choice. And we choose to make this a more 
perfect union, a reflection that the hard work begun in Philadelphia in 
1787 is never--never--truly complete.
  Our Constitution has weathered a Civil War, World War I, World War 
II, Vietnam, Watergate, a Great Depression, a great recession, death of 
Presidents, assassination of Presidents, and, yes, impeachment of 
Presidents. Our Constitution will weather this storm too.
  A vote to acquit this President does not exonerate this President. A 
vote to acquit effectively legalizes the corruption of our elections--
the very foundation under our democratic process. A vote to acquit says 
to the President, and to all who follow, that you may use the powers of 
the office to solicit foreign interference in our elections--the very 
thing that the Founding Fathers feared. A vote to acquit is the 
realization of our Founders' worst fears: leaving a President with the 
impulses of a King, unchecked by the other coequal branches of 
government and undeterred by the prospect of impeachment.
  Donald Trump violated his oath. He broke the law. He attempted to 
cheat in the 2020 election, and when he got caught, he left little 
doubt that he will cheat again. That is not the conduct we expect of an 
American President. That is the conduct of someone who believes that he 
or she is above the law. Donald Trump is our President. He is not our 
  So colleagues, if our destiny is to remain the most enduring 
democracy in the history of the world, we must not leave this to be a 
matter of chance. We must choose to preserve and protect our 
Constitution, and, to do so, we must convict Donald Trump on both 
Articles of Impeachment and remove him from office.
  As he left the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin 
was asked this question we heard asked several times in the last 2 
weeks on this floor. He was asked: ``What do we have, [what do we have 
here] a monarchy or a republic?'' Franklin answered famously: ``A 
republic, if you can keep it.''
  Today I want to pose the same question to all of us, to our 
colleagues, in this Chamber: What do we have here, a monarchy or a 
Republic? I guess we can all answer for ourselves, but I want to leave 
you with my answer today. Here it is. We have a Republic, and I intend 
to keep it.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. KAINE. Madam President, I rise also to discuss the pending 
matter, the serious matter of impeachment.
  President Trump schemed to get Ukraine to help him win the 2020 
election by strong-arming its new President to announce a bogus 
investigation against a political opponent. To carry out his scheme, he 
smeared, fired, and threatened a dedicated career ambassador, thwarted 
Congress by secretly withholding appropriated military aid over the 
advice of his national security team, violated two laws in order to 
hide his actions, outsourced critical foreign policy to a rogue private 
attorney, hurt an American ally, gratified an adversary, and overturned 
longstanding precedent regarding the relationship between the executive 
and legislative branches. The scheme was so repellant that numerous 
members of his own administration fought against it, and then, when 
they could not stop it themselves, courageously brought it to light.
  The House managers have proven both Articles of Impeachment. But I 
have struggled during the Senate process--which cannot be called a 
trial due to the shocking refusal to allow key witnesses and 
documents--with a basic question: Is it an abuse of trust for a 
President to behave exactly as expected?
  President Trump's behavior has been appalling, but it has not been a 
surprise. The American people knew that Donald Trump would seek foreign 
help to win an election. He publicly did so in 2016 by appealing to 
Russia for help at the same time as our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff said Russia was America's chief adversary. That he is doing so 
again is no surprise.
  The American public knew that Donald Trump would target political 
opponents with false attacks. He publicly did so in 2016 by leading 
crowds in chants of ``Lock her up.'' That he will again target 
perceived opponents, Democrats or Republicans, Ambassadors or 
whistleblowers, Representatives or Senators, war heros or teenage 
environmental activists, is no surprise.
  The American public knew that Donald Trump would obstruct the release 
of information. He publicly did so in 2016, when he violated 
longstanding practice by refusing to release his tax returns. That he 
will continue to obstruct Congress, the media, and the American public 
is no surprise.
  His bigotry is no surprise. His lying is no surprise. His lack of 
ethics is no surprise. His xenophobia is no surprise. His misogyny is 
no surprise. His obsessive selfishness is no surprise. His hateful, 
divisive, and ignorant rhetoric is no surprise.
  But Presidential impeachment was not designed to remove an amoral 
leader that the Nation had knowingly and willingly elected. It was 
designed to rescue the Nation from a leader who abuses the public 
trust. Can one abuse the public trust by behaving exactly as expected?
  The Senate impeachment process answered my question. In 1974, 
Senators of both parties were willing to condemn extreme Presidential 
misconduct. In 1999, Senators of both parties were able to distinguish 
between unacceptable personal behavior and ``high Crimes and 
Misdemeanors.'' But in 2020, the Senate majority engineered an effort 
to conceal the truth rather than find the truth. Some described their 
motives as ``let the people decide,'' even as they voted to hide 
critical evidence from the American people.

[[Page S832]]

  While the President's actions have not been surprising, the Senate's 
capitulation has surprised me. And last Friday, as the majority 
repeatedly blocked the effort to consider witnesses and documents, I 
had a sad epiphany. Unchallenged evil spreads like a virus. We have 
allowed a toxic President to infect the Senate and warp its behavior, 
and now the Senate's refusal to allow a fair trial threatens to spread 
a broader anxiety about whether ``impartial justice'' is a hollow 
fiction. An acquittal will lead to worse conduct.
  I will not be part of this continual degradation of public trust; 
thus, I will vote to convict.
  An acquittal will, however, underscore a higher principle. The 
removal of a man will not remove the moral void he exemplifies. 
Instead, every day, people of good will must engage as never before and 
show to ourselves and to the world that Americans still have the 
capacity to choose right over wrong, service over self, fact over 
fiction, and decency over malice.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, tomorrow afternoon, the Senate will vote 
to acquit President Trump in these impeachment proceedings. That is the 
right thing to do. That is the decision that comports with both the 
facts and the law.
  These impeachment proceedings began in the House of Representatives 
in a thoroughly partisan affair, driven by House Democrats, without 
allowing the President to participate in cross-examining witnesses and 
calling defense witnesses.
  When the matter came to the Senate, the Senate was obligated to do 
much better. We had an obligation under the Constitution to conduct a 
fair trial, and that is what the Senate has done. Over the course of 
the last 2 weeks, we have heard hour upon hour upon hour of argument. 
The House proceeding heard testimony from 18 different witnesses. The 
Senate saw 193 video clips of witness testimony presented here on the 
Senate floor. The Senate posed 180 separate questions from Senators to 
the House managers or the White House defense team. Within the record 
were over 28,000 pages of documents, including the single most 
important evidence in this case, which is the actual transcript of the 
conversation at issue between President Trump and the President of 
Ukraine. The Trump administration, to the astonishment of everyone, 
declassified that transcript and released it to the world so that we 
can read precisely what was said in that conversation.
  The reason acquittal is the right decision is that the House managers 
failed to prove their case. They failed to demonstrate that they 
satisfied the constitutional standard of high crimes and misdemeanors. 
The text of the Constitution provides that a President may be impeached 
for ``Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.'' The 
House managers fell woefully short of that standard. Indeed, in the 
Articles of Impeachment they sent over here, they don't allege any 
crime whatsoever. They don't even allege a single Federal law that the 
President violated.
  An awful lot of Americans looking at these proceedings have heard a 
lot of noise, have heard a lot of screaming, but are left wondering, 
What was this all about?
  If you examine the substance, there are two things that the House 
managers allege the President did wrong. One, they allege that the 
President wrongfully delayed aid to Ukraine, and, two, they allege that 
the President wrongfully asked for an investigation into a political 
rival. Both of those are legitimate ends.
  Let me address them one at a time because there is a deep irony in 
the argument of the House managers. Both of those objectives are 
consistent with law, are permissible and legal, and both of those 
objectives have been done, by any measure, substantially worse by the 
preceding administration, by the Obama administration.
  Let's take delaying aid to Ukraine. I am a big believer in America 
standing with Ukraine. Indeed, I traveled to Ukraine. I went to the 
Maidan Square and stood with protesters who had been shot down by their 
government as the protesters stood for freedom.
  I believe military aid to Ukraine is a good thing, and it is true 
that the Trump administration temporarily delayed aid to Ukraine. That 
is their right to do so. Presidents have delayed foreign aid before. 
The Trump administration has done so with regard to a number of 
countries. The Obama administration did so before that. Previous 
administrations have done so.
  But we heard hour upon hour of the House managers trying to establish 
the proposition that aid to Ukraine was delayed when President Trump 
admits aid to Ukraine was delayed. There is no dispute about it.
  We heard testimony about how Ukrainians died because aid was delayed. 
Here is the irony: If you support aid to Ukraine, as I do, military aid 
to Ukraine as they stand up to Russia, there is no dispute whatsoever 
that, for the entirety of his Presidency, President Obama refused to 
give lethal military aid, defensive aid, to Ukraine, despite the fact 
that I and other Members of this body called on President Obama to give 
aid to Ukraine. I remember when we all went to the floor of the House 
of Representatives to hear a speech to a joint session of Congress from 
President Poroshenko, then the President of Ukraine, where the 
President of Ukraine called out the Obama administration because they 
were sending blankets and MREs--meals. And President Poroshenko rightly 
said that you can't fight a Russian tank with a blanket.
  So if the House managers are right that there is something improper 
about delaying military aid, the Obama administration did so for the 
entirety of the administration. What did President Trump do? He did 
something Obama never did: He provided lethal defensive military aid--
Javelin missiles that can take out Russian tanks.
  The first ground they allege, of delaying aid, is legal and 
permissible, and by any measure, the Trump administration's record on 
it is much, much better than the Obama administration's.
  How about the second ground: directing an investigation into your 
political rival. The most important legal question in this proceeding, 
the question that resolves this proceeding, is this: Does the President 
have the constitutional authority to investigate credible allegations 
of corruption?
  The House managers built their case on the proposition that seeking 
an investigation into Burisma, the corrupt Ukrainian natural gas 
company, and Joe Biden and Hunter Biden--seeking any investigation into 
whether there was corruption was, in the words of the House managers, 
``baseless,'' ``a sham,'' and utterly ``without merit.'' In their 
opening arguments, the House managers spent over 2 hours trying to make 
that case, and Madam President, I will say, on the face of it, that 
proposition is objectively absurd.
  The White House legal defense team laid out, in considerable detail, 
that there was very substantial evidence of corruption. Burisma is a 
company that was built on corruption. The oligarch who started Burisma, 
Mr. Zlochevsky, was the sitting energy minister in Ukraine, and he 
amassed his billions by, as the sitting energy minister, giving gas 
licenses to his own company that he was head of. That is where Burisma 
made their money. It was a company built on corruption from day one.
  Now, I think it is worth pausing and examining the timeline of what 
occurred because, remember, the House managers' case is that it is 
baseless and a sham to even investigate corruption.
  In early 2014, Vice President Joe Biden was named the point person 
for the Obama administration on Ukraine. In April--on April 13 of 
2014--Devon Archer, business partner of Hunter Biden, the son of Joe 
Biden, joined the board of Burisma and began being paid a million 
dollars a year. On April 28, Britain's securities fraud bureau freezes 
$23 million in accounts controlled by Zlochevsky, the oligarch who 
owned Burisma. Then, just 2 weeks later, on May 12, Hunter Biden, the 
son of Joe Biden, is named to the board and paid

[[Page S833]]

a million dollars a year, despite having no background in oil and gas 
and no discernible background in Ukraine. Hunter Biden gets paid a 
million dollars a year, and Joe Biden actively, aggressively, 
vigorously leads the Obama administration's policies on Ukraine.
  Now, the House managers were asked in questioning: What exactly did 
Hunter Biden do for his million dollars a year? They refused to answer 
that. That is a perfectly reasonable question to ask if you are 
investigating corruption. Joe Biden is seen on video not just admitting 
but bragging that he told the President of Ukraine he would personally 
block a billion dollars in foreign aid loan guarantees unless Ukraine 
fired the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, the company paying 
his son a million dollars a year. As Joe Biden bragged on that video, 
``Well, son of a bitch,'' they fired him.
  Now, that, on its face, raises significant issues of potential 
corruption. We don't know for sure if there was, in fact, corruption, 
but when President Trump asked that it be investigated to get to the 
bottom of what happened, the President has the authority to investigate 
corruption, and there was more than sufficient basis to do so.
  Of course, the House managers are right that it is somehow 
illegitimate, it is somehow inappropriate--it is, in fact, 
impeachable--to seek the investigation of your political rival.
  We know for a fact that the Obama administration not only sought the 
investigation but aggressively led an investigation marred by abuse of 
power, going after then-Candidate Trump, including wiretaps, including 
fraudulently obtained court documents and court warrants from the FISA 
  Impeachment is an extraordinary remedy. It is not designed for when 
you disagree. It is not designed for when you have political 
differences or policy differences. It is designed for when a President 
crosses the constitutional threshold.
  On February 6, 1974, the Democratic Judiciary Committee Chairman 
Peter Rodino, Democrat from New Jersey who led the impeachment inquiry 
into Richard Nixon, told his colleagues:

       Whatever the result, whatever we learn or conclude, let us 
     now proceed, with such care and decency and thoroughness and 
     honor that the vast majority of the American people, and 
     their children after them, will say: This was the right 
     course. There was no other way.

