/Live impeachment trial updates: Senate votes on articles of impeachment against Trump

Live impeachment trial updates: Senate votes on articles of impeachment against Trump

Dem senator gets emotional, thanks Romney after speech

During Romney’s powerful speech on the Senate floor, the chamber was empty except for three Democrats listening intently: Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

Schatz wiped his eyes during Romney’s speech and, along with Leahy, followed Romney off the floor. Schatz told NBC News that he thanked Romney for his vote.

Schatz said he became emotional “because we all need to believe that this place can work, and this place can only work if individuals occasionally put country above party. And Mitt Romney just did that.”

He added, “I came to the floor because I was hoping. I didn’t talk to him about it, I just saw 2 o’clock and I cleared my schedule to come down.”

The only Republican in the chamber was Roger Wicker of Missouri, who came in a few minutes late and stood by his desk just gazing at Romney. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who was presiding over the Senate at the time, did not make eye contact with Romney once.

Romney says he will vote to convict Trump for abuse of power

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, announced he will vote to convict President Donald Trump on abuse of power, one of the two articles of impeachment he faces.

Romney is the only Republican to announce a vote to convict the president. 

Romney said Trump was “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust” and that “what he did was not perfect.”

He called Trump’s conduct a “flagrant assault on electoral rights, electoral security, and fundamental values” and “the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.”

As he started to read his speech, Romney appeared to choke up with emotion.

“The president’s insistence that [Joe and Hunter Biden] be investigated by the Ukranians is hard to explain other than as a political pursuit,” Romney said. “There’s no question in my mind that were their names not ‘Biden,’ the president would never have done what he did.”

Romney said he knew he was certain to face backlash from the president and his supporters and said it was the most difficult decision he’s faced. He added that the vote allows him to tell his children and family that he performed his duty “to the best of my ability.”

“With my vote I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty,” Romney said. “What the president did was wrong. Grievously wrong.”

Kaine defends Pelosi, calls Trump a ‘jackass’

Sen. Tim Kaine did not mince words during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on Wednesday to talk about Trump’s impeachment and the State of the Union address. 

The Virginia Democrat said that Trump cannot claim exoneration because his impeachment trial was a “sham” and called the president a “jackass” for not shaking hands with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after his address Tuesday night. 

“He’s going to be acquitted,” Kaine said. “I don’t think it’s an exoneration because the Senate trial was such a sham.”

He added, “The refusal to allow evidence will put an asterisk by this. So, yes, it is an acquittal, but if I were the president, I would want exoneration and I don’t think exoneration is what you get when you engineer a sham rather than a trial.”

He also excoriated Trump for ignoring Pelosi’s outstretched hand and in turn defended the speaker for ripping her copy of the president’s speech at the end of his address. 

“I said, well, wait, so, he won’t shake her hand and he gives a Medal of Freedom to somebody who’s called her every name under the book for years,” he said, referring to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who has consistently trafficked in sexism and racism.

“And he stands up there and lies about health care, but we’re going talk about how she should respond? I mean, he can behave like a jackass, but we have to jump all over her back? I mean, I don’t get the double standard.”

Jones: Re-election battle ‘never crossed my mind’ in impeachment decision

Jones spoke to reporters following his announcement that he would vote to convict Trump.

When asked if he was worried about his re-election, Jones said, “No. It has never crossed my mind. Did ya’ll hear that speech? Did anybody hear that speech? It has never crossed my mind.”

He added that he “did what I thought was the right thing to do. It had been coming together.”

NBC News noted that Jeff Sessions, who once held Jones’ seat and is now running to reclaim it, is already attacking Jones over his impeachment vote

“So?,” he said.

Hoyer says Bolton could ‘probably’ give ‘relevant testimony’

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that impeachment will be “over today” and that he finds it “very regrettable what is about to happen” in terms of the Senate acquitting Trump without hearing from any witnesses or requesting documents.

Asked if the House will subpoena John Bolton to testify, he says the committees will make that decision if they will proceed on that but that “we think he probably has some relevant testimony to give.”

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