Dispatch February 4, 2020

Trump’s Bipartisan Condemnation

As President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union tonight, he will do so as only the third U.S. president in history to be impeached. Not only that, the condemnation of his actions is broad and bipartisan. A bipartisan majority in the Senate agrees: Trump inappropriately extorted Ukraine for his personal benefit in the 2020 election.

The following Republican senators have explicitly admitted that the charges against Trump are true and that he was wrong to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into his political opponents:

  • Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence’ … It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation.”
  • Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Richard Burr (R-NC) both said that they agreed with Alexander’s statement.
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “The president’s behavior was shameful and wrong. His personal interests do not take precedence over those of this great nation.”
  • Rob Portman (R-OH): “I believe that some of the president’s actions in this case—including asking a foreign country to investigate a potential political opponent and the delay of aid to Ukraine—were wrong and inappropriate.”
  • Susan Collins (R-ME): “While there are gaps in the record, some key facts are not disputed. It is clear from the summary of the July 25, 2019, phone call between President Trump and Ukranian President Zelensky that the investigation into the Bidens’ activities requested by President Trump was improper and demonstrated very poor judgment.”

Each of these senators admits that Trump’s actions—pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into his political opponents in exchange for military aid and a White House meeting—was wrong. In addition, though Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has not yet explicitly indicated his views on Trump’s actions, he voted to hear from additional witnesses such as former national security adviser John Bolton, whose testimony would almost certainly incriminate Trump further.

If they vote to acquit him on Wednesday, they are signing off not only on Trump’s most recent attack on American democracy but on his future attacks as well.