  That was the standard that led to an overwhelming bipartisan vote to 
open the impeachment proceeding against Richard Nixon. That standard 
was not remotely followed by the House managers. This was a partisan 
impeachment, and we are right now in an election year. The voters are 
voting, and it is up to the voters to decide which policies they want 
to continue. The House managers have abused the constitutional process 
by trying to use impeachment to settle a partisan score. That is 
divisive to the country, and I am proud that this body will vote--and I 
hope in a bipartisan way--to reject these Articles of Impeachment, to 
acquit the President, and to find President Trump not guilty of the 
articles the House has sent over.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Capito). The Senator from Louisiana.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, I will vote against each of the House 
Democrats' Articles of Impeachment, and I would like to explain why.
  The House Democrats' impeachment proceedings and their Articles of 
Impeachment were and are fatally flawed. My friends, the House 
Democrats, say that the President is out of control. What they really 
mean is that the President is out of their control. And that is not 
grounds for impeachment.
  First, the process. The House Democrats' impeachment proceedings were 
rigged. Speaker Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership decided 
before they even began to give President Trump a fair and impartial 
firing squad. Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats' judicial 
philosophy from the very beginning was guilty. That is why much of the 
proceedings were held in secret.
  Democracy, they say, dies in darkness, and I believe it. That is why 
the House Democrats hid the identity of the original accuser, the so-
called whistleblower, thus prohibiting the American people from being 
able to judge the accuser's motives. That is also why the House 
Democrats prevented the President and his counsel from cross-examining 
the House Democrats' witnesses, from offering his own witnesses, from 
offering rebuttal evidence, and even from being able to challenge the 
House Democrats' evidence. The House Democrats wouldn't even allow the 
President or his counsel to attend critical parts of the impeachment 
  The U.S. Senate cannot and should not consider an impeachment based 
on such a deficient record. It is true that in America no one is above 
the law, but no one is beneath it either. Fairness matters in our 
  The House Democrats' impeachment is also flawed because it is a 
partisan impeachment. Its genesis is partisan rage. Not a single, 
solitary House Republican voted for the Articles of Impeachment--not 
  The House Democrats made a conscious decision to turn impeachment 
into a routine Washington, DC, political weapon, to normalize it. Our 
country's Founders were concerned about impeachments based on partisan 
rage and our country's Founders were adamantly opposed. That is why in 
the Constitution they required a two-thirds vote of the Senate to 
  Now, a word about the substance of the House Democrats' Articles of 
Impeachment. The House Democrats accused the President of obstruction 
of justice. Why? Because he chose to assert executive privilege and 
testimonial immunity when the House Democrats sought testimony and 
documents from some of the President's closest aides. Anyone who knows 
a lawbook from a J. Crew catalog does not take this charge seriously. 
Executive privilege and testimonial immunity are well-established, 
constitutionally based Presidential and executive branch privileges 
that every President at one time or another has asserted. The proper 
course by the House Democrats in the face of the assertion of these 
privileges was to seek judicial review--go see a judge to seek judicial 
review from our third branch of government, which then would have 
balanced the policies underlining the privileges against the public 
interest of overriding the privileges. But House Democrats chose not to 
do that. They cannot now complain.
  The House Democrats also accused President Trump of abuse of power. 
If you listen carefully to their allegations, you will see that they 
don't really argue that the President of the United States did not and 
does not have the inherent authority to pause U.S. foreign aid to 
Ukraine until Ukraine agreed to investigate corruption. That is clearly 
within the authority of the President of the United States.
  Instead, the House Democrats, claiming to be able to read the 
President's mind, say that the President did it with a corrupt motive 
because the investigation of corruption was against former Vice 
President Joe Biden, a political rival. But the President didn't get 
Joe Biden's name out of a phonebook. Why did the President ask for an 
investigation involving former Vice President Biden? Four words: Hunter 
Biden and Burisma.
  Now, these are the facts. President Obama put Vice President Biden in 
charge of the foreign affairs of our country for two other countries, 
Ukraine and China. And in both instances, the former Vice President's 
son, Hunter Biden, promptly walked away with millions of dollars in 
contracts from politically connected companies in those two countries, 
including Burisma Holdings. The message that this behavior sent to the 
world was that America's foreign policy can be bought like a sack of 
potatoes. No fairminded person can argue that an investigation of this 
possible corruption was not in the national interest.
  The House Democrats' impeachment proceedings and their Articles of 
Impeachment are an example of swamped-up Washington, DC, both 
procedurally and substantively. On the basis of partisan rage--partisan 
rage coursing through their veins--the House Democrats seek to annul 
the 134 million Americans who voted in the 2016 Presidential election, 
which resulted in the Trump Presidency, and to do so when a new 
Presidential election is just 10 months away. No one in the Milky Way 
who is fairminded can believe this is good for America. A nation as 
great as ours deserves better.

[[Page S834]]

  So to my Democratic friends, here is what I say. The 2016 
Presidential election is over. Let it go. Put aside your partisan rage. 
Stop regretting yesterday, and instead, let's try working together and 
creating tomorrow, because, after all, the future is just a bunch of 
things we do right now strung together.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. PERDUE. Madam President, in Federalist Papers No. 65, which we 
have heard referred to quite a bit in the last 2 weeks, Alexander 
Hamilton warned that the impeachment process should never be used as a 
partisan political weapon. He said that impeachment can ``connect 
itself with the pre-existing factions and will enlist all their 
animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on 
the other . . . in such cases there will always be the greatest danger 
that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of 
the parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.''
  Today, unfortunately, over two centuries later, Hamilton's fears have 
become reality. This current impeachment process has never been about 
the truth, justice, or the rule of law. For my colleagues across the 
aisle, this is only about overturning the 2016 election, impacting the 
2020 election, and gaining the Senate majority.
  From the start, this House process has been totally illegitimate. The 
Articles of Impeachment that the House of Representatives presented to 
us last month were nothing more than the fruit of a poisonous tree.
  In America, we believe in the rule of law. In America, we believe in 
due process. In America, we believe anyone has the right to a fair 
trial. In America, we believe anyone is innocent until proven guilty. 
However, House Democrats violated each of these foundational precepts 
in using the impeachment process as a partisan political weapon.
  Throughout the course of the House impeachment investigation, 
Democrats repeatedly denied President Trump due process and the 
fundamental rights of the accused in America. Simply put, what they did 
was not fair. They denied him the right to have counsel, the right to 
have witnesses, the right to cross-examine their witnesses, the right 
to see the evidence, and, lastly, the right to face his accuser.
  Contrast that with the last two Presidents to face impeachment. The 
grand jury investigation of Clinton and the Watergate investigation of 
Nixon were conducted in a fair manner, with rights for the accused. No 
action was taken by the House of Representatives until the facts were 
clear and indisputable in both of those trials. When these 
investigations were complete and those two Presidents were found to 
have committed a crime, impeachment had bipartisan support, unlike this 
  This investigation is entirely different. It was rushed and was 
totally partisan, with not one single House Republican voting for these 
two pitiful Articles of Impeachment.
  The impeachment trial in the Senate has been going on for the past 11 
days. Unlike in the House, the Senate upheld its constitutional duty to 
conduct a fair trial. The Democratic House managers had the opportunity 
to present their case. Then, for the first time in this sad affair, the 
President and his team--his lawyers--had an opportunity to present 
their case, their defense.
  Neither article I, ``abuse of power,'' nor article II, ``obstruction 
of Congress,'' qualify as constitutional reasons for impeachment.
  It is pretty simple. I am not a lawyer, but if you look at the facts, 
it is very direct. The Constitution clearly lays out four explicit 
reasons for impeaching a President. Even corruption does not qualify 
under these definitions. It is very clear. They itemized treason, 
bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors. And they explained to us in the 
hearings: Another translation in modern terms, using the Old English 
for misdemeanors, is crimes. It is another word for crime.
  The charges against President Trump don't come close to any of these 
specified requirements. It is as simple as that. The House really was 
beginning to make up new constitutional law. Each of the other three 
Presidents who has faced impeachment was charged with committing a 
  President Trump is the first President ever to face impeachment who 
was never accused of any crime in these proceedings, whatsoever. These 
two Articles of Impeachment simply do not qualify as reasons to impeach 
any President. Further, Democratic House managers did not prove their 
case for either of the two Articles of Impeachment.
  The entire case for abuse of power is centered around the June 25, 
2019, phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky of 
Ukraine. The Democrats allege President Trump only asked for help in 
investigating the Burisma situation for political gain. It is clear 
now, after hearing all the testimony, that the primary motivation to 
ask Zelensky to look into the Biden-Burisma corruption issue was to 
root out corruption in the Ukraine. Ukraine has had a long history of 
corruption and this President was well within his rights to ask for 
help in rooting out this fairly obvious example of corruption. 
Democrats completely failed to prove the President's request was for 
political gain only.
  Regarding the obstruction of Congress article, every President has 
the right to exert executive privilege to protect our national 
interests and the separation of power. Honestly, this article should 
have never been received in the Senate in the first place. We should 
have dismissed this article out of hand. It simply is absurd.
  Arguing that President Trump obstructed Congress by claiming his 
rights is unacceptable and would fundamentally weaken this right for 
future Presidents. When President Trump exerted executive privilege--
his right under the Constitution--Democrats could simply have pursued 
the subpoenas. That is the way the Founders laid it out. They could 
have pursued the subpoenas in court. For some reason, the House 
Democrats chose not to do that.
  House Democrats were in such a rush that they sent the Senate an 
incomplete case. That is why I believe the Senate should not have 
accepted them in the first place, because the process was illegitimate, 
inappropriate, and incomplete.
  Bottom line: House Democrats simply did not do their job. In the 
Clinton investigation, the House investigated for over 400 days before 
they brought Articles of Impeachment. There was a conviction. In this 
case, it was barely 100.
  The Democratic House managers brought the Articles of Impeachment and 
claimed they had overwhelming proof. Immediately in their opening 
statement, they had overwhelming proof. However, right away, even with 
that, they immediately demanded the Senate call witnesses that the 
House had already chosen not to call, like John Bolton. They could have 
easily called him but chose not to, claiming it would take too long. 
Instead, they demanded that the Senate call additional witnesses who 
were not included in the House investigation.
  The Constitution requires that the House conduct the investigation, 
including calling witnesses, taking depositions, collecting evidence, 
and the Senate is charged to rule based on the evidence the House 
  This was designed this way for a very specific reason, a very 
practical reason. In the House, committees can investigate these 
charges while the rest of the House continues to do their legislative 
work. Unfortunately, in the Senate, when Articles of Impeachment are 
brought and sent to the Senate, the Senate, by constitutional law, must 
stop what it is doing, must open an impeachment hearing, and while in a 
formal impeachment hearing, the Senate cannot do anything else by law. 
It goes into legislative shutdown by law.
  In this case, if we were to call additional witnesses, then we would 
be setting a dangerous precedent for every future case. The House could 
theoretically make up any flimsy charge they wanted, with no 
investigation, no witnesses, no testimony, no evidence whatsoever, and 
then send the articles to the Senate and expect the Senate to do their 
job. That is not what the Founders wrote. That is not what they had in 
mind. It would open up a pandora's box, shut the Senate down 
indefinitely, and you can see why the Founders did not want to go down 
that road. That is now how they built this

[[Page S835]]

process. For the sake of our very system of government, we cannot yield 
to this unconstitutional effort.
  The House actually did call 17 witnesses. They sent over 193 videos 
and 28,000 pages of documents. Ultimately, a majority in this body 
concluded it was unnecessary to hear from any of those witnesses again. 
On top of that, the impeachment rules do not require the Senate to call 
witnesses. That is the House's job. It is just that simple.
  Let's be very clear. This entire impeachment process has been a 
purely partisan political stunt perpetrated by House Democrats. It 
truly is an embarrassment and exactly what Alexander Hamilton warned us 
all against.
  It is no secret--Democrats have been trying to obstruct this 
President from day one. On the day President Trump was inaugurated, the 
headline of the Washington Post--right here in town--claimed ``The 
Campaign to Impeach this President has Begun.''
  House Democratic manager Adam Schiff, in his opening remarks, said 
you can't trust elections. That is why we have impeachments. Really? 
Really? That is absurd.
  The President has done nothing to warrant this impeachment process. 
He must be acquitted. If we let House Democrats get away with this 
today, we are setting a dangerous precedent for the future.
  Already, we are in an era of impeachment. In the first 180 years, we 
only had one impeachment case that came to the Senate and was 
investigated in the House. In the last 45 years, we have had three 
investigated by the House, and two have actually made it to the Senate. 
If we let Democrats improperly use the impeachment process as a 
partisan political weapon, then it will only get worse in the future.
  I call on my colleagues today--I plead with my colleagues today--to 
reject this unconstitutional effort and vote to acquit Donald J. Trump 
of these illegitimate and unconstitutional Articles of Impeachment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. DAINES. Madam President, I rise today in the very Chamber where 
just three Presidential impeachment trials have been held over the 
course of our Nation's history--President Johnson in 1868, President 
Clinton in 1999, and now President Trump.
  In fact, I sat at this desk the past 2 weeks listening to over 65 
hours of trial proceedings, and during that time, we heard from 13 
witnesses, and we viewed 193 video clips and 28,000-plus pages of 
documentation. Senators, over a 16-hour period, asked over 180 
questions. In the Senate, we took our solemn duty seriously.
  If there is one thing to be remembered from this trial for 
generations to come, it is this: Sadly, over the course of our 
country's 244-year history, never has our Nation faced such a partisan 
abuse of power. Never has the Senate been faced with Articles of 
Impeachment that allege no crimes in an attempt to remove a duly 
elected President of the United States from office. Never before have 
we seen such a partisan Presidential impeachment process.
  In 1974, when President Nixon faced impeachment--Nixon, a 
Republican--177 House Republicans joined Democrats in support of the 
impeachment inquiry. During President Clinton's impeachment--a 
Democrat--31 Democrats joined House Republicans. But with President 
Trump, there were zero. Not one Republican supported it. In fact, there 
were some Democrats who opposed it. So, to be clear, there was actually 
bipartisan opposition.
  This impeachment is an unprecedented, purely partisan threat to the 
Constitution. Our Founding Fathers, the Framers of our great 
Constitution, understood what the power of impeachment meant when they 
gave it to Congress after great deliberation.
  Alexander Hamilton and James Madison feared--they feared--
congressional abuse of power and legislative tyranny as they debated 
whether to include the power of impeachment in the Constitution because 
the Founders knew the removal of a President from office amounted to a 
political death sentence.
  In Federalist 65, Hamilton warns that the House could be 
``intemperate,'' was the word he used, and abuse their majority. He 
proclaimed that the Senate would be--and I use his words--``unawed and 
uninfluenced,'' the ``independent'' institution to determine whether a 
House impeachment was warranted.
  The Founders had the wisdom to establish a two-thirds Senate vote 
threshold to help ensure that removal could not be achieved by mere 
partisan politics. The Founders established that the thermonuclear 
option of impeachment must be bipartisan to safeguard not just the 
President from unwarranted removal but, importantly, to protect the 
will of the American people who elected the President in the first 
  Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and House Democrats have 
done exactly what the Founding Fathers feared. They have ignored what 
House manager and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry 
Nadler, himself correctly observed during the 1998 Clinton impeachment 
when he stated:

       There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an 
     impeachment substantially supported by one of our major 
     political parties and largely opposed by the other. Such an 
     impeachment would lack legitimacy.

