DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, explained why they voted to acquit former President Donald Trump on the one article of impeachment the U.S. House sent to the U.S. Senate. The U.S. House over one month ago impeached Trump after Q’Anon and Trump supporters taking part in a Trump rally breached the U.S. Capitol delaying the Congressional certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021, resulting in five deaths including a Capitol Police officer.
The U.S. Senate fell short of the two-thirds vote necessary to convict, voting 57 to 43. Seven Republicans joined Democrats voting for conviction.
In his statement for the Senate record, Grassley reiterated that the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was an assault on democracy itself and that former President Trump had displayed poor leadership, but stated that the impeachment managers for the House of Representatives failed to prove their case.
“We do not have the authority to try a private citizen like former President Trump. Even if we did, he should have been accorded the protections of due process of law in his trial. And even if we assume he has been, the House Managers still did not prove that he committed incitement to insurrection, the specific crime of which he stands accused. This does not excuse President Trump’s conduct on and around January 6th of this year,” Grassley said.
Ernst’s statement echoed Grassley’s reasoning. She also expressed concern about the precedent a conviction would set asserting that impeachment should not be a partisan tool to exact revenge.
“As a United States Senator, I swear an oath to the Constitution, an oath I do not take lightly. I’ve said throughout this process my concern is with the constitutionality of these proceedings. The Constitution clearly states that impeachment is for removing a president from office. The bottom line for this impeachment trial: Donald Trump is no longer in office, he is a private citizen,” she said.
“I strongly believe Congress should not be in the business of treating impeachment as a political tool to enact partisan revenge, and if it were to do so, Congress would set a very dangerous precedent, one that is inconsistent with the Constitution I swear an oath to. I urge all of my Senate colleagues to once again refocus on working together for the American people – not ourselves or political ambition, but for the hardworking men, women, and kids across this country who are in desperate need of help and hope,” Ernst added.