Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) voted to find President Donald Trump guilty on both articles of impeachment before the Senate. Article 1, abuse of power, failed by a vote of 48 to 52, and Article 2, obstruction of Congress, failed by a vote of 47 to 53. After the vote, Senator King released the following statement:
“So, here we are. The trial has raced towards its pre-ordained conclusion – without relevant witnesses, without concealed documents, without impartial justice. What we are left with is a President who has shown no understanding that his actions were wrong, let alone anything resembling remorse – a President now emboldened by a Congress that has voluntarily ceded its oversight role, and shown no interest in holding him accountable. Today, this body absolved a president who, even some of my Republican colleagues admit, solicited foreign interference to advance his political fortunes; looking ahead, it makes one wonder where the line is – or if such a line even exists.
“Now, the natural question is: what’s next? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m deeply worried that the precedent we’ve set today will echo for generations by setting us on a hazardous course closer to an imperial executive. Our inaction inflicts serious damage to the checks and balances crafted so carefully by our Founders, and defended so staunchly by the leaders who came before us. The people trusted us to follow in those footsteps, and protect this uniquely American inheritance for the next generation. Today, I fear we failed in that mission.
“I know I’m not alone in feeling discouraged – in feeling like we’ve abandoned our responsibilities. But I also know that America is nothing if not resilient. We’ve faced challenges before, and we’ve always managed to persevere through them with our commitment to liberty and justice for all. It’s not easy, but apathy and despair win us nothing. When we don’t give up – when we continue fighting, with principles, optimism and passion – we do our part to fulfill our founders’ vision, and build the more perfect union to which they aspired.”
Senator King announced his decision on the floor of the Senate yesterday, citing the President’s decision to pursue personal political gain at the expense of national interests and the dangers of allowing the executive to ignore Congressional subpoenas with no consequences. During the trial, he voted at every possible opportunity to allow the Senate to hear from relevant witnesses, including Ambassador John Bolton. Days ago, Senator King held a listening session at Bowdoin College, where an overflow crowd of more than three hundred Maine people shared their deep concerns over the implications of allowing the President to continue his actions without consequence.