  That was Jerry Nadler in 1998.
  Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi's House of Representatives discarded 
Nadler's very wise words, and they stubbornly defied historical 
precedent by rushing these Articles of Impeachment, driven by a 
Christmas deadline, on a purely partisan vote and sending it to the 
  The Democrats' decision was a mistake, and it has only further 
divided our Nation at a time when we need to be working together. It 
was wrong, and it has damaged our country. We now need to fear for 
future Presidents, Democrats or Republicans, who will hold the oath of 
office in this newly hyperpartisan era.
  Importantly, for the first time in our Nation's history, the Articles 
of Presidential Impeachment passed by Nancy Pelosi's House accuse 
President Trump of no crimes, let alone demonstrate the President's 
actions warranted removal from office.
  This partisan and weak case from the House managers proves what this 
impeachment has always been about--it is about purely partisan 
politics. This impeachment has been nothing more than an attempt to 
overturn the 2016 Presidential election and to severely impact the 2020 
  By the way, if we were to convict the President of either one of 
these articles, one or both, he literally would be removed not only 
from office but from the 2020 ballot.
  Speaking of the 2020 ballot, the 2020 election is already underway. 
Just yesterday, Americans cast their votes in Iowa for President of the 
United States. In fact, last Friday, Montanans submitted signatures and 
filed the paperwork to place President Trump on the Montana ballot for 
the 2020 election.
  Sadly, it is no surprise that we are in this situation today. You 
see, the Democrats have been obsessed with impeaching President Trump 
since before he was even sworn into office. They could not accept the 
fact that Donald Trump won the 2016 election.
  On December 15, 2016, just 5 weeks following the 2016 Presidential 
election, there was a headline from Vanity Fair, and I quote it: 
``Democrats are Paving the Way to Impeach Donald Trump.''
  On January 20--now, when I think of January 20, 2017, I think about 
the day the President was inaugurated, which it was--the Washington 
Post headline read ``The campaign to impeach President Trump has 
begun.'' This article was posted 19 minutes--just 19 minutes--after 
President Trump was sworn into office.
  It gets worse. Ten days later, on January 30, 2017, the attorney for 
the whistleblower who was talked about during the trial--the 
whistleblower's attorney, 10 days after President Trump was inaugurated 
back in 2017, said this in a tweet: ``Coup has started. First of many 
steps. Rebellion. Impeachment will follow immediately.'' That was the 
attorney for the whistleblower who really started this entire 
impeachment process.
  We have even seen some House Democrats publicly state that the only 
way to beat President Trump in the next election is to impeach him.
  Our Founding Fathers would be grieved by the careless use of this 
most powerful tool against the Presidency. Impeachment is not a tool to 

[[Page S836]]

the results of a past election. It is not a tool to change the outcome 
of an upcoming election.
  You see, in America, the power of our government doesn't come from 
100 Senators in this body or a handful of lawmakers; our power is 
derived from the people whom we serve. This grand American experiment 
of our democratic Republic is built upon the idea of a government of, 
by, and for the people.
  Montanans elected me to represent them in the U.S. Senate, to be 
their voice on this floor and in Washington, DC. Montanans 
overwhelmingly oppose this impeachment. Montanans stand with President 
Trump. In fact, President Trump won Montana by over 20 points in the 
2016 election. Supporting this impeachment means ignoring the voices of 
Montanans who voted for President Trump in the last election, and it 
means silencing Montanans who plan to vote for President Trump in the 
2020 election.
  Keep in mind--never before has the U.S. Senate ever removed a 
President from office, and it is not going to happen now.
  I am voting to acquit President Donald J. Trump.
  For the good of our country, let it be seared in our minds 
forevermore: Impeachment must never ever again be used as a partisan 
  I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fully 
understand the magnitude of what this would mean for our country. This 
is the first purely partisan impeachment in our Nation's history, and 
it must be our last. It should be up to the American people to decide 
who their next President is, not the U.S. Senate.
  The answer is an election, not impeachment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. ROUNDS. Madam President, today, I rise to discuss the decision on 
whether to remove the President from office based on the Articles of 
Impeachment sent to us by the House of Representatives.
  Our Founding Fathers included impeachment--effectively overturning 
the will of the American electorate--to be used only as a last resort. 
They trusted the Senate, requiring more solemn judgment than their 
counterparts in the House, to decide whether an allegation by the House 
has the substantiality to require removal from office.
  According to ``Commentaries on the Constitution'' by Joseph Story, 
the Framers saw the Senate as a tribunal ``removed from popular power 
and passions . . . and from the more dangerous influence of mere party 
spirit,'' guided by ``a deep responsibility to future times.''
  This impeachment process, driven by partisan desire, was rushed and 
lacked any proper form and substance. This is an attempt by the House 
to undo the results of the 2016 election and impact the 2020 election.
  Article II, section 4 of the Constitution states: ``The President, 
Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be 
removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, 
Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.''
  During the debates at the Federal Convention of 1787, James Madison, 
Alexander Hamilton, and others relied heavily on Sir William 
Blackstone's work, ``Commentaries on the Law of England,'' which 
Madison described as ``a book which is in every man's hand.''
  Within his work, Blackstone discussed ``high misdemeanors,'' which 
included many crimes against the King and government, including 
maladministration. According to Blackstone, maladministration applied 
to high officers in public trust and employment and was punished by the 
method of parliamentary impeachment. It is from this understanding that 
the Framers selected ``high Crimes and Misdemeanors'' for the 
impeachment clause in our Constitution.
  The term ``high Crimes and Misdemeanors'' had a limited and technical 
meaning that was well known to the Framers. It was a term of art. As 
early as 14th century England, high crimes and misdemeanors were a 
category of political crimes against the State and were tried in 
parliamentary impeachments. It should be understood that the word 
``high'' in high crimes and misdemeanors is a modifying adjective and 
also applies to the word ``misdemeanors.''
  ``High misdemeanors'' was applied in impeachment proceedings 
conducted by Parliament long before there was such a crime as a 
misdemeanor as we know it today. Misdemeanors alone referred to 
criminal sanctions for private wrongs. High crimes and misdemeanors 
were charged against officers of the ``highest rank and favor with the 
crown'' or who were in ``judicial or executive offices'' and, because 
of their stations, were unindictable by ordinary rules of justice.
  For those individuals who were not indictable by the ordinary rules 
of justice, the Founding Fathers, in their subtle brilliance, sought to 
have something akin to crimes and misdemeanors that allowed them to 
impeach for great and dangerous crimes committed against the State.
  As we know, the Founding Fathers specifically adopted the phrase 
``high crimes and misdemeanors.'' The emphasis on high misdemeanors is 
important in this context because the House of Representatives has not 
alleged treason, and they have not alleged bribery. Their case rests on 
whether the articles charged are the types of high crimes and high 
misdemeanors intended by our Framers.
  In defining high misdemeanors, Blackstone stated that ``the first and 
principal is the mal-administration of such high officers.'' However, 
the Founding Fathers specifically chose not to include 
maladministration as a basis for impeachment.
  When George Mason and James Madison debated the specific language of 
the impeachment clause, Mason stated:

       Why is the provision restrained to treason and bribery 
     only? Treason as defined in the Constitution will not reach 
     many great and dangerous offences. Hastings is not guilty of 
     Treason. Attempts to subvert the Constitution may not be 
     Treason as above defined.

  Mason then moved to add after bribery, ``or maladministration,'' to 
which Madison replied and I quote: ``So vague a term will be equivalent 
to a tenure during pleasure of the Senate.''
  The Framers knew what they were adopting when they chose ``high 
crimes and misdemeanors.'' They explicitly rejected maladministration 
and other vague terms in favor of more specific allegations, which had 
a limited and technical meaning.
  In the first Article of Impeachment before the Senate, the question 
is whether abuse of power as a charge on its own is an impeachable 
  The answer is no. Abuse of power does not have a limited meaning and 
is as vague as maladministration. The Framers actually discussed abuse 
of power and rejected it.
  At the Virginia ratifying convention, James Iredell, one of the first 
Supreme Court Justices, stated:

       No power of any kind or degree can be given but what may be 
     abused; we have, therefore, only to consider whether any 
     particular power is absolutely necessary. If it be, the power 
     must be given, and we must run the risk of abuse.

  In the first Article of Impeachment, the House has claimed that the 
abuse of power is within the scope of high crimes and misdemeanors. I 
believe the Founding Fathers saw abuse of power as an inherent risk 
within the delegation of that authority. The Framers did not intend 
impeachment proceedings to be brought every time an abuse of power is 
  In the second Article of Impeachment, the House alleges the President 
obstructed Congress when he refused to comply with congressional 
subpoenas. The President rejected the legitimacy of those subpoenas. 
The House then failed to pursue redress through the courts, rejecting 
the court's rightful role in settling disputes between the two branches 
of government.
  The separation of powers doctrine recognized executive privilege as a 
lawful exercise for the President to protect both Presidential and 
deliberative process communications. The House showed a deliberate 
disregard for the proper role of the judicial branch and now expects 
the Senate to gather evidence after they have already impeached.
  Alleging an obstruction of Congress charge before the House exhausted 
its remedy for judicial relief would change the balance of power 
between our co-equal branches of government and ignore the rightful 
place the courts hold in arbitrating differences between the executive 
and legislative branches.
  No branch of government is above the Constitution. We are obligated

[[Page S837]]

under oath of office to support and defend it.
  Article I, sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution state ``the House 
shall have the sole Power of Impeachment,'' and ``[t]he Senate shall 
have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.'' The Framers 
intentionally separated these authorities.
  The Senate does not have the authority to impeach; however, the 
Senate does have the authority to judge the sufficiency of articles 
presented to it. The Senate, as a trier of facts, should not overstep 
its role. It is the House's responsibility to bring the evidence to 
make their case, not simply make an allegation.
  This does not mean that the Senate cannot call witnesses, but it most 
certainly should not be the Senate's obligation to do so because the 
House failed to do so in the first place.
  Upon the founding of the Senate, James Madison explained that the 
Senate would be a ``necessary fence'' against the ``fickleness and 
passion'' that tended to influence the attitudes of the general public 
and Members of the House of Representatives.
  George Washington is said to have told Thomas Jefferson that the 
Framers had created the Senate to ``cool'' House legislation, just as a 
saucer was used to cool hot tea. For impeachment, there can be no 
  When the House is ignited by partisan passions, eager to reach a 
desired result, the Senate must be cool and firm in its heightened 
review. In recognizing the haste and half-hearted attempt by our 
colleagues in the House, the Senate must also recognize these Articles 
of Impeachment to be wholly insufficient and not warranting a removal 
from office.
  Let this decision lie in its rightful place, with the electorate. The 
Senate has conducted a fair, impartial trial. We did our due diligence 
and fulfilled our constitutional duty. Now it is time to bring this 
process to a close and get on with the business of the American people 
who sent us here.
  I will vote against the Articles of Impeachment, in keeping with the 
constitutional intent our Framers expected.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that citations to my remarks 
be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:


       1. According to Commentaries on the Constitution by Joseph 
     Story, the Framers saw the Senate as a tribunal ``removed 
     from popular power and passions . . . and from the more 
     dangerous influence of mere party spirit,'' guided by ``a 
     deep responsibility to future times.'' 2 Joseph Story, 
     Commentaries on the Constitution Sec. 743 (1833).
       2. During the debates of the Federal Convention of 1787, 
     James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and others relied heavily 
     on Sir William Blackstone's work, Commentaries on the Laws of 
     England, which Madison described as ``a book which is in 
     every man's hand.'' 3 The Debates in the Several State 
     Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, at 
     501 (Jonathan Elliot 2nd ed. 1987).
       3. According to Blackstone, maladministration applied to 
     high officers in public trust and employment and was punished 
     by the method of parliamentary impeachment. 4 William 
     Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, *122.
       4. The term ``high crimes and misdemeanors'' had a limited 
     and technical meaning that was well-known to the framers. 
     Raoul Berger, Impeachment: The Constitutional Problems 74 
       5. ``High misdemeanors'' was applied in impeachment 
     proceedings conducted by parliament long before there was 
     such a crime as a `misdemeanor' as we know it today. 4 
     Blackstone at *121.
       6. ``High misdemeanors'' was applied in impeachment 
     proceedings conducted by parliament long before there was 
     such a crime as a `misdemeanor' as we know it today. 
     Misdemeanors alone referred to criminal sanctions for private 
     wrongs. Berger at 61.
       7. High crimes and misdemeanors were charged against 
     officers of the ``highest rank and favor with the crown'' or 
     who were in ``judicial or executive offices'' and because of 
     their stations, were un-indictable by ordinary rules of 
     justice. Berger at 60; See also id. ``The House of Lords was 
     reminded of this history by Serjeant Pengelly during the 
     impeachment of Lord Chancellor Macclesfield in 1725: your 
     lordships are now exercising a power of judicature reserved 
     in the original frame of the English constitution for the 
     punishment of offenses of a public nature, which may affect 
     the nation; as well in instances where the inferior courts 
     have no power to punish the crimes committed by ordinary 
     rules of justice; as in cases within the jurisdiction of the 
     courts of Westminster Hall, where the person offending is by 
     his degree, raised above the apprehension of danger, from a 
     prosecution carried on in the usual course of justice; and 
     whose exalted station requires the united accusation of all 
     the Commons.''
       8. In defining high misdemeanors, Blackstone stated ``. . . 
     the first and principal is the mal-administration of such 
     high officers . . .'' 4 Blackstone at *122.
       9. When George Mason and James Madison debated the specific 
     language of the impeachment clause, Mason stated: ``Why is 
     the provision restrained to treason and bribery only? Treason 
     as defined in the Constitution will not reach many great and 
     dangerous offences. Hastings is not guilty of Treason. 
     Attempts to subvert the Constitution may not be Treason as 
     above defined.'' 2 The Records of the Federal Convention at 
     499. See also id: The impeachment of Warren Hastings was a 
     failed attempt between 1788 and 1795 to impeach the first 
     Governor-General of Bengal in the Parliament of Great 
     Britain. Hastings was accused of misconduct during his time 
     in Calcutta particularly relating to mismanagement and 
       10. Mason then moved to add after bribery, ``or 
     maladministration,'' to which Madison replied, ``So vague a 
     term will be equivalent to a tenure during pleasure of the 
     Senate.'' 2 The Records of the Federal Convention at 499.
       11. At the Virginia ratifying convention, James Iredall, 
     one of the first Justices of the Supreme Court, stated: ``No 
     power of any kind or degree can be given but what may be 
     abused; we have, therefore, only to consider whether any 
     particular power is absolutely necessary. If it be, the power 
     must be given, and we must run the risk of abuse.'' 4 The 
     Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of 
     the Federal Constitution, at 95 (Jonathan Elliot 2nd ed. 
       12. Upon the founding of the Senate, James Madison 
     explained that the Senate would be a ``necessary fence'' 
     against the ``fickleness and passion'' that tended to 
     influence the attitudes of the general public and members of 
     the House of Representatives. George Washington is said to 
     have told Thomas Jefferson that the framers had created the 
     Senate to `cool' House legislation, just as a saucer was used 
     to cool hot tea. U.S. Senate, ``Senate Created,'' at http://
Senate_Created.htm (January 3, 2020).

