Booker and Menendez tell Senate why they’ll vote to convict Trump

Booker and Menendez tell Senate why they’ll vote to convict Trump


By:  Jonathan D. Salant
NJ.com

When the U.S. Senate decides Wednesday whether to convict President Donald Trump, New Jersey’s two Democratic senators will be voting yes.

In speeches on the Senate floor Tuesday, both Cory Booker and Robert Menendez said they were voting to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and chastised their Republican colleagues for refusing to do so.

“I believe that the day we fail to remove this president will go down in history as a day of constitutional infamy," Menendez said. "It will be remembered as a dark day for our democracy, for our national security, and for our constitutional order.”

“I will vote for impeachment and removal not because I hate this president — because I don’t —but because I love our country more,” he said. "I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and with this vote, I intend to do so.”

Booker, who ended his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination last month, bemoaned the Senate’s refusal to obtain all the evidence it could before rendering a decision.

Trump refused to turn over documents or allow administration witnesses to appear before the House, and all but two Senate Republicans voted against calling officials who witnessed Trump’s actions to testify in their trial.

“The Senate shut its door to the truth even though it was in easy reach,” Booker said in his floor speech. “The world’s greatest deliberative body conducted an impeachment trial without demanding a single witness and without subpoenaing a single document.”

“It makes no sense whatsoever that we should deny in this deliberative body the truth," he said

The House in December made Trump only the third president in American history to be impeached. Voting almost exclusively along party lines, lawmakers said Trump held up congressionally approved aid to Ukraine in order to pressure that government into announcing investigations to help him win re-election in 2020.

The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said Trump broke federal law in doing so.

“This president has claimed authoritarian power that our Constitution was specifically designed to prevent,” Booker said. “He has declared himself unaccountable to and above the law. He has shred he very governing ideals of this great republic.”

Menendez said the Senate will have abandoned its role under the Constitution for refusing to hold Trump accountable.

“If we do not rein in this conduct, if we do not call it the abuse of power that it is, then we have failed to live up to the ideals of our republic,” Menendez said. “And I fear we have already let the American people and our Constitution down by failing to hold a fair trial."