Statement by Sen. Lisa Murkowski on vote to convict Trump

Sen. Lisa Murkowsi (R-AK) released the following statement explaining her vote to convict Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection:

“On January 13, when the U.S. House of Representatives impeached former President Donald J. Trump for a second time, I committed to upholding my oath as a U.S. Senator—to listen to each side impartially, review all the facts, and then decide how I would vote. I have done that and after listening to the trial this past week, I have reached the conclusion that President Trump’s actions were an impeachable offense and his course of conduct amounts to incitement of insurrection as set out in the Article of Impeachment.

“The facts make clear that the violence and desecration of the Capitol that we saw on January 6 was not a spontaneous uprising. President Trump had set the stage months before the 2020 election by stating repeatedly that the election was rigged, casting doubt into the minds of the American people about the fairness of the election. After the election, when he lost by 7 million votes, he repeatedly claimed that the election was stolen and subjected to widespread fraud. At the same time, election challenges were filed in dozens of courts. Sixty-one different courts – including many judges nominated by President Trump himself – ruled against him.

“President Trump did everything in his power to stay in power. When the court challenges failed, he turned up the pressure on state officials and his own Department of Justice. And when these efforts failed, he turned to his supporters. He urged his supporters to come to Washington, D.C. on January 6 to ‘Stop the Steal’ of an election that had not been stolen. The speech he gave on that day was intended to stoke passions in a crowd that the President had been rallying for months. They were prepared to march on the Capitol and he gave them explicit instructions to do so.

“When President Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, breached both chambers of Congress, and interrupted the certification of Electoral College votes, he took no action for hours. The evidence presented at the trial was clear: President Trump was watching events unfold live, just as the entire country was. Even after the violence had started, as protestors chanted ‘Hang Mike Pence’ inside the Capitol, President Trump, aware of what was happening, tweeted that the Vice President had failed the country. Vice President Pence was attempting to fulfill his oath and his constitutional duty with the certification of Electoral College votes. 

“After the storm had calmed, the President endorsed the actions of the mob by tweeting, ‘These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!’ This message, in defense of only himself, came nearly four hours after the attack on the Capitol began. President Trump allowing the violence to go on for hours without any clear directive or demand for peace – his intentional silence – cost Americans their lives. President Trump was not concerned about the Vice President; he was not concerned about members of Congress; he was not concerned about the Capitol Police. He was concerned about his election and retaining power. While I supported subpoenaing witnesses to help elucidate for the American people President Trump’s state of mind during the riot, both his actions and lack thereof establish that.

“If months of lies, organizing a rally of supporters in an effort to thwart the work of Congress, encouraging a crowd to march on the Capitol, and then taking no meaningful action to stop the violence once it began is not worthy of impeachment, conviction, and disqualification from holding office in the United States, I cannot imagine what is. By inciting the insurrection and violent events that culminated on January 6, President Trump’s actions and words were not protected free speech. I honor our constitutional rights and consider the freedom of speech as one of the most paramount freedoms, but that right does not extend to the President of the United States inciting violence.

“Before someone assumes the office of the presidency, they are required to swear to faithfully execute the office of the President and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. President Trump – the nation’s elected leader, the Commander in Chief of our armed forces – swore an oath to defend America and all that we hold sacred. He failed to uphold that oath.

“One positive outcome of the horrible events on January 6, was that hours after the Capitol was secured, on January 7, at 4:00 a.m., Congress fulfilled our responsibility to the U.S. Constitution and certified the Electoral College results. We were able to do that because of brave men and women who fulfilled their oath to protect and defend Congress. I regret that Donald Trump was not one of them.”

Statement by Sen. Mitt Romney on vote to convict Trump

On Saturday, February 13, as he joined 56 other members of the United States Senate in voting to convict Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) issued this statement:

“After careful consideration of the respective counsels’ arguments, I have concluded that President Trump is guilty of the charge made by the House of Representatives. President Trump attempted to corrupt the election by pressuring the Secretary of State of Georgia to falsify the election results in his state. President Trump incited the insurrection against Congress by using the power of his office to summon his supporters to Washington on January 6th and urging them to march on the Capitol during the counting of electoral votes. He did this despite the obvious and well known threats of violence that day. President Trump also violated his oath of office by failing to protect the Capitol, the Vice President, and others in the Capitol. Each and every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction.”

57 Senators vote to convict Trump of inciting insurrection

57 United States Senators have voted to convict Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection. 43 Senators have voted to acquit the former President. Because 2/3 of those present are required to convict, former President Trump is acquitted.

While Trump was acquitted, 7 Republicans joined the vote to convict, making this the most bipartisan Senate vote to convict in the trial of an impeached US President.

