WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement on his vote to impeach President Donald John Trump:
“Today the U.S. Senate is called upon to uphold our oath of office and our duty to the Constitution because President Trump failed to do so himself.
“After listening closely to the impeachment managers and the president’s defense team, carefully weighing the evidence that was presented to us -- and being denied the opportunity to see relevant documents and hear from firsthand witnesses -- I will vote to find President Trump guilty on both articles of impeachment.
“I take no pleasure in voting to impeach a president and remove him from office.
“I agree with those who say impeachment should be rare and American voters should decide our elections.
“That is why it is so galling that President Trump blatantly solicited foreign interference in our democratic process. And he did it as he geared up for re-election.
“The evidence shows President Trump deliberately and illicitly sought foreign help to manufacture a scandal that would elevate him by tarnishing a political rival.
“He attempted to undermine our democracy, using U.S. taxpayer money in the form of U.S. military aid for Ukraine as leverage for his own personal benefit.
“Compounding the President’s misconduct, he then engaged in an extended cover up that appears to be ongoing.
“The Constitution grants the Executive branch significant power, but as every student in America learns: our system is one of checks and balances so that no branch is entirely unfettered from oversight and the law.
“President Trump would have us believe this system of checks and balances is wrong.
“As President Trump staked out new, expansive, and aggressive positions about executive privilege, immunity, and the limits of Congress’s oversight authority, Republican leaders went along with it.
“I’ve heard a variety of explanations for why my Republican colleagues voted against witnesses.
“But the simplest explanation is this: My Republican colleagues did not want to hear new evidence because they have a hunch it would be really, really bad for this President. It would further expose the depth of his wrongdoing. And it would make it harder for them to vote to acquit.
“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle did not ask to be put in this position. President Trump’s misconduct forced it on them.
“But in the partisan rush to spare President Trump from having his staff and former staff publicly testify against him under oath, a bar has been lowered. A constitutional guardrail has been removed. The Senate has been voluntarily weakened and our oversight powers severely diminished.
“This short-term maneuver to shield President Trump from the truth is a severe blow against good government that will do lasting damage to this institution and our democracy.
“I hope one day the damage can be repaired. The arc of history is indeed long, and it does bend toward justice – but not today.
“Today, the United States Senate, and the American people, have been denied access to relevant, available evidence and firsthand witnesses.
“We’ve been prohibited from considering new, material information that became available after the House’s impeachment vote.
“The Constitution is our national compass. But at this critical moment, clouded by the fog of President Trump’s misconduct, the Senate majority has lost its way and declined to be guided by our Constitution.
“In order to regain our moral bearings, stay true to our core values, and navigate a better path forward, we must hold President Trump accountable.
“The President was wrong to invite foreign interference in our democracy. He was wrong to try and stonewall the investigation. And he is wrong if he thinks he is above the law.”