Senator Doug Jones (D., Ala.) told reporters Monday night that President Trump’s defense-team lawyer Alan Dershowitz made “some good points” relating to the second article of impeachment against Trump, and implied he could split his vote over concerns with the “obstruction of congress” charge.
“He did make some good points on a couple of things on factual issues that I’ve got concerns about with, especially with regard to Article II,” Jones told USA Today. But Jones criticized the defense team for its efforts to dispute the first article of “abuse of power.”
“They’re focusing solely on the [July 25th call] transcript and there’s so much more to the story than the transcript, and they continue to talk about cross-examination of witnesses but yet they continue to block witnesses that have first-hand knowledge. That’s disingenuous,” he continued.
The freshman Senator added that he “just don’t buy” Dershowitz’s assertion that Trump’s impeachment was based on a non-literal reading of the Constitution.
Dershowitz said during arguments Monday that the president did not commit an abuse of power even if he did “demand a quid pro quo as a condition to sending aid to a foreign country” — a claim John Bolton makes in his upcoming memoir. He explained that convicting Trump for abuse of power over the withholding of military aid would require that jurors assume Trump’s motive for orchestrating the quid pro quo was self-serving and not in the national interest.
Jones, who faces a stiff reelection challenge in Alabama, said last month that “gaps in testimony” after the House’s case left him “trying to see if the dots get connected” before the vote in the Senate.
The Alabama Democrat also seemed to imply that he could vote to convict Trump on abuse of power, but could acquit him on obstruction of Congress.
“I try to keep these separate,” he explained. “My training as a judge is saying, each count stands on its own. And that’s how I’m trying to continue to look at this.”
Jones said that he had taken several hundred pages of notes during the trial, but was still not sure how he would vote.
“I ask myself a lot of questions and I’ll go back, I’ll argue with myself a lot tonight,” he said. “It’s the way I do things.”