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WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today took to the Senate Floor to discuss his final impeachment vote and provide his reasoning for his decision.
Brown will vote to convict and remove President Trump. The President’s trial demonstrated that he abused his power by extorting a political favor from a foreign government in order to bolster his own political campaign, and then obstructed Congress as he blocked witnesses from his Administration from testifying in front of the American people.
Brown vowed to be an impartial juror from the beginning of this trial. He pushed for witnesses and documents to be included, so the American public could hear all of the evidence and Senators could weigh the facts of the case. The President’s and the GOP’s actions of blocking evidence denied the American people a chance to hear the full truth. Based on the facts presented by the House Managers, Brown will vote to convict.
Brown’s speech on the Senate Floor, as prepared for delivery, is below:
Sen. Brown’s Floor Statement – Impeachment of President Donald Trump
Over the past three weeks, we have heard from the House Managers and the President’s counsel regarding the facts of the case against President Donald Trump.
Much like trials in Lorain and Lima and Lordstown, in Marion and Marietta and Massillon, we’ve seen the prosecution – in this case, the House Managers – and the defense – in this case, the president’s lawyers – present their cases.
And all 100 of us are the jury. We all took an oath to be impartial jurors, just like juries in Ohio and across America.
But for some of my colleagues, that was a joke.
The great journalist Bill Moyers summed up the past three weeks:
“What we’ve just seen is the dictator of the Senate manipulating the impeachment process to save the demagogue in the White House whose political party has become the gravedigger of democracy.”
Even before this trial began, Leader McConnell admitted out loud that he was coordinating the trial process with the White House. I challenge him to show me one trial in Ohio or in Kentucky where the jury coordinated with the defense lawyers.
And In a fair trial, the defense and prosecution would have been able to introduce evidence and to call witnesses. Every other impeachment proceeding in the Senate had witnesses. Some of them had dozens.
But Leader McConnell rushed this trial through, restricted reporter access, and twisted arms to block witnesses. But the public is going to see through it.
This is a sham trial.
I said from the beginning that I would keep an open mind. If there are witnesses who would exonerate the president, the American people need to hear from them.
Over the course of this trial we heard mounting, overwhelming evidence that President Trump did something Richard Nixon never did:
He extorted a foreign leader, fired a career foreign service officer for rooting out corruption, and put his own presidential campaign above our collective national security.
The president has said this is all hearsay – but he and the Republican Leader, together with Senate Republicans, blocked every potential witness.
We know that there were witnesses who were in the room with President Trump – but we didn’t hear from them. We didn’t hear from Ambassador John Bolton, or Interim Chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, or Secretary Pompeo.
The Republican Leader has denied the American people the chance to hear all of them testify, under oath.
We have seen more information come to light each day, which builds on the pattern of facts laid out in great detail by the House Managers.
We’ve now heard tape recordings of President Trump telling associates to “get rid of” U.S. Ambassador Yovanovich – a public servant who has devoted her life to fighting corruption and promoting American ideals and foreign policy throughout her long career at the State Department.
With her removed from her post, it appears the President thought he would be able to compel our ally, Ukraine to investigate his political opponent.
Reporters have now revealed that Ambassador Bolton, a firsthand witness, outlined that the President did exactly what the impeachment articles allege: He withheld security assistance to an ally at war with Russia in exchange for a political favor.
The Department of Justice admits there are 24 emails showing the president’s thinking on Ukraine assistance, but they won’t release the documents.
Make no mistake – the full truth will come out. The only question is when.
It will come out this week, this month, this year. And the year after that. And for decades to come. And when the full truth comes out, we will all be judged by our children and grandchildren.
Without additional witnesses, we must judge based on the facts presented. The House Managers have made a clear, compelling case.
In the middle of a war with Russia, the President froze almost $400 million in security assistance to Ukraine –assistance the country needed to fight back against Russian aggression. And President Trump did it to pressure President Zelensky to open an investigation into a 2020 political opponent and to re-litigate the 2016 election – an election that he won, mind you.
He also refused a critical meeting with President Zelensky in the oval office – a meeting that would have signaled to the Kremlin that the United States supports Ukraine.
These actions don’t promote our national security or the rule of law – they only promote Donald Trump.
This much is clear: We know the president extorted President Zelensky. He asked the leader of a foreign government to help him, and threatened to undercut U.S. foreign policy until he got what he wanted.
This is the definition of an abuse of power. And that is why we have no choice but to convict this president of abusing his office.
All of us know this – to acquit would set a clear, dangerous precedent: You can abuse your office, and Congress will look the other way.
This trial and the vote we are about to cast are about more than just President Trump. This is about the future of our democracy.
It will send a message to this president, to whomever we elect in November – Republican or Democrat – and to all future presidents. It will be heard around the world, by our allies and enemies alike.
Are we going to roll out the welcome mat to our adversaries to interfere in our elections?
Are we going to give a green light to the President of the United State to base our country’s foreign policy not on our collective national security or that of our allies, like Ukraine, but on his or her own personal political campaign?
Those are the issues at stake in this vote.
If we don’t hold this president accountable for his abuse of office – if no one in his own party has the backbone to say “stop” – it will get worse.
I was particularly appalled by the words of Mr. Dershowitz on the first day of questions.
He said, “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected—in the public interest—that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”
Think about that for a moment.
If a president claims his own reelection is in the public interest – and what politician would claim otherwise – then he can do whatever he wants to boost his campaign.
The president can break any law, funnel taxpayer money toward his reelection, turn the arms of the state against his political enemies – and not be held accountable.
That’s what this claim comes down to.
We remember the words of Richard Nixon, “when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” Our country rejected that argument during Watergate – are we going to allow it to succeed today?
If we have a president who can turn the office of the presidency, and by extension the entire executive branch, into his own political campaign operation, we no longer have a president – we have a monarch, a despot.
My colleagues may think I’m exaggerating – but we do not have the option to vote in favor of some arguments made during the trial and not others.
Mr. Dershowitz’s words will live forever in the historical record, and if they’re allowed to stand aside a “not guilty” verdict, make no mistake – they’ll be used as precedent by future aspiring autocrats.
In the words of House Manager Schiff, “that way madness lies.”
I know some of my Republican colleagues agree this sets a dangerous precedent. Some of you have admitted to me that you’re troubled by the president’s behavior. You know he’s reckless. You know he lies. You know what he did was wrong.
If you acknowledge that, I implore you – we have no choice but to vote to convict.
What are my colleagues afraid of?
I think about the words of Adam Schiff in this chamber on Monday – “If you find that the House has proved its case and still vote to acquit, your name will be tied to his with a cord of steel and for all of history.”
So I ask my colleagues again, what are you afraid of?
One of our fundamental American values is that we have no kings, no nobility, no oligarchs in this country – no matter how rich, no matter how powerful, everyone can and should be held accountable.
I hope my colleagues will remember that. I hope they will choose courage over fear. I hope they will choose country over party. I hope they will join me in holding this president accountable to the American people we all took an oath to serve.
Because we all know this: Americans are watching. And they will not forget.