This week, Senate Republicans voted to essentially speed through an acquittal for President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial in the chamber via closing off the proceedings to any more witnesses. The witnesses that Democrats sought included Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, who had a firsthand perspective on the attempt to bribe Ukraine that was at the center of the impeachment proceedings — but Republicans refused to hear him out anyway. As the vote approached this week, prominent Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III called on observers to channel their frustration into electoral action this November.
‘You should be angry. You should be angry that Senate Republicans are pleading ignorance. You should be angry that they’re willing to set a dangerous precedent to hold onto power. And then you should channel that anger into taking their power away.’
You should be angry.
You should be angry that Senate Republicans are pleading ignorance.
You should be angry that they’re willing to set a dangerous precedent to hold onto power.
And then you should channel that anger into taking their power away.
— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) January 30, 2020
He’s most definitely onto something here. Polls taken before the Senate actually voted on whether or not to hear from witnesses showed that majorities of Americans wanted to see witnesses at the trial. One CNN survey showed 75 percent of Americans overall in favor of witnesses, which even included 49 percent of Republicans — but the Senate GOP decided to rush through an acquittal anyway. Closing arguments are set for the coming days to be followed be a final, formal vote.
Senate Republicans’ explanations for voting against witnesses have varied. Hoped-for swing vote Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said that witnesses would not change his conclusion that Trump’s behavior — meaning the bribery scheme targeting Ukraine — was inappropriate but not enough to impeach him over.
Meanwhile, fellow hoped-for swing vote Lisa Murkowski of Alaska opted to criticize Democrats’ supposed over-the-top partisanship in her own explanation for her decision. Decrying “the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout,” she said that she did not “believe the continuation of this process will change anything.” She had no apparent direct condemnation for her Republican colleagues who’ve worked to ensure that partisanship in response to the facts of the Democratic case.
The Cook Political Report currently rates a full half a dozen GOP-held Senate seats as either “toss-ups” or only “leaning” Republican, which is the final category before “toss-ups.”
Check out Twitter’s response to Kennedy’s call to vote them out…