Delegation speaks out on Trump acquittal

Published 12:55 pm Monday, February 15, 2021

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On Saturday, the U.S. Senate acquitted former U.S. President Donald Trump for the impeachment charge of incitement to insurrection related to the Jan. 6, 2021, siege on the U.S. Capitol.

The Senate’s vote, 57-43, missed the two-thirds majority required to approve the charge, but seven Senate Republicans jumped ranks to side with Democrats in voting to convict the former president.

Alabama’s senators were not among them.

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In a statement Saturday, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-AL, said he had concerns with the lack of due process and constitutionality, which was discussed and debated before other arguments were laid out by House managers and Trump’s defense team.

“But I had a duty as a juror to listen to the arguments of both sides and keep an open mind, which I did,” Tuberville said. “After hearing the arguments presented, I voted to not convict for a number of reasons, including the fact that I don’t think the Senate has the authority to try a public citizen.”

While Tuberville then attempted to strike a conciliatory tone, he also took a dig at Democrats for wasting time on impeachment rather than addressing the bigger needs of the day.

“There are no winners today,” Tuberville said after the acquittal. “The American people lost. Our country is hurting from a global pandemic and, rather than addressing the serious needs of our constituents, we wasted a full week on an unconstitutional trial.”

“Now it’s time for us as a country to move on,” Tuberville continued. “We need to remember that at the end of the day we’re on the same team: the American team. Both sides can do better at remembering that.”

The following day, Tuberville indicated in a tweet his opposition to U.S. President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, saying the nation can’t afford it.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, who announced recently that he will not be seeking reelection after six terms in the Senate, likewise voted to acquit.

“The Constitution speaks of removing a sitting president, not a private citizen,” Shelby said in statement released Saturday. “I recently voted to dismiss this case based on its questionable constitutionality. The framers were clear in limiting impeachment to the President, Vice President and civil officers of the United States. That is why today, I voted to acquit.”

While Trump’s trial in the Senate took place after he left office, the former president was formally impeached a second time in the U.S. House of Representatives before leaving office.

Among those who voted to impeach him in the House was U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, who in a statement following Saturday’s vote chided Republicans for choosing “party and loyalty over the Constitution and our democracy.”

“There is no doubt that President Donald Trump sowed seeds of disinformation, hatred and violence that was directly responsible for the armed insurgents who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6,” Sewell said in the statement. “It is a sad day for our democracy when the majority of Senate Republicans choose not to hold President Trump accountable simply because of a technical process argument that has been debunked by constitutional scholars.”

“History will not look favorably upon those who refused their constitutional and moral obligation to convict Donald Trump for his seditious actions,” Sewell continued. “Justice has not been served and our failure to meet this historic moment will be judged by future generations. As we move forward as a nation, we must remember that there is no healing without accountability.”