  Mr. ROUNDS. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Madam President, I come to the floor this afternoon to 
express my profound disappointment. This is a sad moment in our 
Nation's history. I, like all of us in the Senate, came to this body to 
try and make a difference for our constituents, to address the kitchen 
table issues that affect their everyday lives--lowering prescription 
drug costs, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, making college 
more affordable, protecting our environment, helping our veterans, 
supporting our small businesses--so many of the things that I and 
others here have worked on.
  Critics have argued that the impeachment process is nothing more than 
a political attack orchestrated by those who have wanted to remove this 
President since his election. I flatly reject that argument.
  I have repeatedly expressed my reluctance to the use of impeachment. 
Unfortunately, it is this President's disturbing actions that have put 
us in this position.
  President Trump went to great lengths to try and force the Ukrainian 
President to help smear Joe Biden, his political rival. This scheme 
included withholding military aid and withholding a meeting at the 
White House with the Ukrainian President.
  Each of us here took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. 
The Constitution requires us to do this job. It tells us that the 
Senate shall have ``the sole Power to try all Impeachments.'' After the 
power to declare war, the power to impeach is among the most serious 
and consequential powers granted to Congress by our founding document.
  When we all stood here at the beginning of this trial, we took an 
oath to do ``impartial justice.'' That should mean a commitment to seek 
all of the facts. A fair trial means documents and witnesses, facts 
that will help us better understand the truth.
  Previous Senates understood this. In fact, every Senate impeachment 
trial in history included witnesses. Most recently, in the Judge 
Porteous impeachment trial in 2010, when I was one of the Senators who 
served on that impeachment committee, we heard from 26 witnesses, 17 of 
whom had not testified before in the House. We believed then that 
Senate witnesses were important for impeachment of a Federal district 
court judge. So why wouldn't we

[[Page S838]]

want witnesses in something as important as an impeachment of a sitting 
  We know that documents exist that could help shed more light on this 
case. We also know of other witnesses with additional firsthand 
information whom we have yet to hear from. We have one witness, in 
particular--former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has told 
the world he has relevant information and he is willing to testify.
  Yet, despite all of that, the Senate, on a partisan vote, refused to 
listen to Ambassador Bolton or any other witnesses. Members of this 
institution have willfully turned their back on important, relevant, 
firsthand information.
  On the Articles of Impeachment before us, I have listened to the 
extensive arguments from both the House managers and the defense 
counsel for the President. I believe the evidence clearly shows that 
the President abused his power--which has been acknowledged by several 
Republican Senators--and he obstructed Congress, which is why I will be 
supporting both Articles of Impeachment.
  On the first Article of Impeachment, it is my strong view that the 
House managers have proved that President Trump withheld military aid 
and a White House meeting from the Government of Ukraine to further his 
own political interests in the upcoming Presidential election and to 
damage the candidacy of his opponent. The evidence presented to the 
Senate was overwhelming.
  Further supporting the House managers' case, the independent 
Government Accountability Office, the GAO, concluded that the 
withholding of military aid to Ukraine was improper and illegal under 
the law. The nature of the President's offenses outlined in the 
articles strike at the very heart of our democratic system.
  Our Founding Fathers were very concerned about both foreign 
interference in our democracy and the executive abusing the powers of 
the office for electoral gain. James Madison warned of a President who 
``might betray his trust to foreign powers.''
  George Washington, in his Farewell Address, warned us all ``to be 
constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign 
influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.''
  As a Senator who sits on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations 
Committees, I am keenly aware of the serious national security 
interests that are at stake here. This body, the Senate, has been 
deeply supportive of an independent Ukraine and a strong U.S.-Ukraine 
relationship. I join with Senators from both sides of the aisle in 
support of providing lethal assistance to help Ukraine better defend 
itself from Russian aggression. We continue to do so because it is in 
our direct national security interest to support our partner in the 
midst of an active war with Russia, our adversary.
  We know that Russia has serious designs on Eastern Europe. They are 
looking at ways to influence European countries--former Soviet 
republics where they think they can make inroads--and Ukraine is 
standing at the wall between Eastern Europe and Russia.
  I also joined the bipartisan leadership of the Ukraine Caucus in 
writing a letter expressing deep concerns over reports that aid to 
Ukraine was being held up. This September 2019 letter clearly stated 
that the administration's hold on assistance would do lasting damage to 
the Ukrainian military and would undo the progress made by Ukraine to 
defend itself. That was a bipartisan letter.
  Putting our national security at risk in order to secure personal 
political favors is an unacceptable abuse of power, and that is why we 
are here today. In response to the overwhelming evidence presented by 
the House managers, the President's counsels failed to refute these 
serious allegations. Their arguments that President Trump was focused 
only on the national interest are not supported by the facts. The 
President has never demonstrated an interest in rooting out corruption 
in Ukraine and has a troubling pattern of personally seeking political 
dirt from foreign governments. I worry that this behavior will 
  The 2020 election is 9 months away, and the President continues to 
suggest that he would consider receiving political help from foreign 
governments. Just recently, the President suggested that China should 
also investigate the Bidens.
  Now, with respect to the second article dealing with obstruction of 
justice, the House managers have also presented overwhelming evidence 
that President Trump obstructed the investigation into his conduct 
toward Ukraine. The President has repeatedly denied the House of 
Representatives' constitutional authority to conduct an impeachment 
inquiry. The President ordered Federal agencies and officials to ignore 
all requests for documents and all subpoenas. Those agencies obeyed the 
President's order, and not a single document was turned over to the 
House. In total, nine witnesses called by the House followed President 
Trump's order and refused to testify under subpoena in the impeachment 
proceedings. This is an unprecedented attempt to thwart Congress's 
constitutional authority to exercise the impeachment power. Even 
President Nixon instructed his White House staff to voluntarily appear 
before Congress and to testify under oath.
  Despite the administration's stonewalling, many courageous officials 
did come forward to testify at great personal and professional expense. 
I want to thank those who testified. Their bravery and commitment to 
the truth should be commended. But if the President is allowed to 
completely stonewall congressional impeachment investigations into 
executive branch abuses, then the congressional power of impeachment is 
  As a Senator, I never imagined I would have to participate in an 
impeachment trial of a sitting President. These proceedings cause 
strain and division not just here in Congress but across the country. I 
would much prefer that Congress be engaged in the critical bipartisan 
work that is needed on important issues, things that can improve lives 
across this country and move our Nation forward. I hope that this body 
will move on from this disappointing day and will get back to the 
business of the country.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Blackburn). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, the decision to remove a President 
at any point in their term--particularly 9 months before an election--
is not something we should take lightly. Impeachment should not be a 
tool that Congress uses to settle policy or personal disagreement. 
Instead, it should only be used if a President engages in misconduct so 
egregious that their conviction and removal is necessary and in the 
Nation's best interest.
  Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 65 that the Founders chose the 
Senate as ``the most fit depositary of this important trust'' to make 
such a weighty decision. They actually had faith that this body could 
rise above pure partisanship to conduct a fair trial and reach a just 
  In this case, however, we could not reach bipartisan agreement--not 
even on how to conduct the trial. It is a fact that, for the first time 
in this Nation's history, the Senate will render a verdict in an 
impeachment hearing without hearing from a single witness and without 
reviewing key documents that have been withheld by the executive 
  As recently as last Friday, OMB admitted it continues to withhold key 
documents. Let me provide an example. In a court filing, an OMB lawyer 
wrote that 24 White House emails were being withheld because they 
``reflect communications'' by the President, Vice President, or top 
advisers on the ``scope, duration, and purpose of the hold on military 
assistance to Ukraine.''
  Proceeding without such vital evidence is a real mistake. I came to 
this trial with an open mind, to listen to the case presented by both 
sides and then to make a determination based on the facts. After 
hearing the House managers' case, it is clear that President Trump 
withheld U.S. aid in an effort to obtain Ukraine's assistance to

[[Page S839]]

win reelection by asking that Ukraine launch and make public an 
investigation into Joe Biden, Mr. Trump's political opponent.
  The President's legal team tried to argue that this didn't happen, 
but without seeing key documents and hearing from key fact witnesses 
such as John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, top advisers with firsthand 
knowledge of the President's conduct and motives, their arguments were 
not persuasive.
  So, after weighing the evidence available to us and considering the 
President's pattern of similar misconduct, I will vote yes on the 
Articles of Impeachment.
  The House presented a compelling factual case. Congress appropriated 
nearly $400 million in foreign aid to Ukraine, an ally engaged in a war 
with a major power, Russia. It was signed into law by President Trump, 
who knew what he was signing and what it entailed. President Trump also 
knew that Ukraine desperately needed the aid and America's partnership 
in its efforts against the huge power, Russia.
  He used that vulnerability to his advantage. He privately demanded 
that, in exchange for U.S. aid and a White House meeting for Ukraine's 
newly elected President, Ukraine's leaders had to publicly announce an 
investigation that would damage his political rival, Vice President Joe 
Biden. The President relayed those same demands to senior Ukrainian 
officials through both private and official government channels. This 
was a clear quid pro quo, and it is at the heart of the argument in the 
first Article of Impeachment: abuse of power.
  President Trump took this action to benefit himself personally and 
not for the good of the Nation. He violated the law by withholding 
appropriated funds in order to benefit himself and not our country. 
President Trump did not withhold these funds because of concern about 
corruption generally. Instead, he demanded just two specific 
investigations--Burisma and Biden--both intended to help him win 
reelection in 2020.
  After hearing the House managers' presentation, I think we have got 
to really ask ourselves, How can this President deal with any foreign 
nation after compromising himself in such a fashion? How can he be 
trusted to ensure that American elections are free from foreign 
interference? Other countries are watching. After the President 
compromised himself this way with Ukraine, what is to keep them, or any 
other country, from seeking benefits from the President in exchange for 
political or personal assistance? So, if the Senate refuses to correct 
this precedent now, the door to foreign political influence in our 
elections will be opened.
  The House managers also presented a strong case on the second Article 
of Impeachment: obstruction of Congress. Here, the facts themselves are 
not in dispute. President Trump ordered his administration to withhold 
all documents and ordered executive branch witnesses not to testify 
before the House began its inquiry. The President's legal team 
countered that he has a right to defy congressional subpoenas as a 
matter of executive privilege, but there is no precedent for their 
sweeping claim of absolute immunity from congressional oversight, 
particularly in the context of impeachment proceedings.
  President Trump has taken the position that there are no checks on 
his Presidential authority, effectively placing himself above the law, 
and I don't believe the Senate can let this stand. Unfortunately, the 
President's actions are not isolated incidents. Both Articles of 
Impeachment point to this. The articles note: ``These actions were 
consistent with President Trump's previous invitations of foreign 
interference in U.S. elections'' and with ``previous efforts to 
undermine United States Government investigations into foreign 
interference in United States elections.''
  During the 2016 campaign, President Trump welcomed Russia's 
assistance to defeat his opponent, Hillary Clinton. The Mueller report 
detailed exactly how the Trump campaign sought to work with Russia to 
improve his electoral chances, including providing internal campaign 
polling data to a Russian operative, inviting Russia to hack Hillary 
Clinton after Russia had already successfully hacked the Democratic 
National Committee, and obtaining information about upcoming releases 
of emails stolen by Russian agents and weaponizing these stolen 
documents to harm Hillary Clinton.
  When this conduct came under question, President Trump obstructed the 
investigation. Special Counsel Mueller catalogued not 1 or 2 but 10 
clear instances where President Trump sought to interfere in this 
investigation. This isn't my view. This isn't anyone else's view; it is 
a catalogue of a group of legal professionals indicating 10 clear 
instances where Trump sought to interfere in the investigation.
  This egregious pattern of soliciting foreign interference and 
blocking any effort to investigate continues to this day. As recently 
as October, while the House impeachment inquiry was going on, 
President Trump stood on the White House lawn and asked China to 
investigate the Biden family.

  This trial must do impartial justice as is required by the oath we 
all took. After listening to the arguments of both sides, it is clear 
the House managers have proven their case. The President's conduct with 
respect to Ukraine has mirrored other parts of his Presidency, and it 
is all about what is best for President Trump. If we vote to acquit and 
allow President Trump's behavior, we will set a dangerous precedent, 
one that has the strong possibility of inflicting lasting damage on our 
  We will be saying that any President, Republican or Democratic, can 
leverage their office for personal political gain. We will be inviting 
more foreign interference into our elections and saying it is 
acceptable to use the Presidency to solicit that assistance. His 
defense counsel admitted as much.
  And we will be accepting the President's extreme view that article II 
of the Constitution gives him the right to do whatever he wants.
  I am convinced this is a rare instance where this Senate has no 
choice but to vote to convict and remove this President. I reach this 
conclusion reluctantly and with deep concern but with the belief that 
this action is necessary and cannot and should not be ignored.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia is recognized.
  Mr. WARNER. Madam President, before I get started on my comments, I 
want to commend my colleague from California, who has served in this 
body with great distinction for a long time, who was present during the 
preceding impeachment proceedings under President Clinton, and who, 
time and again--and I have had the honor of following in her shoes on 
the Intelligence Committee--has always been a voice who stood up for 
what is right, for what is correct, oftentimes what may not be 
politically expedient but what she thinks is right and appropriate.
  It is with great honor that I follow her as I make my statement as 
well on this most serious of matters, the impeachment of Donald J. 
Trump. So I thank my friend, the senior Senator from California, for 
her comments.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I thank Mr. Warner.
  Mr. WARNER. I will echo many of her thoughts.
  Madam President, I want to begin my remarks the way we began this 
trial: with the oath we each took to do impartial justice. Now, any 
other day, we walk into this Chamber as Republicans and Democrats, but 
in this trial we have a much greater responsibility.
  The allegations against this President are grave. The House managers 
presented a compelling case, based on the testimony of more than a 
dozen witnesses. And the remarkable thing about the dozen witnesses 
that we saw clips of: all of these witnesses were either appointees--
political appointees--of President Trump or career public servants. The 
fact that these dozen-plus witnesses had the courage to speak truth to 
power when they knew that their careers, their reputations would be 
sullied in many ways speaks volumes.
  Their testimony and the House managers' case presents a clear fact 
pattern, a fact pattern that even many of my Republican colleagues 
acknowledge is true.
  This evidence reflects a corrupt scheme to solicit foreign 
interference in support of this President's reelection. The President 
both unlawfully withheld aid to an ally at war with Russia and he 
withheld a White House

[[Page S840]]

