Regional senators vote along party lines at Trump impeachment trial
Minn., ND, SD senators don't break ranks.
Votes cast in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Saturday, Feb. 13, broke along party lines among the senators from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The Senate voted 57-43 in favor of convicting the former president, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to do so, on a charge that he incited the insurrection that left five people dead, forced lawmakers to flee and put his own vice president in danger while overseeing the certification of Democrat Joe Biden's election win.
Seven Republican senators joined all 50 Democratic senators in voting to convict, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed.
Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said the attack "will be forever seared in the minds of Americans."
"He didn't call out the National Guard," Klobuchar said, explaining her vote to convict. "What does having an oath to be commander-in-chief mean except to keep the people safe? He failed to do that.
“A bipartisan majority in the House and Senate believe Donald Trump incited a violent insurrection. People died. Over 100 police officers were injured. An absolute disgrace,” Klobuchar said.
Minnesota Democratic Sen. Tina Smith said “The facts and the evidence were overwhelming — former President Donald Trump lied for months to his supporters, summoned them to Washington, and incited a violent insurrection against our government and our democracy.
"I voted to convict because no reasonable person could believe this would have happened without his betrayal.”
North Dakota Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer, explaining his vote against conviction, said that while the Constitution does not give the Senate the authority to impeach a former president, “because a majority of senators voted otherwise, it was our duty to hear the arguments presented by both sides and vote on the merits presented.”
Cramer said the House managers were unable to establish that Trump “committed a high crime or misdemeanor, the Constitution’s standard for impeachment. ...Their arguments require assuming the underlying meaning in President Trump’s January 6 speech was so persuasive that the rioters would attack members of law enforcement, an action in direct defiance of the unequivocal statements in support of police officers offered throughout the entirety of Donald Trump’s presidency, including in his comments that day. If the former President’s rhetoric was so powerful, why was this group of rioters so unpersuaded by his years of publicly backing law enforcement?”
Cramer said “the January 6 attacks on the Capitol were appalling, and President Trump’s remarks were reckless, but based on the evidence presented in the trial, he did not commit an impeachable offense.”
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., who also voted against conviction, issued the following statement today after the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial:
“The Founding Fathers designed impeachment as a way to remove a President from office. That is why I believe it is unconstitutional and voted against trying to apply impeachment to a former president after he has left office. That would be impeaching a private citizen. Constitutional scholars have clearly and effectively made that determination, and it is further reinforced by the fact that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court did not preside.
“President Trump should not have encouraged the protest on January 6, but those rioters who broke the law are responsible for their actions and we must condemn all those who engage in violence. Now that the trial is over, we need to work in a bipartisan way to address the challenges facing our nation.”
South Dakota Republican Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune also voted against conviction.
“I’ve said all along that impeaching former President Trump is a moot point as the Constitution is clear that removal from office is the primary purpose of impeachment,” Rounds said after Saturday’s vote. “Our Founding Fathers intended impeachment to remove public officials from office, not to punish private citizens.
“After carefully listening to every minute of the presentations made by the House Managers and the former president’s legal team, I am convinced that the Senate does not have jurisdiction to render a judgement against the former president. Therefore, I voted not guilty.”
Prior to the vote, Thune said “I considered all the evidence very carefully, but ultimately I concluded that the two charges presented by the House managers – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – did not provide a compelling case for removing this president.”