He has already left office, so he could not have been removed. The second penalty for conviction, however—a lifelong bar against ever holding office again—could still be imposed, if Congress moves to censure him for his role in supporting the insurrection, under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump were: Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).

The Senate Impeachment Trial has now formally adjourned, and is turning to regular business.

Trump’s own lawyers argued he should be arrested and face indictment for crimes related to his radicalization of supporters and then for inciting them to insurrection. They also argued they don’t believe he is guilty, but they provided no exculpatory evidence, though invited to do so.

In a stunning speech after the vote, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) laid out an impassioned, detailed case for Trump’s moral and practical responsibility for the terrorist insurrection of January 6. He argued that in his view, the Senate could have convicted Trump on the merits, but that he believed it was not appropriate to create a precedent whereby a former President can be convicted after leaving office.

Sen. Richard Burr, one of the Republicans who did vote to convict, rejected McConnell’s process argument saying:

The Senate is an institution based on precedent, and given that the majority of the Senate voted to proceed with this trial, the question of constitutionality is now established precedent.

McConnell has been widely criticized for not noting his own role in the scheduling of the trial, as he and he alone adjourned the Senate until January 19, making a trial during Trump’s term impossible.

McConnell also argued that Trump remains liable in criminal and civil court, at the state and federal level, “for everything he did while in office,” adding: “He didn’t get away with anything, yet.”

Hundreds of criminal cases are already underway, with many of the accused themselves citing Trump as their direct inspiration for the attack or claiming that he invited them and coordinated the action. Trump himself is under criminal investigation in Fulton County, Georgia, where he took various steps in an effort to extort compliance from local officials with his plot to overturn a free and fair election.

Sen. Susan Collins said on the Senate floor:

President Trump abused his power, violated his oath to uphold the Constitution and tried almost every means in his power to prevent the peaceful transfer of authority to the newly elected President… My vote in this Trial stems from my own oath and duty to defend the Constitution of the United States. The abuse of power and betrayal of his oath by Pres. Trump meet the Constitutional standard of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Sen. Ben Sasse was clear in his statement that Trump did exactly what was alleged:

The president repeated these lies when summoning his crowd — parts of which were widely known to be violent — to Capitol Hill to intimidate Vice President Pence and Congress into not fulfilling our constitutional duties. Those lies had consequences, endangering the life of the vice president and bringing us dangerously close to a bloody constitutional crisis. Each of these actions are violations of a president’s oath of office. 

House Impeachment Manager Raskin speaks for all Americans

Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, delivered the opening argument in the 2nd Senate trial of Donald Trump. His statement is now being widely praised as one of the great addresses in American history.

Clear Evidence of Incitement to Insurrection

The Second Impeachment of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, began with a devastating video montage showing the timeline of events on January 6, as a mob of insurrectionists radicalized and directed by Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol.

Reports from the chamber say some members of the United States Senate looked away at times during the violent video, which included a violent gang of attackers calling for the execution of then Vice President Mike Pence and the gunshot that killed one of the attackers, as she attempted to breach the last barrier protecting lawmakers in the process of evacuation.

The video exhibit clearly shows Trump telling people who later participated in the attack that the country would be lost if they did not go to the Capitol and “fight like Hell”.

Earlier today, in a written reply to a brief by Trump’s legal team, the House Impeachment Managers wrote: “The First Amendment protects our democratic system — but it does not protect a President who incites his supporters to imperil that system through violence.” The House Managers also said it is “inconceivable that the Framers designed impeachment to be virtually useless in a President’s final weeks or days, when opportunities to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power are most present.”

Follow the proceedings live on C-SPAN.

My fellow Republicans, convicting Trump is necessary to save America

By Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), in The Washington Post

It’s a matter of accountability. If the GOP doesn’t take a stand, the chaos of the past few months, and the past four years, could quickly return. The future of our party and our country depends on confronting what happened — so it doesn’t happen again…

I firmly believe the majority of Americans — Republican, Democrat, independent, you name it — reject the madness of the past four years. But we’ll never move forward by ignoring what happened or refusing to hold accountable those responsible. That will embolden the few who led us here and dishearten the many who know America is better than this. It will make it more likely that we see more anger, violence and chaos in the years ahead.

The better path is to learn the lessons of the recent past. Convicting Donald Trump is necessary to save America from going further down a sad, dangerous road.

Read the full article here.

Majority of Americans want Trump criminally charged

A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News finds a majority of Americans want Donald Trump to face criminal charges for instigating the attack on the US Capitol. Some important additional details from the poll:

  • 9 in 10 Americans oppose the “storming of the Capitol” with 80% “strongly” opposing it.
  • 20% of Republicans place “a great deal” or “a good amount” of blame on Trump for the insurrection.
  • Fully 42% of Republicans view him as at least partly to blame.
  • 2/3 of all Americans believe Trump behaved irresponsibly by lying about the election results.