meeting that would have strengthened our relationship with a 
democratically elected leader of Ukraine, a leader who was trying to 
prevent further Russian occupation of his country.
  The President used these powerful tools of American foreign policy as 
leverage--not leverage to further advance America's national interests 
but leverage to secure investigations into a political opponent. He 
also used these as an opportunity to try to expound on the so-called 
CrowdStrike conspiracy theory, a notion that has been repeatedly 
debunked by Mr. Trump's own law enforcement and intelligence agencies; 
a theory that somehow it was Ukraine, not Russia, that attacked our 
democracy in 2016. It is a theory, by the way, that currently has been 
and continues to be promoted by the Russian spy services.
  Since this information came to light, the President has attempted to 
confound the House of Representatives' constitutional role in the 
impeachment process. The White House issued a blanket refusal to 
provide any witnesses or documents without any historical precedent or 
sound legal argument to support this position. For this reason, 
President Trump is also charged with obstruction of Congress.
  Frankly, I understand some of the points the President's defense team 
has raised concerning this second Article of Impeachment. There are 
legitimate questions to consider about executive privilege and 
separation of powers, but we cannot accept the absolute immunity 
argument this White House has invented. This absolute stance and the 
evidence we have seen about the President's corrupt actions and 
intentions do not reflect a principled, good-faith defense of executive 
privilege. Rather, it suggests an effort to deny Congress the 
constitutional authority to investigate Presidential wrongdoing and, 
ultimately, to prevent exposure of the President's conduct.
  In reviewing this evidence, I have tried to stick to my oath of 
impartiality. I have tried to keep an open mind about what witnesses 
like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney--people who were in the room with 
the President--could tell us. If anyone can provide new information 
that further explains the President's actions, it is they. But I don't 
see how the White House's desperate efforts to block witnesses is 
anything but an admission that what they would say under oath would not 
be good for this President. And I am deeply disappointed that the 
Senate could not achieve the majority necessary for a full, fair trial. 
Consequently, the defense of the President that we are left with is 
thin, legalistic, and, frankly, cynical.
  Instead of disputing the core facts, which are damning on their own 
terms, the President's lawyers have resorted to remarkable legal 
gymnastics. The notion that even if the President did what he is 
accused of, abuse of power is not impeachable; that foreign 
interference is not a crime; that even calling witnesses to seek the 
truth about the President's actions and motivations might somehow 
endanger the Republic. And then when Professor Dershowitz made his 
bizarre argument that abusing Presidential power to aid your reelection 
cannot be impeachable if you believe your own election to be in the 
national interest, I paid close attention. Frankly, I paid closer 
attention to what Professor Dershowitz said in this Chamber than I paid 
when I was in his class back in 1977. But you don't need a Harvard Law 
School degree to understand what utter nonsense that argument is and 
where it could take us if we followed it to its logical conclusion.
  The Framers wrote impeachment into the Constitution precisely because 
they were worried about the abuse of Presidential power. And if an 
abuse of power is what the Framers had in mind when they crafted 
impeachment, then, the two questions remaining in our deliberations are 
simple: Did President Trump abuse his power and should he be removed 
from office?
  The House managers have presented a compelling case that the 
President did pressure Ukraine to announce politically motivated 
investigations. Again, a number of my Republican colleagues have 
acknowledged these facts, acknowledged that what the President did was 
wrong. And, frankly, it is clear why he did it. Does anyone here 
honestly believe that Donald Trump wanted an investigation into the 
Bidens for any other reason than to damage Joe Biden politically and, 
therefore, aid in his own reelection? Time and again, this President 
has shown a willingness to attack anyone who stands in his way. And on 
this he is ecumenical--Republicans, Democrats, members of his staff, 
Members of this body. Nobody is off limits. There is nothing out of 
character about this President using every available tool to damage an 
opponent regardless of their political party.
  I don't find fault for the President in his unorthodox style. That is 
not an impeachable offense. The long list of things I disagree with 
this President on are not impeachable offenses either. But the 
Constitution draws a line that is much clearer than the President's 
lawyers have tried to argue. The President crossed it. He abused his 
power. He commandeered America's foreign policy, not to advance 
America's interest but to advance Donald Trump's political interest. 
And despite his efforts to cover it up, he got caught.
  Now, each one of us must vote guilty or not guilty. I will vote to 
convict the President because I swore an oath to do impartial justice 
and the evidence proves the charges against him are true. There must be 
consequences for abusing the power of the Presidency to solicit foreign 
interference in our elections.
  If the Senate fails to hold him accountable, we will be setting a 
dangerous precedent. We will be giving the green light to foreign 
adversaries and future Presidents that this kind of behavior is OK. I 
will vote to convict the President because it is the Senate's 
constitutional responsibility to uphold this bedrock American principle 
that no one is above the law, not even the President, and especially 
not the President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Madam President, I am going to read a statement and then 
I am going to go back through the information that I used to make the 
decision to be able to write this statement.
  Montanans sent me to the U.S. Senate to hold government accountable. 
I fought to allow this trial to include documents and testimony from 
witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the allegations against the 
President, regardless of whether they were incriminating or 
exculpatory, so that the Senate could make its decision based on the 
best information available.
  Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues and the administration 
blocked this information, robbing the American people of their 
legitimate right to hold their elected officials accountable.
  Based on the evidence that was available to me during this trial, I 
believe President Trump abused his power by withholding military aid 
from an ally for personal political gain, and that he obstructed 
legitimate oversight by a coequal branch of government.
  It is a sad day for this country and for all Americans who believe 
that no one--not even the President of the United States--is above the 
  So how did I get to this point? Well, just a little over 2 weeks ago, 
we came into this Chamber and we started hearing testimony. That 
testimony resulted in these two notebooks full of notes, because, quite 
frankly, the House managers laid out a compelling case. The defense 
made their arguments, but the case of the House was incredibly 
  An impeachment is a solemn time. It is not something we should be 
taking without the deepest and most serious consideration. I compare it 
to a vote to send our people to war. But in this particular case, there 
was very little transparency, and none, if the President would have had 
it his way, of information coming to this body during this trial. This, 
in fact, is the shortest impeachment trial of a President ever. If we 
are going to have information to make good decisions--and I always said 
if you have good information, you can make good decisions--then, the 
President really needed to open up and cooperate just a little bit.
  This is the first time ever that we had a trial with no witnesses and 
no documents--a trial in the Senate with no information from the 
executive branch. And I get it. I get ``executive privilege,'' and I 
think there are times when executive privilege has to be used because 
the information is sensitive.

[[Page S841]]

  But I have to tell you that the Williams letter is a prime example. I 
went down to the SCIF. I read it. I have to tell you something. If 
there is something in there that needs to be classified, you have me. 
The information in that letter was information that I knew before I 
went in the SCIF. It is the same with many of the emails--if not all of 
the emails--that the President has requested to be classified and kept 
away from this body and kept away from the press.
  That is not the way this democracy should work. It should be open. If 
things are done, the people should be allowed to know.
  There are moments in time when documents have to be classified on 
sensitive information, but I am here to tell you I have seen none of 
that. I think many of the FOIA requests that have been brought forth 
show heavily redacted email messages, and then when we find out what 
was really in them, there was no need for that redaction.
  So when it comes to the obstruction of Congress, the article II 
impeachment, I don't think there is any doubt that the President 
obstructed our ability--the Senate of the United States--to do its job 
as a coequal branch to make sure that the executive branch is being 
honest and forthright.
  Let's talk about the abuse of power. There is a lot of information 
that was brought forth during this trial about what the President did. 
It has been stated many times on this floor over the last nearly 3 
weeks. The fact of the matter is, there is little doubt that the 
President withheld the aid to an ally for the purpose of creating a 
position where they had to do an investigation if they were going to 
get that money, or at least announce that investigation on a U.S. 
citizen who happened to be a political foe, to corrupt our next 
  There is no doubt about that. Many of the folks who are not going to 
vote for impeachment have already said that the President has 
wrongdoing, but it is not an impeachable offense. And I am here to tell 
you, if anybody in this country--especially the President of the United 
States--corrupts an election and that is not an impeachable offense for 
the President of the United States, I don't know what is. Fair 
elections are a foundational issue for this country, and to corrupt our 
elections is something that we need to hold people accountable for if 
they have done it. And I will tell you that the prosecution proved that 
point beyond a shadow of a doubt.
  I would also say that if you take a look at the episodes that 
happened before we got to this point that have actually nothing to do 
with the impeachment, but it does have something to do with the point 
that the defense said about folks having been calling for impeachment 
since this President got in office, I offer you this: Freedom of speech 
is something that is very important to this country. And I can tell you 
that when the President first got into office and he got in a fight 
with the Prime Minister of Australia and the Prime Minister of Sweden 
and got in a fight with the Prime Minister of the best friend the 
United States has, Canada, I was critical of the President. When the 
President pushed back on NATO and embraced every dictator in the world, 
from Putin, to Erdogan, to Xi, to Kim Jong Un, yes, I was critical of 
the President. When the President pulled troops out of northern Syria 
and left our allies the Kurds on the field alone, I was critical of the 
President. When the President did his trade wars that put American 
family farmers and Main Street businesses at risk of closure, I was 
critical of the President. And we should be. That had nothing to do 
with the impeachment, but it absolutely has everything to do with your 
freedom of speech.
  Today--tomorrow, I should say--we are going to vote on whether to 
convict or acquit the President on taking taxpayer dollars and 
withholding them from an ally that is at war with an adversary for his 
own personal and political good, and we are going to vote on whether to 
convict a President of withholding information from the entire 
executive branch. And the only ones who testified were those patriotic 
Americans who defied his order. We are going to vote whether he 
obstructed Congress. This is a no-brainer. He absolutely, unequivocally 
is guilty of both article I and article II of the impeachment.
  So the question is this: If it goes as predicted tomorrow and the 
President gets acquitted, where do we go from here? I am very concerned 
about where we go from here because the next President will use this 
precedent to not give any information to a coequal branch of government 
when we question them. The next President will use this as, geez, if it 
is good for me and my election, it is good for the country, as 
Dershowitz said. So, Katy, bar the door.
  As Chairman Schiff said yesterday, if you think this President is 
going to stop doing these actions, you are living on a different planet 
than I am living on. This will empower him to do anything he wants.
  At some point in time--if we want to listen to what the Framers 
said--at some point in time, we are going to have to do our 
constitutional duty. It doesn't appear we are going to do it this time.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, for more than 200 years after our 
Constitution was adopted, only one President faced an impeachment trial 
before the Senate. That was Andrew Johnson in 1868. But now we are 
concluding our second impeachment trial in just 21 years.
  While each case must stand on its own facts, this trend reflects the 
increasingly acrimonious partisanship facing our Nation. The Founders 
warned against excessive partisanship, fearing that it would lead to 
``instability, injustice, and confusion,'' ultimately posing a mortal 
threat to our free government.
  To protect against this, the Founders constructed an elaborate system 
of checks and balances to prevent ``factions'' from sacrificing ``both 
the public good and the rights of other citizens.'' Impeachment is part 
of that elaborate system. The Founders set a very high bar for its use, 
requiring that the President may only be removed by a two-thirds vote 
of the Senate.
  The Framers recognized that in removing a sitting President, we would 
be acting against not only the officeholder but also the voters who 
entrusted him with that position. Thus, the Senate must consider 
whether misconduct occurred, its nature, and the traumatic and 
disruptive impact that removing a duly elected President would have on 
our Nation.
  In the trial of President Clinton, I argued that in order to convict, 
``we must conclude from the evidence presented to us with no room for 
doubt that our Constitution will be injured and our democracy suffer 
should the President remain in office one moment more.'' The House 
managers adopted a similar threshold when they argued that President 
Trump's conduct is so dangerous that he ``must not remain in power one 
moment longer.''
  The point is, impeachment of a President should be reserved for 
conduct that poses such a serious threat to our governmental 
institutions as to warrant the extreme step of immediate removal from 
office. I voted to acquit President Clinton, even though the House 
managers proved to my satisfaction that he did commit a crime, because 
his conduct did not meet that threshold.
  I will now discuss each of the articles.
  In its first Article of Impeachment against President Trump, the 
House asserts that the President abused the power of his Presidency. 
While there are gaps in the record, some key facts are not disputed.
  It is clear from the July 25, 2019, phone call between President 
Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky that the investigation into the 
Bidens' activities requested by President Trump was improper and 
demonstrated very poor judgment.
  There is conflicting evidence in the record about the President's 
motivation for this improper request. The House managers stated 
repeatedly that President Trump's actions were motivated ``solely'' for 
his own political gain in the 2020 campaign. Yet the President's 
attorneys argued that the President had sound public policy 
motivations, including a concern about widespread corruption in 
  Regardless, it was wrong for President Trump to mention former Vice

[[Page S842]]

President Biden on that phone call, and it was wrong for him to ask a 
foreign country to investigate a political rival.
  The House Judiciary Committee identified in its report crimes that it 
believed the President committed. Article I, however, does not even 
attempt to assert that the President committed a crime. I sought to 
reconcile this contradiction between the report and the articles in a 
question I posed to the House managers, but they failed to address that 
point in their response.
  While I do not believe that the conviction of a President requires a 
criminal act, the high bar for removal from office is perhaps even 
higher when the impeachment is for a difficult-to-define, noncriminal 
  In any event, the House did little to support its assertion in 
article I that the President ``will remain a threat to national 
security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.''
  As I concluded in the impeachment trial of President Clinton, I do 
not believe that the House has met its burden of showing that the 
President's conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of 
immediate removal from office, nor does the record support the 
assertion by the House managers that the President must not remain in 
office one moment longer. The fact that the House delayed transmitting 
the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate for 33 days undercuts this 
  For all of the reasons I have discussed, I will vote to acquit on 
article I.
  Article II seeks to have the Senate convict the President based on a 
dispute over witnesses and documents between the legislative and 
executive branches. As a general principle, an objection or privilege 
asserted by one party cannot be deemed invalid, let alone impeachable, 
simply because the opposing party disagrees with it.
  Before the House even authorized its impeachment inquiry, it issued 
23 subpoenas to current and former administration officials. When the 
House and the President could not reach an accommodation, the House 
failed to compel testimony and document production. The House actually 
withdrew a subpoena seeking testimony from Dr. Charles Kupperman, a 
national security aide, once he went to court for guidance. And the 
House chose not to issue a subpoena to John Bolton, the National 
Security Advisor, whom the House has identified as the key witness.
  At a minimum, the House should have pursued the full extent of its 
own remedies before bringing impeachment charges, including by seeking 
the assistance of a neutral third party--the judicial branch.
  In making these choices, the House substituted its own political 
preference for speed over finality. The House managers described 
impeachment as a ``last resort'' for the Congress. In this case, 
however, the House chose to skip the basic steps of judicial 
adjudication and instead leapt straight to impeachment as the first 
resort. Therefore, I will vote to acquit on article II.
  This decision is not about whether you like or dislike this 
President, or agree with or oppose his policies, or approve or 
disapprove of his conduct in other circumstances. Rather, it is about 
whether the charges meet the very high constitutional standard of 
``Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes or Misdemeanors.''
  It has been 230 years since George Washington first took the oath of 
office, and there are good reasons why during that entire time the 
Senate has never removed a President. Such a move would not only affect 
the sitting President but could have unpredictable and potentially 
adverse consequences for public confidence in our electoral process.
  It is my judgment that, except when extraordinary circumstances 
require a different result, we should entrust to the people the most 
fundamental decision of a democracy; namely, who should lead their 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. BOOKER. Madam President, in 1974, after the House Judiciary 
Committee voted to approve Articles of Impeachment against President 
Nixon, Chairman Peter Rodino, of my home State of New Jersey, a 
lifelong Newark resident of my home city who had been thrust into the 
high-profile position only the previous year, returned to his office 
and called his wife. When she answered the phone, this chairman, this 
longtime Congressman broke down in tears and cried.
  Forty-six years later, our Nation has found itself under similar 
duress, and I agree with my fellow Newarker--impeaching a President is 
a profoundly sad time for our Nation. It is a painful time. No matter 
what party, if you love your country, then this is heartbreaking.
  When we think about our history as Americans, so many of us have 
reverence for our Founding Fathers and our founding documents. They 
represented imperfect genius. We talk about the Declaration of 
Independence. We hail the Constitution. These documents literally bent 
the arc of not just our own history but human history for democratic 
governance on the planet. While these were milestones in the path of 
our Nation's relatively brief existence, the governing document that 
came between the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution is 
often overlooked--the Articles of Confederation.
  With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to view the development of 
our Nation as preordained, inevitable--as if it were an expected march 
toward the greatness we now collectively hail, that this was somehow a 
perfectly plotted path toward a more perfect union. But it wasn't.
  In 1787, as our Founders gathered in Philadelphia, our fledgling 
country was at a crisis and at a crossroads. Its future, as in so many 
moments of our past, was deeply uncertain.
  You see, when the Framers designed our system of government in the 
Articles of Confederation, you can say they overcompensated. With the 
tyranny of King George III fresh in their minds, they created a 
government with powers so diffuse and decentralized that nothing could 
really get done. Instead of one Nation, we were operating essentially 
as 13 independent States. The Federal Government could not tax its 
citizens. It could not raise money. It lacked a judiciary and an 
executive branch.
  So when our Framers arrived in Philadelphia that hot summer, they 
would have to thread a difficult needle, providing for a strong central 
government that represented the people and one that also guarded 
against the corrupt tendencies that come when power is concentrated, as 
they well knew was so in a monarchy.
  Our democratic Republic was their solution. The Nation needed a 
powerful Executive, yes, but that Executive needed guardrails, and his 
power needed to be checked and balanced. So the Framers created what we 
now almost take for granted--three coequal branches of government: the 
legislative, the executive, and judicial branches. Each branch would 
have the ability to check the power of the other branches to ensure, as 
James Madison so profoundly argued, that ambition would ``be made to 
counteract ambition.''
  But this system of checks and balances was not enough for our 
Founders. Still reeling from their experience under the oppressive rule 
of the King, many feared an unaccountable, autocratic leader. So the 
Founders created a mechanism of last resort--impeachment.
  George Mason prophetically asked the Founders to wrestle with the 
concept of impeachment at the Constitutional Convention, saying: 
``Shall any man be above Justice?''
  The Founders answered that question with a resounding no. The 
Constitution made clear that any Federal officer, even the President, 
would be subject to impeachment and removal. No one--no one--no one is 
above the law. This was seen as the ultimate safeguard, and it has only 
been invoked twice before in American history. This is the third.
  I sat in this very spot and listened to the evidence presented, 
honoring my oath to be objective, and based on the evidence that was 
presented in hour after hour after hour of presentations, I concluded 
that the President, Donald John Trump, is guilty of committing high 
crimes and misdemeanors against the United States of America, against 
the people. I believe he abused the awesome power of his office for 
personal and political gain to pressure a foreign power to interfere in 
the most sacred institution of our democracy, our elections. He then 
engaged in a concerted,

