KEY VOTE: “Not Guilty” on Both Articles of Impeachment Against President Trump

KEY VOTE: Senate · Jan 30, 2020

Heritage Action opposes the removal of President Trump from office and will include votes regarding acquittal as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

The Senate will soon vote on removing President Donald Trump from office based on two articles of impeachment from the House, which allege abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. During the impeachment trial, the House’s impeachment managers' failed to provide sufficient evidence that President Trump abused the power of his office or that he unconstitutionally obstructed Congress during the impeachment process. Because of their failure, Senators should vote to acquit the President.

House managers allege President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government into the upcoming presidential election by withholding military aid in an effort to pressure Ukraine to open up an investigation into the Biden family’s association with the Ukrainian company Burisma. This accusation of a “quid pro quo” has multiple factual problems, including:

  1. The Trump administration released military aid to Ukraine without the announcement of an investigation into Hunter Biden.
  2. Ukrainian President Zelensky confirmed that he was not pushed or pressured to open an investigation in exchange for military aid.
  3. The Ukrainian government did not even know the aid was temporarily paused during the time of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky.
  4. While President Trump mentioned Hunter Biden on the July 25 phone call, according to the transcript, there was no quid pro quo. In fact, the central topic of the call deals with Ukrainian corruption and burden sharing - a longstanding and consistent concern President Trump publicly expressed.

Further complicating the House managers' arguments for the impeachment articles are their secondhand evidence, speculative testimony, and partisan motives. House Democrats moved dramatically away from the precedents set by previous impeachment proceedings. They authorized six different committees to investigate whether grounds for impeachment existed, but only called for public hearings in two. They failed to hold a full House vote before launching the impeachment process, conducted secret hearings in the basement of the Capitol, limited the minority’s subpoena power, and did not allow the President’s team to cross-examine witnesses. Even though they claimed an impeachment “must be bipartisan,” the House passed the articles after both Democrats and Republicans voted against the bills.

In order to rush their articles through, House Democrats also refused to enforce their own subpoena power for witnesses in the courts, contrary to the precedent set during the impeachment proceedings of Presidents Nixon and Clinton, and subsequently impeached President Trump for exercising his constitutional executive privilege rights. Speaker Pelosi then withheld the articles from the Senate for a month after claiming the need to remove President Trump from office was too “urgent” to litigate subpoenas.

Impeachment is a radical step that overturns the vote of the American people. It is intended to be a safeguard against rank corruption and unlawful behavior, such as treason and bribery, and must be approached cautiously and without bias. It should be a fair process with reliable and conclusive evidence. These articles of impeachment fall far short of this standard. They are instead based off of a politically motivated process and speculative testimony with no accusation of criminal action. Instead of searching for the truth, most Democrats have been searching for a way to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

Democrats have long called for the President’s impeachment. In fact, they have introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump on at least five other occasions (H. Res. 438, H. Res. 621, H. Res. 705, H. Res. 13, H. Res. 498), and introduced numerous other resolutions calling for impeachment inquiries.

Now, after nearly three years, Democrats have finally arrived at their original goal of impeachment by defining political disagreement as an impeachable offense. Weakening the standards for impeachment, as Democrats are set on doing, not only disenfranchises the millions of Americans who voted for the President, but also creates a dangerous precedent for future impeachment proceedings.

As then-Democratic Rep. Chuck Schumer stated in 1998: “I expect history will show that we’ve lowered the bar on impeachment so much we have broken the seal on this extremely 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.”

The impeachment hearings and subsequent trial have made the left’s real motivation for impeachment clear: hatred for President Trump and his policies. Democrats have stood up for Washington bureaucrats making foreign policy decisions and for foreign aid untethered from conditions set by the United States. While this is perplexing given Americans’ views, particularly on foreign aid, the Democrats are entitled to make their case. But a policy disagreement is not grounds for impeachment.

These proceedings have exposed the extreme measures the left is willing to employ to defeat conservative policies. No amount of false constitutional concerns will obscure the dangerous partisanship of these articles of impeachment. Congress cannot allow this nakedly political impeachment process to set the precedent for future impeachments.

Heritage Action opposes the removal of President Trump from office and will include votes regarding acquittal as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.