The 42% of Republicans who place some blame on Trump should also be read in context: While there is no evidence of election fraud, and most Americans recognize Trump has spread dangerous lies, more than half of Republicans still believe those lies. 66% of Republicans, according to this poll, say they believe there is significant evidence of widespread fraud.

Election officials in all states, every state and federal court asked to examine the question, and Trump’s own Attorney General all confirm there is no evidence of widespread fraud. Cyber security officials also said the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history”.

Parsing the numbers a bit, this poll suggest that at least 1/5 Republicans who believe there is election fraud also blame Trump, at least partly, for the attack on the Capitol. Given that more than 60 lawsuits have failed for lacking evidence of fraud, and all state-level audits and recounts have found the results were accurate, the number of Republicans who hold Trump accountable is likely understated in these results.

The impeachment trial in the Senate will take place with more than half the country viewing Trump as criminally liable, and nearly half of Republicans viewing Trump as at least partly responsible.

House Impeaches Trump for Incitement of Insurrection

A bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives has voted to impeach Donald Trump for Incitement of Insurrection, by a margin of 232 to 197. 10 Republicans joined all of the Democrats in voting to impeach Trump for his role in the violent attack on the Capitol one week ago.

House Resolution 24, Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors, specifies:

incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.

The Article of Impeachment also states:

President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

The gravity of these charges explains why this was the most bipartisan vote to impeach a President in US history. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy did not vote to impeach, but he did say earlier in the day that “the President bears responsibility” for the insurrectionists’ attack on the Capitol.

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Letter to the GOP on Impeaching Trump for Insurrection

To all Republicans in the United States Senate and House of Representatives:

Donald Trump will be impeached for inciting insurrection, because he incited insurrection. The 14th Amendment prohibits you from using your office to provide him aid or comfort.

Since many in the Republican Party seem to think it would be politically risky to break from Trump—even after he sent armed paramilitaries to attempt a coup and again today threatened to attack our country—all who would stand by him need to rethink their notions of future electability.

  • You cannot campaign as being for “law and order” if you don’t stand firm against Trump’s incitement of armed insurrection against the Constitution.
  • You cannot call yourself a patriot if you don’t stand firm against the seditious conspiracy and ALL of its adherents.
  • You will not be able to claim the mantle of Lincoln if, when your nation was attacked by Nazis and traitors, you stood by and asked that the rest of the country try to understand them.
  • To use the language of Title 18, Section 2383, of the US Code, Trump incited and “set on foot” a gang of paramilitary attackers to storm the Capitol.
  • The attackers killed a police officer who died bravely defending you. Trump took the life of Officer Sicknick and sent terrorists to kill the Vice President.
  • No one will ever take you seriously as pro-life, or even minimally loyal to anything, if you use your vote to give aid to Trump.

While the Capitol endured its first armed attack since the War of 1812, and a terrorist coup plot is still underway (in all 50 states, according to the FBI), the nation is also weathering an unprecedented cyber attack from foreign adversaries. And, it must be recognized, the bot army used by Trump to radicalize millions is a form of cyber war.

It may feel daunting, if you were a pro-Trump Republican in 2020, to challenge the menacing force of that bot army; you may even be facing threats from pro-Trump extremists, but when that bot army is no longer able to aid Trump in his attack on the republic, all anyone will see is complicity.

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Time Capsule: 196 Hours to Inauguration

A note on our moment, for future reference:

At this writing, on a Tuesday morning, there are 196 hours till the Inauguration of Joe Biden and the end of the presidency of Donald Trump. That’s 8 days and 4 hours. While some allies of Trump resist calls for his removal, the entire nation is seriously discussing whether he should resign, be removed as unfit for office under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, or face his second impeachment, this time for Incitement of Insurrection.

The reason the debate is serious is that no one, not even his own staff, can be sure he is not a clear and present danger to the republic. He has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. An entire pro-Trump social media platform has been shut down by service providers, for helping to incite insurrection, yet Trump still tries to fan the flames of sedition with conspiracy theories.

Today, he will visit the border region of Texas, known to be rife with paramilitary extremist groups, to celebrate his deliberate torture of families seeking asylum from violence and deprivation. He is doing this, while the FBI reports paramilitary extremists are planning “armed protests” in all 50 states and will again seek to target the Capitol, in a siege planned for January 16-20.

We have, in fact, a rogue president, who appears unable or unwilling to honor his oath of office. There is, at this moment, real, widespread, even global, concern that the sitting President of the United States could engage in actual atrocities if allowed to remain in charge of the US government.

A minority of members of Congress are, today, deciding whether they will cast a vote to provide him with aid and comfort after he incited and set on foot a seditious mob, with instructions to attack the Capitol. It should be noted: Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibits them from providing him with that aid and comfort.

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