[[Page S843]]

far-reaching, and categorical effort to cover up his transgression and 
block any efforts for the people's representatives to have the truth.
  It brings me no satisfaction to come to this conclusion. I feel that 
sadness of my predecessor. Yet we have sworn an oath to protect and 
defend the Constitution of the United States.
  This is not a moment that should call for partisan passions. It is 
not a moment that we think of in terms of the limitlessness of personal 
ambition. This is a patriotic moment. It is about putting principle 
above party. It is about honoring this body and the Senate's rightful 
place in our constitutional system of checks and balances. It is about 
fulfilling the enormous trust the Founders placed in this body as an 
impartial Court of Impeachment and a necessary check on what they 
foresaw as the potential for ``grave abuses'' by the Executive.
  If we fail to hold this President accountable, then we fail the 
Founders' intent; we fail our democracy; and I fear the injury that 
will result.
  When our grandchildren and their children read about this chapter in 
the history books at a time far into the future, when this President is 
a memory along with those of us serving in this Chamber, it will not be 
seen through the eye of politics or partisanship. They will read about 
how this body acted in their moment of constitutional crisis. I fear 
that their unflinching eyes, at a time when the full body of evidence 
will be out in the public domain, will see clearly how this body 
abdicated its constitutional responsibilities, surrendering them to 
partisan passions. They will read about how the Senate shut its doors 
to the truth, even though it was within easy reach; how, for the first 
time in our history of impeachment proceedings for judges and for past 
Presidents, the world's greatest deliberative body conducted an 
impeachment trial without demanding a single witness and without 
subpoenaing a single document; how, even as new evidence during the 
trial continued to be uncovered, the Members of this body failed to 
even view it. They failed to pursue with even the faintest effort those 
things that would have easily and more perfectly revealed the breadth 
and depth of the President's misconduct.
  We know across the street, in the Supreme Court, the saying is that 
justice is blind, but that means that no one is above the law. It does 
not mean that this body should abdicate its responsibilities and it 
should abandon its senses and even abandon common sense. If there is 
evidence we know about that could speak beyond a reasonable doubt to 
this President's alleged crimes and misconduct, it makes no sense 
whatsoever that we should deny, in this deliberative body, the truth--
the truth.
  This kind of willful ignorance, this metaphorical closing of our eyes 
and ears, is a grave danger to any democracy. It is the rot from 
within, when the ideals of truth and justice fall victim to the toxic 
tyranny of absolute partisanship.
  This President has claimed authoritarian power that our Constitution 
was explicitly designed to prevent. He has literally said that article 
II allows him to do whatever he wants. That outrageous statement 
tomorrow could be given life within this democracy.
  He has declared himself unaccountable to and above the law. He has 
shredded the very governing ideals of this great Republic, and we, the 
Senate, the body designed to check such abuses of power, that 
``dignified . . . independent . . . unawed and uninfluenced'' tribunal, 
as Hamilton so famously wrote in Federalist Paper No. 65, have been 
enablers to this destructive instinct.
  This is a sad day. This is a sad moment in the history of this body 
and in our Nation, and I fear that it is emblematic, that it is a 
symptom of deeper challenges to this Nation, challenges that are being 
exploited by our enemies abroad and by opportunists here at home.
  The factionalism that our Founders warned us of has deepened beyond 
mere partisanship to a self-destructive tribalism. The ``cunning, 
ambitious, and unprincipled men'' seeking to subvert the power of the 
people, as Washington predicted in his profound and prophetic Farewell 
Address, have found their season to flourish here in our time. Many in 
our society now hate other Americans, not because of the content of 
their character or their virtue and the values they hold dear, but we, 
as Americans, now more and more see hate proliferating in our country 
between fellow Americans because of what party we belong to.
  We have failed to listen to the words that come out of each other's 
mouths, failed to listen to the ideals or the principles or the 
underlying facts because we now simply listen to partisanship. This 
Nation was founded with great sacrifice. The blood, sweat, and tears of 
our ancestors, which gave life and strength to this Nation, are now 
being weakened and threatened, as our very first President warned.
  And, yes, today is a sad moment, but we, as a nation, have never been 
defined by our darkest hours. We have always been defined by how we 
respond to our challenges, how we have refused to surrender to 
cynicism, and how we have refused to give in to despair.
  As Senator after Senator today gets up and speaks, I fear that mere 
words in this time are impotent and ineffective. It may mark where we 
as individuals stand for the record, but the challenge demands more 
from all of us in this time. We have already seen on this Senate floor 
that sound arguments have been dismissed as partisanship. We have heard 
speech after speech and seen how they will not cure this time. They 
will not save this Republic from our deepening divides.
  So I ask: What will? How? How do we heal? How do we meet this crisis? 
I know that this President is incapable of healing this Nation. I have 
never seen a leader in high office ever take such glee in meanness. He 
considers it some kind of high badge of virtue in the way he demeans 
and degrades his political adversaries. He demonizes others, often the 
weak in our society, and I firmly believe that he has shown that he 
will even conspire with foreign nations to defeat his adversaries, and 
then defend himself not with any truth or transparency but by trying to 
heighten and ignite even more partisan passions.
  So the question is really, How do we heal this Nation? How do we meet 
this challenge that is not embodied in any individual?
  It was a man far greater than me named Learned Hand who said:

       Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies 
     there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no 
     constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. 
     The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure 
     that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which 
     seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the 
     spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests 
     alongside its own without bias.

  I continue to quote this great judge.

       Our dangers, as it seems to me, are not from the outrageous 
     but from the conforming; not from those who rarely and under 
     the lurid glare of obloquy upset our moral complaisance, or 
     shock us with unaccustomed conduct, but from those, the mass 
     of us, who take their virtues and their tastes, like their 
     shirts and their furniture, from the limited patterns which 
     the market offers.

  I love our Nation's history. I am telling you right now we have seen 
that the true test of our democracy will not come simply from the low 
actions from our leaders on most high. The true test of our democracy 
will not turn alone on the actions of this body because Presidents 
before and this body before have failed us in dark times. They failed 
the ideals of freedom when time and again they defended slavery. This 
body has failed the ideals of liberty when time and again it rejected 
civil rights. This body has failed the ideals in the past of equality 
when it voted down, again and again, suffrage for women. Lo, Presidents 
before and the Senate before has failed this Nation in the darkest of 
times. As the songs of my ancestors have said, our path has been 
watered with the tears and blood of ancestors.
  How do we heal? How do we move forward? I say on this dark day that 
the hope of this Nation lies with its people. As Learned Hand said: The 
spirit of liberty is not embodied in the Constitution. Other nations 
have constitutions and have failed. The hope of this Nation will always 
lie with its people.
  So we will not be cured today, and, I tell you, tomorrow's vote--it 
is a defeat. But we, as a people facing other defeats in this body, 
must never be defeated. Just like they beat us down at

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Stonewall and they beat us back in Selma, the hope of this Nation lies 
with the people who faced defeats but must never be defeated.
  So my prayer for our Republic, now yet in another crisis in the 
Senate, is that we cannot let this be leading us further and further 
into a treacherous time of partisanship and tribalism where we tear at 
each other and when we turn against each other. Now is the time in 
America where we must begin, in the hearts of people, to turn to each 
other and to begin to find a way out of this dark time to a higher 
ground of hope. This is not a time to simply point blame at one side or 
another. This is a time to accept responsibility.
  Like our ancestors in the past so understood, that change does not 
come from Washington. It must come to Washington. As I was taught as a 
boy, we didn't get civil rights because Strom Thurmond came to the 
Senate floor one day and pronounced that he had seen the light. No, 
this body responded to the demands of people, and now is a time that we 
must demand the highest virtues of our land and see each other for who 
we are--our greatest hope and our greatest promise.
  We are a weary people in America again. We are tired. We are 
frustrated. But we cannot give up. That flag over there and we who 
swear an oath to it and don't just parrot words or say them with some 
kind of perfunctory obligation--but those who swear an oath to this 
Nation--must now act with a greater unyielding conviction. We must act 
to do justice. We must act to heal harms. We must act to walk more 
humbly. We must act to love one another unconditionally. And now, more 
than ever, perhaps we need to act in the words of a great abolitionist, 
a former slave, who in a dark, difficult time when America was failing 
to live up to its promise, gave forth a sentiment of his actions 
captured in the poetry of Langston Hughes. He declared through his deed 
and through his work and through his sacrifice:

     America never was America to me,
     And yet I swear this oath--
     America will be!

  As a Nation, in this difficult time where we face the betrayal of a 
President, the surrender of obligation by a body, may we meet this time 
with our actions of good will, of a commitment to love and to justice, 
and to yet again elevating our country so that we, too, may be like, as 
it says in that great text, ``a light unto all Nations.''
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I am here today to talk about the Senate 
trial and the factors I have considered in making my decision on the 
Articles of Impeachment from the House. I have now read hundreds of 
pages of legal briefs and memos, including the testimony of 17 
witnesses. Here, on the Senate floor, I have reviewed more than 190 
witness videos and listened carefully to more than 65 hours of detailed 
presentations from both the House managers and from the President's 
legal team.
  As cofounder and cochair of the Ukraine Caucus and someone who is 
proud to represent many Ukrainian Americans in Ohio, I have been active 
for the past several years in helping Ukraine as it has sought freedom 
and independence since the 2014 Revolution of Dignity that saw the 
corrupt Russian-backed government of Viktor Yanukovych replaced with 
pro-Western elected leaders.
  Since first seeing the transcript of the phone call between President 
Trump and President Zelensky 4 months ago, I have consistently said 
that the President asking Ukraine for an investigation into Joe Biden 
was inappropriate and wrong. I have also said, since then, that any 
actions taken by members of the administration or those outside the 
administration to try to delay military assistance or a White House 
meeting pending an investigation by Ukraine were not appropriate 
  But while I don't condone this behavior, these actions do not rise to 
the level of removing President Trump from office and taking him off 
the ballot in a Presidential election year that is already well under 
  I first looked to the fact that the Founders meant for impeachment of 
a President to be extremely rare, reserved for only ``Treason, Bribery, 
or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.'' Any fair reading of what the 
Founders meant in the Constitution and in the Federalist papers in the 
context of history and just plain common sense makes it clear that 
removing a duly elected President demands that those arguing for 
conviction meet a high standard.
  As an example, for good reason there has never been a Presidential 
impeachment that didn't allege a crime. In the Clinton impeachment, the 
independent counsel concluded that President Clinton committed not one 
but two crimes. In this case, no crime is alleged. Let me repeat. In 
the two Articles of Impeachment that came over to us from the House, 
there is no criminal law violation alleged. Although I don't think that 
that is always necessary--there could be circumstances where a crime 
isn't necessary in an impeachment--without a crime, it is even a higher 
bar for those who advocate for a conviction, and that high bar is not 
met here.
  What is more, even though it was delayed, the President ultimately 
did provide the needed military assistance to Ukraine, and he provided 
it before the September 30 budget deadline, and the requested 
investigations by Ukraine were not undertaken. It is an important point 
to make. The aid went. The investigations did not occur.
  The military assistance is particularly important to me as a strong 
supporter of Ukraine. In fact, I was one of those Senators who fought 
to give President Obama and his administration the authority to provide 
badly needed lethal military assistance to Ukraine in response to the 
Russian aggression that came right after the Revolution of Dignity in 
  I must say, I strongly urged the Obama administration to use that 
authority, and, like Ukraine, I was deeply disappointed when they did 
not. I strongly supported President Trump's decision to change course 
and provide that assistance shortly after he came into office. While 
visiting Ukrainian troops on the frontlines in the Donbas region of 
Ukraine, I have seen firsthand how much those soldiers need the 
military assistance President Trump alone has provided.
  Beyond whether the President's conduct met the high bar of 
impeachment, there is also the underlying issue of the legitimacy of 
the House impeachment process. The House Democrats sent the Senate a 
flawed case built on what respected George Washington University 
constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley calls ``the shortest 
proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest 
grounds ever used to impeach a President.''
  Instead of using the tools available to compel the administration to 
produce documents and witnesses, the House followed a self-imposed and 
entirely political deadline for voting on the Articles of Impeachment 
before Christmas. After the rushed vote, the House then inexplicably 
stalled, keeping those articles from being delivered here in the Senate 
for 28 days, time they could have used to subpoena witnesses and 
resolve legitimate disagreements about whether evidence was privileged 
or not. They didn't even bother to subpoena witnesses they then wanted 
the Senate to subpoena for them.

  The House process was also lacking in fundamental fairness and due 
process in a number of respects. It is incomprehensible to me that the 
President's counsel did not have the opportunity to cross-examine fact 
witnesses and that the House selectively leaked deposition testimony 
from closed-door sessions.
  Rushing an impeachment case through the House without due process and 
giving the Senate a half-baked case to finish sets a very dangerous 
precedent. If the Senate were to convict, it would send the wrong 
message and risk making this kind of quick, partisan impeachment in the 
House a regular occurrence moving forward. That would be terrible for 
the country.
  Less than a year ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: ``Impeachment is so 
divisive to the country that unless there's something so compelling and 
overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that 
path.'' She was right.
  It is better to let the people decide. Early voting has already 
started in some States, and the Iowa caucuses occurred last night. 
Armed with all the

[[Page S845]]

information, we should let the voters have their say at the ballot box.
  During the last impeachment 21 years ago, now-House Manager 
Congressman Jerry Nadler said:

       There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an 
     impeachment substantially supported by one of our major 
     political parties and largely opposed by the other. Such an 
     impeachment would lack legitimacy.

