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In Their Own Words: In Trump Impeachment, Republican Senators Should Be Consistent About Impartiality, Fact Finding

Public Citizen Report Outlines Statements From Senators

The Maybe Bunch

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republican U.S. senators who in the past called for rigorous fact-finding and impartiality should be consistent and do the same with regard to President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Public Citizen said today, releasing a compilation of seven senators’ statements.

Public Citizen researched what the seven GOP lawmakers have said about impeachment and good governance. The senators are a subset of GOP lawmakers who have stressed the importance of rendering impartial justice in impeachment proceedings. All lawmakers should follow the rule of law, support the inclusion of evidence and push for a fair trial, Public Citizen maintains.

“These seven senators have made numerous statements affirming their commitment to rendering impartial justice during impeachment proceedings,” said Mike Tanglis, a research director at Public Citizen and author of the report. “They should put country over party and stay true to their word.”

  • Susan Collins (R-Maine) called for new evidence, witnesses and impartiality during the Clinton impeachment trial. She said that the Senate must transform “from a body of partisan politicians into an impartial jury sworn to seek the truth.” While voting against articles of impeachment against Clinton, Collins said that impeachment was most appropriate to remedy an action that “poses a threat to our governmental institutions” or “injures the fabric of democracy.”
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has touted her “independence” and has been critical of her colleagues’ lack of impartiality on impeachment. Murkowski said she was “disturbed” by the collusion with the White House by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
  • Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has indicated he thinks Trump’s conduct regarding Ukraine was highly inappropriate. “By all appearances, the president’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling,” Romney said last year. Immediately upon entering the Senate, Romney promised to oppose Trump if his behavior was “destructive to democratic institutions.”
  • Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said “circumstantial evidence was enough” in the Clinton impeachment case. “We are talking about a man who can send our children into war, and I feel like he needs to be held to the highest possible standard,” Enzi told a Wyoming newspaper in 1999.
  • Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) touted “plain, old Kansas common sense” when he voted to convict Clinton. “We in Kansas know that you don’t call witnesses in the middle of the night unless you want to sway them,” he said in 1999. “We in Kansas know that you don’t urge hiding legal evidence under the bed unless you want to affect the outcome of a legal proceeding.”
  • Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has stated that presidents should be held to the highest standard and urged Clinton to resign before his impeachment trial. A guide on public service that Alexander authored in 1998 calls on government officials to “[t]ell the truth” and advises, “If it looks suspicious, assume it is.”
  • Richard Burr (R-N.C.) voted to convict Clinton “out of conscience” and stated that no one is above the law. “If this vote is what people want to judge me on in the next election, I’m willing to accept that, but I’m not willing to vote differently than what my conscience tells me is the right way,” he said in 1998.

“These seven Republican senators have professed that they are guided by lofty ideals that place integrity and the pursuit of the truth above partisanship,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at Public Citizen. “We will soon learn if they meant what they said.”

Read the full report here.