Today, I announced in an op-ed in the Star Tribune and took to the Senate floor to share why I’m voting to remove President Trump. It’s important to me that Minnesotans—and all Americans—understand how I came to my decision. What follows is taken from my floor speech—which you can view here.
I was reluctant to go down the path of impeachment. While I strongly disagree with the President on many issues, I see impeachment as a last resort, and I feared that leaping to impeachment would only serve to drive us all even further into our political corners. This changed when I read the Whistleblower report, which alleged nothing less than the President’s corrupt abuse of power, an abuse that had the potential to undermine our election in 2020. For me, this left us no choice but for the House to fully investigate these allegations.
When the House sent the two Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, it became my job to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the law.” I take that oath as seriously as anything I have ever done.
This impeachment trial has been about whether the President’s corrupt abuse of power—power he used for his own personal, political benefit, while betraying the public trust—is a high crime and misdemeanor as defined by our founders in the Constitution. I believe it is. I also believe that to condone corrupt behavior such as this undermines the core value that we stand for as a nation—that no one is above the law, including and most especially our President.
Over the past several weeks I have listened carefully to hundreds of hours of presentations and questions and answers, and read hundreds of pages of documents. Through it all, the facts underlying the case against the President were never really refuted. The President, working through his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, withheld from Ukraine security assistance and a prestigious meeting in the White House in an effort to persuade President Zelensky to announce he was investigating Joe Biden, and the theory that Ukraine interfered in our 2016 election. In order to improve his prospects for reelection, Trump directed that vital assistance be withheld until Ukraine announced investigations into a baseless conspiracy theory that originated as Russian propaganda. He only released the aid after he was caught.
And then, when the House sought to investigate these actions, the Trump White House categorically blocked any and all subpoenas for documents and witnesses. No U.S. President has ever categorically rejected the power of Congress to investigate and do oversight of the Executive branch. Not Nixon. Not Clinton. This obstruction fractures the balance of power between the legislative and executive branch. How can our constitutional system work if we allow the President to decide if and how Congress can investigate the President’s misconduct? It can’t. If we say the President can decide whether he cooperates with a Congressional investigation, we are saying he is above the law.