February 03, 2020
President Trump leveraged the power of his office to ask a foreign country to interfere in our elections for his own political advantage
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement:
“The Senate has failed in its constitutional responsibility to try the president of the United States fairly, based on the impeachment charges the House of Representatives sent to us. The Constitution is very clear that the House of Representatives – not the President – gets to decide how and when to impeach the president. The Constitution is clear that the Senate – not the House – holds a trial. Real trials have witnesses and evidence. All previous impeachment trials have had witnesses and evidence. The Senate should have been able to receive further evidence before concluding its trial in this case, whether the additional evidence was incriminating or exculpatory. Therefore, the Senate has failed to conduct a constitutionally proper trial.
“By willfully ignoring evidence and witnesses, Senate Republicans have now established a dangerous precedent that will be hard to reverse. President Trump is not a king or monarch. The Founding Fathers wisely created a system of separation of powers and checks and balances, so as not to concentrate power in only one official or department of government. On the floor of the Senate, one of the lawyers for the President of the United States argued that re-electing the president is in the public interest, so anything the president might do to further that re-election – legally or through corrupt means – would be in the public interest. This is how the rule of law is degraded in autocratic countries.
“As the president and commander-in-chief, President Trump used his power to compromise and corrupt America’s values, which have been our strength since the nation’s founding. By asking a foreign nation to investigate a political rival, President Trump has undermined the rule of law, weakened our efforts to fight corruption both at home and abroad, damaged our national security, and helped our adversary, Russia.
“If any of my colleagues think that this impeachment ‘trial’ will have chastised Donald Trump enough that he will not commit such transgressions again, they have not been watching or listening to Donald Trump for the last three years he has been in office. He has never shown any remorse for his wrongful actions – ever. His only instinct is to smear accusers and double down with no regard for the consequences to our national security, our constitutional order, or simple decency. His only concern is his own narrow personal interest. Indeed, just one day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report on Russian interference, President Trump was emboldened to make the July 25 call to President Zelensky and request a political favor. Notably, the Mueller report did not exonerate President Trump, and the report noted the numerous instances in which the president may have obstructed justice, but left further pursuit of the matter to Congress, or to prosecutors once the president leaves office.
“In weighing the facts and evidence in this case, I have listened carefully to all of the trial proceedings and I have taken extensive notes, including during the managers’ presentations and during the Senators’ questioning period. I asked the managers several questions. Despite the president’s unprecedented obstruction with respect to making witnesses and evidence available, the House managers made their case with a compelling timeline. President Trump’s conduct clearly crossed the line and constituted ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ when he put his own personal interests over the country’s interests, using the power of his office for his own personal benefit. President Trump violated his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and failed in his duties to faithfully execute our nation’s laws.
“In the United States of America, no one should be above the law. We must act to protect the Constitution and our democratic system of government. It is with a heavy heart but complete conviction that I support both articles of impeachment and the removal of the president from office, as well as his disqualification from ever holding and enjoying any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”
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