  In this case, the impeachment wasn't just ``substantially supported'' 
by Democrats; it was only supported by Democrats. In fact, a few 
Democrats actually voted with all the Republicans to oppose the 
  Founder Alexander Hamilton feared that impeachment could easily fall 
prey to partisan politics. That is exactly what happened here with the 
only purely partisan impeachment in the history of our great country. 
For all of these reasons, I am voting against the Articles of 
Impeachment tomorrow.
  It is time to move on and to move on to focus on bipartisan 
legislation to help the families whom we represent. Unlike the House, 
the Senate is blocked from conducting its regular business during 
  My colleague from New Jersey asked a moment ago, how do we heal? How 
do we heal the wounds? Our country is divided, and I think the 
impeachment has further divided an already polarized country. I think 
we heal, in part, by surprising the people and coming out from our 
partisan corners and getting stuff done--stuff that they care about 
that affects the families we were sent here to represent.
  While in the impeachment trial, we were prevented from doing the 
important legislative work our constituents expect, like passing 
legislation to lower prescription drug costs, like rebuilding our 
crumbling roads and bridges, like addressing the new addiction crisis--
the combination of synthetic opioids like fentanyl and crystal meth, 
pure crystal meth coming from Mexico. It is an opportunity for us to 
strengthen our economy with better skills training, including passing 
legislation to give workers the skills they need to meet the jobs that 
are out there. Those are just a few ideas that are ready to go--ideas 
the President supports, Republicans support, and Democrats support.
  I have been working on bipartisan initiatives like the JOBS Act to 
provide that needed skills training, the Restore Our Parks Act to deal 
with the infrastructure that is crumbling in our national parks, the 
Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which promotes 
energy efficiency--something we should be able to agree on across the 
aisle. All of these have been sitting idle this year as we have 
grappled with impeachment.
  How do we heal? How do we heal the wounds? In part, let's do it by 
working together to pass legislation people care about.
  Back home, I have seen that the impeachment process has, indeed, 
further divided an already polarized country. A conviction in the 
Senate, removing Donald Trump from office and taking his name off the 
ballot, would dangerously deepen that growing rift. That is one reason 
I am glad we are not likely to see a conviction because I do care about 
our country and bringing it together.
  Instead, my hope is that lessons have been learned; that we can heal 
some wounds for the sake of the country; that we can turn to the 
bipartisan work most Americans expect us to do; and that we can allow 
American voters, exercising the most important constitutional check and 
balance of all, to have their say in this year's Presidential election. 
I believe this is what the Constitution requires and what the country 
  I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, as I rise today to discuss this impeachment 
trial, I am reminded of an inscription above the front door of the 
Finance Building in Harrisburg, PA, from the 1930s. Here is the 
inscription: ``All public service is a trust, given in faith and 
accepted in honor.''
  I believe that President Trump and every public official in America 
must earn that trust every day. That sacred trust is given to us, as 
the inscription says, ``in faith,'' by virtue of our election.
  The question for the President and every public official is this: 
Will we accept this trust by our honorable conduct? The trust set forth 
in the inscription is an echo of Alexander Hamilton's words in 
Federalist No. 65, where Hamilton articulated the standard for 
impeachment as ``offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public 
men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public 
  Over the past 2 weeks, I have listened carefully to the arguments put 
forward by the President's defense lawyers and the House managers. In 
light of the substantial record put forth by the managers in this case, 
I have determined that the managers have not only met but exceeded 
their burden of proof.
  President Trump violated his duty as a public servant by corruptly 
abusing his power to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election 
and by repeatedly obstructing Congress's constitutionally based 
investigation into his conduct.
  President Trump's clearly established pattern of conduct indicates 
that he will continue to be ``a threat to national security and the 
Constitution if allowed to remain in office.'' For these reasons, I 
will vote guilty on both article I and article II.
  This impeachment was triggered by the President's conduct. We are 
here because the President abused his power--the awesome power of his 
office--to demand that an ally investigate a political opponent, 
proving his contempt for the Constitution and his duties as a public 
  The House managers provided substantial evidence of wrongdoing. 
First, as to article I regarding abuse of power, many of the facts here 
are undisputed. For example, there is no dispute that the President has 
said, when referring to the Constitution itself: ``Article II allows me 
to do whatever I want.'' This is what the President of the United 
States of America said.
  Then he withheld congressionally authorized military assistance to 
Ukraine in a White House meeting with President Zelensky and 
conditioned that military assistance and the meeting on Ukraine 
publicly announcing investigations into Vice President Biden and his 
son, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 election 
interference. The memorandum of the July 25 phone call in which 
President Trump asked President Zelensky ``to do us a favor though,'' 
after Zelensky brought up in the conversation military assistance, that 
evidence is compelling evidence of wrongdoing.
  The President reiterated on the White House lawn on October 3 that 
Ukraine should ``start a major investigation into the Bidens'' before 
adding that China should also ``start an investigation into the 
  President Trump's own politically appointed Ambassador to the 
European Union, Gordon Sondland, explicitly testified that the meeting 
and the assistance were conditioned on announcing--announcing--the 
  The President's defense lawyers first insisted on this floor that he 
``did absolutely nothing wrong.'' But later, after even Republican 
Senators would not make that claim, the new justification for his 
misconduct was ``corruption'' and ``burden-sharing.''
  If the President were so concerned about corruption in Ukraine, why 
did he dismiss one of our best corruption-fighting diplomats, Marie 
Yovanovitch? In May, the Department of Defense also certified--
certified--that Ukraine had taken ``substantial actions'' to decrease 
  If there were legitimate foreign policy concerns about corruption, 
the President would not have released aid to Ukraine without delay in 
2017 and in 2018, only to delay it in 2019, after Joe Biden announced 
his run for President.
  If there were legitimate foreign policy concerns, the President would 
not have been interested in pursuing investigations based on--as Dr. 
Fiona Hill testified--a ``fictional narrative that is being perpetrated 
and propagated by the Russian security services'' to raise doubts about 
Russia's own culpability in the 2016 election interference and to harm 
the relationship between the United States and Ukraine.
  Furthermore, the President's defense team would have us believe that 
he legitimately asserted executive privilege over the House's well-
founded impeachment inquiry, despite the fact that he never actually 
asserted a privilege over a single document or witness. Rather, he 
issued a blanket directive in which

[[Page S846]]

he refused to cooperate entirely with the House investigation. This 
action not only obstructed the House's constitutional responsibility of 
oversight, it also sought to cover up the President's corrupt abuse of 
  At the time of the drafting of the Constitution, the Framers' 
understanding of ``high Crimes and Misdemeanors'' was informed by 
centuries of English legal precedent. This understanding was reflected 
in the language of Federalist No. 65 that I referred to earlier 
regarding ``an abuse or violation of some public trust.'' Based on this 
history, both Chambers of Congress have consistently interpreted ``high 
Crimes and Misdemeanors'' broadly to mean ``serious violations of the 
public trust.''
  The President's defense lawyers argued that impeachment requires the 
violation of a criminal statute to be constitutionally valid. This 
argument is offensive, dangerous, and not supported by historical 
precedent, credible scholarship, or common sense about the sacred 
notion of the public trust.
  When applying the impeachment standard of an ``abuse or violation of 
some public trust,'' it is clear that President Trump's conduct 
exceeded that standard. Any effort to corrupt our next election must be 
met with swift accountability, as provided for in the impeachment 
clause in the Constitution. There is no other remedy to constrain a 
President who has acted time and again to advance his personal 
interests over those of the Nation.
  Furthermore, as demonstrated through Special Counsel Mueller's report 
regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election and the substantial 
evidence presented in this impeachment trial and the House proceedings, 
President Trump has engaged in ongoing efforts to solicit foreign 
interference in our elections.
  As the Washington Post reported on September the 21st in a story 
written by three reporters who have covered the President for several 
years, the President's conduct on the Ukraine phone call revealed a 
``President convinced of his own invincibility--apparently willing and 
even eager to wield the vast powers of the United States to taint a 
political foe and confident that no one could hold him back.''
  This President will abuse his power again.
  At the outset of this trial and throughout the proceedings, Senate 
Democrats and 75 percent of the American people have repeatedly called 
for relevant witnesses and relevant documents to be subpoenaed to 
ensure a full and fair trial for all parties. For example, we sought 
testimony from former National Security Advisor John Bolton, whose 
unpublished manuscript indicates that the President explicitly told 
Bolton that he wanted to continue the delay in military assistance to 
Ukraine until it announced the political investigations he was seeking. 
Fifty-one Senate Republicans refused to examine this or other relevant 
evidence, thereby rigging this trial to the benefit of the President. 
Fair trials have witnesses and documents. Coverups have neither.
  This is the third Presidential impeachment trial in our country's 
history, and it is the only one--the only one--to be conducted without 
calling a single witness. In fact, every completed impeachment trial in 
history has included new witnesses who were not even interviewed in the 
House of Representatives. Senate Republicans slammed the door shut on 
relevant testimony, contrary to the national interest.
  Our Founders had the foresight to ensure that the power of the 
President was not unlimited and that Congress could, if necessary, hold 
the Executive accountable for abuses of power through the impeachment 
process. This trial is not simply about grave Presidential abuse of 
power; it is about our democracy, the sanctity of our elections, and 
the very values that the Founders agreed should guide our Nation.
  I go back to the beginning and that inscription: ``All public service 
is a trust, given in faith and accepted in honor.'' President Trump 
dishonored that public trust and thereby abused his power for personal 
political gain. In order to prevent continuing interference in our 
upcoming election and blatant obstruction of Congress, I will vote 
guilty on both articles.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I rise today to address the topic that 
has consumed this body for the past several weeks, which is, of course, 
the impeachment trial of the President of the United States.
  After the passage of two Impeachment Articles in the House, Speaker 
Pelosi waited nearly a month to transmit the articles to the Senate. 
Once she finally did, the trial took precedence, and the wheels were 
set in motion to conduct the proceedings and render a verdict.
  Since it became clear that the House would vote to impeach the 
President, I have taken my constitutional duty to serve as a juror in 
the impeachment trial with the seriousness and attention that it 
  In light of the extensive coverage the situation received, it was 
impossible not to take notice of the process that unfolded in the House 
over the course of its investigation. Its inquiry was hasty, flawed, 
and clearly undertaken under partisan pretenses.
  Having rushed to impeach the President ahead of an arbitrary 
deadline, as well as failing to provide adequate opportunities for the 
President to defend himself, the impeachment investigation in this case 
specifically was contrived, at least partially, and was a vehicle to 
fulfill the fierce desire among many of the President's detractors that 
has existed since before he was even sworn in to remove him from 
  Be that as it may, the Constitution makes clear that the Senate has a 
duty to try all the impeachments. As such, the chief concern I had, as 
I know many of my colleagues also shared, was for the process in this 
body to be fair. It was clear to me that what transpired in the House 
was incredibly partisan and unfair.
  I believed the Senate must and would rise to the occasion to conduct 
a trial that was fair, respectful, and faithful to the design and 
intent of our Founders. I believed that the organizing resolution that 
we passed was sufficient in establishing a framework for the trial and 
also would address the outstanding issues at the appropriate times.
  Throughout the course of the trial, I stayed attentive and engaged, 
taking in the arguments and the evidence presented to the Senate, which 
included the testimony of over a dozen witnesses and thousands of 
documents as part of the House investigation.
  The House impeachment managers were emphatic that their case against 
the President was overwhelming, uncontested, convincing, and proven. 
The President's counsel made an equally forceful case in his defense, 
countering the claims made by the House and underscoring the grounds on 
which the Senate should reject the articles and, by necessity, the 
attempt to expel him from office and a future ballot.
  Based on the work done by the House--or maybe, more accurately, the 
work not done and the inherently flawed and partisan nature of the 
product it presented to the Senate--I was skeptical that it could prove 
its case and convince anybody, apart from the President's longtime, 
most severe critics, that his behavior merited removal from office. 
After 2 weeks of proceedings in the Senate, my assessment of the 
situation has not been swayed, nor has it changed. That is why I will 
vote to acquit the President and reject the weaponization of Congress's 
authority to impeach the duly elected President of the United States.

  To be clear, the partisan nature of this impeachment process 
potentially sets the stage for more impeachments along strictly 
partisan lines--a development that would be terrible for our country. 
The Constitution lays out justifications for impeachment, which include 
``Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.''
  As a U.S. Senator, there is perhaps no more important decision that I 
am asked to make aside from voting to send Americans to war. That is 
exactly why I treated this impeachment trial with the gravity and the 
thoughtfulness I believe that it deserved.
  The accusations explicitly made by the House impeachment managers and 
echoed by some on the other side that the Senate is engaging in a 
coverup are wrong on the merits and further drag this process down into 
the rhetoric of

[[Page S847]]

partisan political warfare. I regret that it has descended to such a 
place. Fulfilling my constitutional obligation after drawing my own 
conclusions is far from a coverup.
  The attempt to turn the impeachment power into a weapon of political 
convenience will be far more damaging than any other aspect of this 
chapter in our Nation's history.
  At the end of the day, this partisan, deficient process yielded a 
product built on inadequate foundation, in addition to being clearly 
motivated by the desire to remove the President, who some vocal 
activists have viewed as illegitimate since Election Day 2016.
  Not even a year ago, Speaker Pelosi was still attempting to stem the 
push for impeachment within her own party, arguing that ``impeachment 
is so divisive to the country that unless there's something so 
compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go 
down that path.'' She was right, and this impeachment process has 
failed by each of these metrics. It has further divided the country.
  The case is certainly not overwhelming, and it has been anything but 
bipartisan. In fact, the vote against impeaching the President in the 
House was bipartisan. As a result of Senate rules and precedents, it 
has also brought the legislative process nearly to a grinding halt.
  But as the trial reaches its conclusion, I believe we must move on 
and return to doing the work of trying to get things done for the 
American people. The average Arkansan, like many other Americans, is 
looking for results and asking how the elected leaders they have chosen 
are trying to help make their lives better and move our country 
forward. They are not interested in the political games and theater 
that have consumed much of Washington since September. It is my hope 
that we return to that real, pressing work in short order.
  In just a few months, the voters of this country will get to decide 
who they prefer to lead our country. I trust them to make that 
decision, and I trust that the process by which we choose our President 
and other leaders will remain free and fair and that the outcome will 
represent the will of the people. The hard-working men and women of our 
intelligence, law enforcement, and national security communities will 
continue to work tirelessly to ensure that this is the case, and I have 
every confidence they will succeed in that endeavor.
  It is time to get back to the important work before us and to 
remember that those we represent are capable of judging for themselves 
how this impeachment was conducted and, maybe just as importantly, how 
we conducted ourselves as it unfolded.
  We have a responsibility to lead by example. I implore my colleagues 
to join me in committing to getting back to doing the hard and 
necessary work before us when this impeachment trial reaches its 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, we are in our third week of the 
impeachment trial right now. After thousands of documents being 
reviewed and over a dozen witnesses that we have heard, well over 100 
video testimony clips that we have gone through, we are nearing the 
  The country is deeply divided on multiple issues right now, and the 
impeachment trial is both a symptom of our times and another example of 
our division.
  The Nation didn't have an impeachment inquiry for almost 100 years, 
until 1868, the partisan impeachment of Andrew Johnson.
  Another impeachment wasn't conducted for over 100 years after that, 
when the House began a formal impeachment inquiry into President Nixon 
with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 410 to 4.
  Just a little over two decades later, there was another partisan 
impeachment process--President Clinton, when he was impeached on an 
almost straight partisan vote.
  Tomorrow I will join many others to vote to acquit the President of 
the United States. His actions certainly do not rise to the level of 
removal from office. This is clearly another one of our partisan 
impeachments, now the third in our history.
  Over the past 3 years, the House of Representatives has voted four 
times to open an impeachment inquiry: once in 2017, once in 2018, and 
twice in 2019. Only the second vote in 2019 actually passed and turned 
into an actual impeachment inquiry.
  For 4 months the country has been consumed with impeachment hearings 
and investigations. First, rumors of issues with Ukraine arose on 
August 28, when POLITICO wrote a story about U.S. aid being slow-walked 
for Ukraine, and then September 18, when the Washington Post released a 
story about a whistleblower report that claimed President Trump 
pressured an unnamed foreign head of state to do an investigation for 
his campaign.
  Within days of the Washington Post story, before the whistleblower 
report came out, before anything was known, Speaker Pelosi announced 
the House would begin hearings to impeach the President, which led to a 
formal House vote to open an impeachment inquiry on October 31 and a 
formal vote to impeach the President on December 18.
  The House sent over two Articles of Impeachment, asking the Senate to 
decide if the President should be removed from office and barred from 
running for any future office in the United States--one on abuse of 
power; the second on obstruction of Congress. Let me take those two in 
  The abuse of power argument hinges on two things: Did the President 
of the United States use official funds to compel the Ukrainian 
Government to investigate Joe Biden's son and his work for the corrupt 
natural gas company in Ukraine, Burisma, and did the President withhold 
a meeting with President Zelensky until President Zelensky agreed to 
investigate Joe Biden's son?
  To be clear, the theory of the funds being withheld from Ukraine in 
exchange for an investigation doesn't originate from that now-infamous 
July 25 call. There is nothing in the text of the call that threatens 
the withholding of funds for an investigation. The theory originates 
from the belief of Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland's--
what he said--presumption--and he repeated that over and over again--
presumption that the aid must have been held because of the President's 
desire to get the Biden investigation done, since the President's 
attorney--his private attorney--Rudy Giuliani was working to find out 
more about the Biden investigation and Burisma.
  Ambassador Sondland told multiple people about his theory. When he 
actually called President Trump and asked him directly about it, the 
President responded that there wasn't any quid pro quo. He just said he 
wanted the President of Ukraine to do what he ran on and to do the 
right thing.
  Interestingly enough, that is the same thing that President Zelensky 
said and his Defense Minister said and his chief of staff said. The aid 
was held because there was legitimate concern about the transition of a 
brand-new President in Ukraine and his administration in the early days 
of his Presidency. An unknown on a world stage was elected, President 
Zelensky, on April 21. His swearing-in date was May 21. During his 
swearing-in, he also abolished Parliament and called for snap 
elections. No one knew what he was going to do or what was going to 
  Those elections happened July 21 in Ukraine, where an overwhelming 
number of President Zelensky's party won in Parliament. There was an 
amazing transition in a relatively short period of time in Ukraine and 
there were a lot of questions.
  I will tell you, I was in Ukraine in late May of 2019, and our State 
Department officials there certainly had questions on the ground about 
the rapid transition that was happening in Ukraine. It was entirely 
reasonable for there to be able to be a pause in that time period. 
Those concerns were resolved in August and early September when the new 
Parliament started passing anti-corruption laws, and Vice President 
Pence sat down face-to-face with President Zelensky on September 1 in 
Poland to discuss the progress and corruption and their progress on 
getting other nations to help supply more aid to Ukraine.
  As for the meeting with the President being withheld, as I just 
mentioned, the Vice President of the United States met with President

