Reed Statement on Trump Impeachment
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after voting to convict former President Donald John Trump, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement:
“I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Today, I upheld that oath by voting to convict Donald John Trump.
“Donald Trump is guilty of betraying the nation and systemically inciting insurrection. He and his associates brazenly assembled and agitated an attacking force and unleashed it upon the U.S. Capitol in a failed attempt to upend our democracy.
“First through deceit, then through failed attempts to strong-arm election officials, and then through political violence, Donald Trump attempted and came perilously close to dismantling our democracy. His armed supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol seeking to overturn a free and fair election. They viciously beat brave U.S. Capitol and District of Columbia police officers with Trump flags and weapons -- inflicting pain, causing injury, and tragically taking lives.
“The mob was there at the behest of Donald Trump. They literally marched under his banner in a failed attempt to deprive 81,283,098 Americans of their right to have their lawful votes certified. The attack was timed to coincide with, and forcefully disrupt, the constitutional counting of the electoral college votes. There is a big difference between free speech and a violent attempt to silence the voices and voting rights of Americans nationwide.
“After systematically spewing lies and false, discredited misinformation about the integrity of the election results for months before and after the ballots were certified in every state, Trump and his allies amassed a toxic band of seditionists to violently assault the U.S. Capitol. Their clear and abhorrent attempt to stop the certification of the presidential election was Trump’s final gambit to illegitimately cling to power. Thankfully, it failed. But Trump inflicted significant damage and trauma upon the nation and impeded America’s ability to serve as a moral protector of democracy and human rights.
“Trump’s responsibility for the insurrection is not in dispute. Even those who refuse to hold him accountable plainly admit it. Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy acknowledged that Donald Trump “bears responsibility” for the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol. Multiple members of Trump’s cabinet and high-ranking officials who were disgusted by Trump’s misconduct resigned in the wake of the attack.
“The House managers, including Congressman Cicilline, did a superb job connecting the dots and presenting overwhelming evidence against Donald Trump. David was well-prepared, knowledgeable, and meticulously detailed the seditious plot.
“Today, a solid majority of the U.S. Senate voted to convict Donald Trump, the most bipartisan impeachment conviction vote in U.S. history.
“Donald Trump repeatedly demonstrated disdain and disregard for the truth and the rule of law. Responsible elected officials, even those who voted to acquit today, must refute Trump’s self-serving lies to prevent further harm and permanent damage to our democracy. If he orchestrates another violent attempt to maul our democracy, or attack elected officials, then Republican Senators who cast their lot with him today will forever bear that burden.
“The impeachment process is over and Trump will likely use it to try to claim vindication. But he has not been exonerated and should understand that there is more than one path to accountability. Facts continue to emerge as criminal, civil, and bipartisan investigations into the events of that day and what led up to it intensify.
“So far, over 200 individuals have been charged in connection with the violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol. We must allow court cases to play out and render just verdicts and allow independent investigators and prosecutors to do their jobs.
“As much as I’d like to turn the page from the disgraceful Trump era, Congress still must perform its investigative and oversight responsibilities to determine all the facts and uncover evidence that has been concealed.
“The former President’s actions were not merely political speech that went a little too far. They were the result of a highly coordinated, organized, and well-funded disinformation operation that brought together elements of white supremacist hate groups, extremist militia members, and other entities. The American people deserve to know who paid the bills for this operation, how it came together, and which promoters benefitted from it and how. Getting those answers will take bipartisan commitment and many months of diligent work, but the American people deserve the truth. The grieving families of those who died and all those who were traumatized and threatened deserve answers.
“Members of Congress and the President have a sacred duty of to uphold people’s rights. Instead, Donald Trump maliciously tried to strip them away to seize power for himself and shred our Constitutional principles.
“Today’s outcome does not absolve him. History will judge him harshly for violating his oath of office and betraying the Constitution and the American people.”