WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) delivered remarks on the Senate floor announcing his intent to acquit President Trump of both articles of impeachment in the Senate trial.
“I will vote for acquittal,” said Sen. Roberts. “The prosecution did not prove President Trump committed any impeachable offense. I hope after this matter is concluded on Wednesday, the entire Congress can get back to the important work of the people.”
For video of Senator Roberts’ speech, click here.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Tomorrow, the Senate will reconvene as a court to vote on both articles of impeachment against President Trump.
After performing my due diligence in considering all assertions by both parties, I believe that the President should be acquitted from both charges.
Removal from office is not warranted.
I, like everyone, intently listened to 12 days of debate and testimony covering nearly 90 hours. I spent time meeting with my fellow Senators in order to reach a conclusion that was 1) fair, 2) met the constitutional mandates and 3) best served our nation.
I did not seek that responsibility; however, I have tried to carry it out to the best of my ability.
As a Senate juror, I was asked to weigh whether the House articles of impeachment charging the President with obstruction of Congress or abuse of power had merit, and if true, whether the offenses rose to a level that requires the President be removed from office.
I think like many of us, I am troubled by multiple factors.
I am troubled with the House managers’ demand that we, in the Senate, fill in the gaps of their investigation and call witnesses. Something they failed to execute themselves.
The job of the Senate is to be an honest jury and not take up the role of prosecutor. Nonetheless, after hearing House managers’ statements, it was clear, this was the role they insisted we do.
I am troubled that countless times the House managers made Senators feel as if we were the ones on trial.
House managers were both incorrect and demanding, constantly stating that Senators had no choice but to agree with their line of reasoning and if we did not, then we would deal with the consequences. A veiled threat yet to be defined.
Additionally, my top concern was what precedents would be set for future presidents and their expectation of privacy in conversation with their advisors.
Lastly, I have been most troubled that the House managers have not put cause before personal animus.
As has been frequently stated, Alexander Hamilton described it best, that charges against the president quote: “will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger to our nation that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”
Unfortunately, the warning of Alexander Hamilton and our Founders have come into fruition today. It is infectious and harming our ability to function as a United States Senate, where the threads of comity are getting pretty frayed.
In this regard, I appreciated yesterday when the White House counsel showed clips of major bills important to the American people, specifically highlighting the Farm bill. We don’t always agree on every issue, but we can work together to accomplish great things for the American people. Along with Senator Stabenow I did that with the Farm bill. That is what we do in the Senate. It is what the White House has done on a number of occasions. We use the threads of comity to get things done.
So, I ask have President Trump’s actions risen to the level envisioned by our founding fathers in the Constitution as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” warranting removal from office? Our Constitution requires that the threshold for that judgment must be set by each Senator sitting as a juror.
I have often said that I have concerns about the direction the country is heading. But let me stress, we have come through in dark times including the assassination of MLK, Washington was burning and Watergate just to name a few.
Today, a charge of impeachment against the president has placed this nation in jeopardy.
The House managers assertions are exactly the kind of situation the Framers were trying to avoid as they devised the impeachment mechanism to remove a sitting president whose actions endangered the republic.
However, as we did back then, we will always come together. These are not the worst of times and we will get over this as well.
We are a strong nation because we have a strong people.
We are a strong nation because it is in our nature to work together even as we disagree among ourselves.
Let us restore the threads of comity.
Work together we must. Emerge strong we will.
Thank you and I yield back.
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