[[Page S848]]

Zelensky on September 1. That meeting was originally scheduled to be 
with the President of the United States and all the planning had gone 
into it, and there was documentation for that. There was a meeting 
happening between President Zelensky, which was actually the place and 
date that he asked for to meet with President Trump, except in the 
final moments of that and the final days leading up to it, Hurricane 
Dorian approached the United States and that meeting had to be called 
off by the President while he stayed here, so the Vice President went 
in his stead.
  There was no quid pro quo in a meeting. The meeting that was 
requested actually occurred. It was interesting to note, as well, when 
I researched the record about the aid dates for Ukraine in the past 3 
years, I found out that, in 2019, the aid arrived in September. It is 
interesting, from 2016 to 2018, the vast majority of military aid for 
each of those years--2016, 2017, and 2018--also went to Ukraine in 
  Well, it is easy to create an intricate story about the hold of 
foreign aid. It is also clear that President Trump has held foreign aid 
from multiple countries over the last 2 years, including Afghanistan, 
Pakistan, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Lebanon, and others. There 
is no question that a President can withhold aid for a short period of 
time, but it has to be released by September 30, which it was to 
Ukraine on time.
  The hold did occur. There are messages back and forth about being 
able to hold, but it is entirely reasonable to have the hold, and it 
was such a short period of time--the aid arrived at the same time as it 
usually did each of the past 3 years--that the Minister of Defense for 
Ukraine actually stated that the hold was so short, they didn't even 
know it.
  What is interesting about this is this is stretched from not just an 
``abuse of power,'' but also ``obstruction of Congress.'' That is the 
second Article of Impeachment. The House argument was that the 
President didn't turn over every document and allow every witness 
without submitting everything to Congress immediately. They argued 
that, if the President challenged any subpoena, he was stalling, he was 
acting guilty, and so it was grounds for impeachment.
  Remember how fast this all happened. The investigation started 
September 24. The official start of impeachment started October 31 and 
ended on December 18, with a partisan vote in the House for 
impeachment. If President Trump obstructed Congress because he didn't 
turn over documents that didn't even have a legal subpoena within 2 
months, then I would say President Obama was not impeached, but maybe 
he should have been, though I don't think he should have been.
  But you could argue in that same way because President Obama did not 
honor three subpoenas in 3 years on the Fast and Furious investigation 
when that happened. For 3 years, he stalled out, but there was no 
consideration for impeaching President Obama because he shouldn't have 
been impeached. He was working through the court system as things 
  This was a serious issue that became even more serious when the House 
managers moved, not just to say that this is obstruction of Congress if 
the President doesn't immediately submit, but they took this to a 
different level by saying the President should not have access to the 
courts at all, literally stating: Does the Constitution give the 
legislative branch the power to block the executive branch from the 
judicial branch?
  House managers said, yes, they can rapidly move through a trial, then 
bring the case to the Senate and have it only partially investigated 
and then try to use the power of the Senate to block the executive 
branch from ever going to court to resolve any issue. That has not been 
done in the past, nor should it be. The President, like every other 
citizen of the United States, should have access to the courts, and it 
is not grounds for contempt of Congress to block the President from 
ever trying to go to court to resolve issues that need to be resolved. 
Every other President has had that right. This one should have had that 
right as well.
  This tale that President Trump thinks he is a King and doesn't want 
to follow the law begs reality. Let me remind everyone of the Mueller 
investigation, where 2,800 subpoenas were done in over 2\1/2\ years, 
with 500 witnesses, including many of the President's inner circle. All 
of those were provided. None of those were blocked by the 

  After 2\1/2\ years, the final conclusion was there was no conspiracy 
between the President's campaign and the Russians. The President did 
honor those subpoenas. The President has been very clear in multiple 
court cases that he did not like it and he did not agree with it. He 
has been outspoken on those, but he has honored each court decision. It 
would be a terrible precedent for the Senate to remove a President from 
office because he didn't agree that Congress couldn't take away his 
rights in court like every other American.
  The difficulty in this process, as with every impeachment process, is 
separating facts and the politics of it. There are facts in this case 
that we took a lot of time to go through. Each of us in this body sat 
for hour upon hour upon hour, for 2\1/2\ weeks, listening to testimony 
and going through the record. We all spent lots of time being able to 
read, on our own, the facts and details. That was entirely reasonable 
to be able to do.
  But we have to examine, at the end of the day, what is a fact-based 
issue that has been answered--and each of the key facts raised by the 
House all have answers--and what is a politics issue--to say in an 
election year, what is being presented by the House that says: What can 
we do to slow down this process and to try to give the President a bad 
name during the middle of an election time period? To separate out 
those two is not a simple process.
  But we begin with the most basic element. Do the facts line up with 
the accusations made by the House? They do not. Are there plenty of 
accusations? Yes, there are. My fear is that, in the days ahead, there 
will be more and more accusations as we go. There have been for the 
last 3 years.
  But at this moment and the facts at this time, in the partisan rancor 
from the House and into the Senate, I am going to choose to acquit the 
President of the United States. This certainly does not rise to the 
level of removal from office and forbidding him to run for any other 
office in the future. It certainly doesn't rise to that level.
  In the days ahead, as more facts come out, all of history will be 
able to see how this occurred and the details of what happens next. I 
look forward, actually, for that to continue to be able to come out so 
all can be known.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I would like to share my remarks, not only 
with my colleagues today, but more so with those who will come after 
us. I want to touch on four issues: the trial evidence; the President's 
actions as outlined in articles I and II of the Articles of 
Impeachment; and finally, and most importantly in my mind, the 
implications of our decision this week on the future of our government 
and our country.
  First, the trial--weeks ago, I joined my colleagues in swearing an 
oath to ``do impartial justice.'' Since that time, I have done 
everything possible to fulfill that responsibility. I paid full 
attention, taken three legal pads' worth of notes, reviewed press 
accounts, and had conversations with my colleagues and citizens in my 
home State of Maine.
  The one question I got most frequently back home was how we could 
proceed without calling relevant witnesses and securing the documents 
that would confirm or deny the charges against the President, which are 
at the heart of this matter.
  But for the first time in American history, we failed to do so. We 
robbed ourselves and the American people of a full record of this 
President's misuse of his office. This failure stains this institution, 
undermines tomorrow's verdict, and creates a precedent that will haunt 
those who come after us and, indeed, will haunt the country. But now, 
we are here, left to make this decision without the facts, concealed by 
the White House and left concealed by the votes of this body last 
  This was not a trial in any real sense. It was, instead, an argument 
based upon a partial, but still damning,

[[Page S849]]

record. How much better it could have been had we had access to all the 
facts, facts which will eventually come out, but too late to inform our 
  As to the articles themselves, I should begin by saying I have always 
been a conservative on the subject of impeachment. For the better part 
of the last 3 years, I have argued both publicly and privately against 
the idea. Impeachment should not be a tool to remove a President on the 
basis of policy disagreements. The President's lawyers are right when 
they argue that this would change our system of government and 
dangerously weaken any President.
  But this reluctance must give way if it requires my turning a blind 
eye to what happened last summer. The events of last summer were no 
policy disagreement. They were a deliberate series of acts whereby the 
President sought to use the power of his office in his own personal and 
political interests, specifically by pressuring a government of a 
strategic partner--a partner, by the way, significantly dependent upon 
our moral and financial support--pressuring that government to take 
action against one of the President's political rivals and, thereby, 
undermine the integrity of the coming American election.
  This last point is important. In normal circumstances, the argument 
of the President's defenders that impeachment is not necessary because 
the election is less than a year away would be persuasive. I could 
understand that. But the President, in this matter, was attempting to 
undermine that very election, and he gives every indication that he 
will continue to do so.
  He has expressed no understanding that he did anything wrong, let 
alone anything reassembling remorse. Impeachment is not a punishment; 
it is a prevention. The only way, unfortunately, to keep an unrepentant 
President from repeating his wrongful actions is removal. This 
President has made it plain that he will listen to nothing else.
  Article I charges a clear abuse of power, inviting foreign 
interference in the upcoming election. The President tasked his 
personal attorney to work with a foreign head of state to induce an 
investigation--or just the mere announcement of an investigation--that 
could harm one of the President's top political rivals.
  And to compel the Ukrainians to do so, he unilaterally withheld 
nearly $400 million appropriated by Congress to help them fend off 
Russia's naked and relentless aggression. The President's backers claim 
that this was done in an effort to root out corruption. So why not use 
official channels? Why did he focus on no examples of corruption 
generally other than ones directly affecting his political fortunes? 
And why did he not make public the withholding of funds, as the 
executive branch typically does, when seeking to leverage Federal 
moneys for policy goals?
  No matter how many times the President claims his phone call with 
President Zelensky was perfect, it simply wasn't. He clearly solicited 
foreign interference in our elections. He disregarded a congressionally 
passed law. He impaired the security of a key American partner. He 
undermined our own national security. And, if he was simply pursuing 
our national interests rather than his own, why was his personal 
attorney Rudy Giuliani put in charge? Why was Rudy Giuliani mentioned 
in that phone call?
  Put bluntly, no matter the defense, and as a majority of the Members 
of this body apparently now recognize, President Trump placed his own 
political interests above the national interests he is sworn to 
protect. And, as I mentioned, he has shown no sign that he will stop 
doing so when the next occasion arises, as it surely will.
  The implications of acquitting the President on article I are 
serious. This President will likely do it again, and future Presidents 
will be unbound from any restraints on the use of the world's most 
powerful political office for their own personal political gain.
  We are moving dangerously close to an elected Monarch--the very thing 
the Framers feared most.
  Article II, to me, is even more serious in its long-term 
implications. Article I concerns an incident--an egregious misuse of 
power, to be sure, but a specific set of actions in time. A scheme is 
probably the most appropriate description, which took place over the 
course of the past year.
  Article II, however, which concerns the President's wholesale 
obstruction of the impeachment process itself, goes to the heart of 
Congress's constitutionally derived power to investigate wrongdoing by 
this or any future President.
  I do not arrive at this conclusion lightly. I take seriously the 
White House counsel's argument that there is a legitimate separation of 
powers issue here, that executive privilege is real--although I have to 
note it was never actually asserted in this case, but that executive 
privilege is real--and that there must be limits on Congress's ability 
to intrude upon the executive function.
  But in this case, despite counsel's questions about which authorizing 
resolution passed when or whether the House should have more vigorously 
pursued judicial remedies, the record is clear and is summarized in the 
White House letter to the House in early October--that the President 
and his administration ``cannot participate'' in the impeachment 
process--cannot participate.
  To me, it is this ongoing blanket refusal to cooperate in any way--no 
witnesses, no documents, no evidence of any kind--that undermines the 
assertion that a categorical refusal, with overt witness intimidation 
thrown in, was based upon any legitimate, narrowly tailored legal or 
constitutional privilege.
  No prior President has ever taken such a position, and the argument 
that this blanket obstruction should be tested in court is severely 
undercut by the administration's recent argument that the courts have 
no jurisdiction over such disputes and that the remedy for stonewalling 
Congress is--you guessed it--impeachment. They argued that in the 
Federal court in Washington this week.
  Interestingly, the first assertion of executive privilege was by 
George Washington, when the House sought background documents on the 
Jay Treaty. Washington rested his refusal to produce those documents on 
the idea that the House had no jurisdiction over matters of foreign 
policy, but, interestingly, Washington, in his message to Congress, did 
specify one instance where the House would have a legitimate claim on 
the documents' release. What was the instance? You guessed it--
  If allowed to stand, this position that the President--any 
President--can use his or her position to totally obstruct the 
production of evidence of their own wrongdoing eviscerates the 
impeachment power entirely, and it compromises the ongoing authority of 
Congress to provide any meaningful oversight of the executive 
  For these and other reasons, I will vote guilty on both Articles of 
  A final point, the Congress has been committing slow-motion 
institutional suicide for the past 70 years, abdicating 
its constitutional authorities and responsibilities one by one: the war 
power, effectively in the hands of the President since 1942; authority 
over trade with other countries, superceded by unilateral 
Presidentially imposed tariffs on friends and foes alike; and even the 
power of the purse, which a supine Congress ceded to the President last 
year, enabling him to rewrite our duly passed appropriations bill to 
substitute his priorities for ours. And now this.

  The structure of our Constitution is based upon the bedrock principle 
that the concentration of power is dangerous, that power divided and 
shared is the best long-term assurance of liberty. To the extent we 
compromise that principle, give up powers the Framers bestowed upon us, 
and acquiesce to the growth of an imperial Presidency, we are failing. 
We are failing our oaths, we are failing our most fundamental 
responsibility, we are failing the American people.
  History may record this week as a turning point in the American 
experiment--the day that we stepped away from the Framers' vision, 
enabled a new and unbounded Presidency, and made ourselves observers 
rather than full participants in the shaping of our country's future.
  I sincerely hope I am wrong in all of this, but I deeply fear that I 
am right.
  I yield the floor.

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  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. McSally). The majority leader is