Moderate Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted Wednesday to convict President Trump when the Senate voted on the verdict of the impeachment trial.
“I must vote yes on the articles of impeachment,” Manchin said in a statement. “I take no pleasure in these votes, and am saddened this is the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren.”
The West Virginia Democrat, who this week suggested censuring instead of impeaching Trump, said his decision was “truly difficult” and one he reached “reluctantly,” adding that he has always wanted “every president” to succeed.
“The greatest fear the Framers had was foreign intervention into our fragile democracy and they warned us of the tremendous harm toxic partisanship could have on our democratic system,” Manchin said. “Sadly the partisan episode that unfolded in the United State Senate betrays the duties entrusted to this body by the Constitution.”
The centrist senator, known for breaking with his party on occasion to vote with Republicans, added that he was disappointed in the refusal of Republicans to allow more witness testimony and documents during the trial.
Sinema, a moderate Arizona Democrat who was long considered a swing vote on impeachment, said she felt an obligation to vote to convict Trump due to her loyalty to the Constitution. Sinema has broken with Democrats on net neutrality, among other issues.
“Today, I vote to approve both articles, as my highest duty, and my greatest love, is to our nation’s Constitution,” Sinema said in a statement. “The facts are clear; security aid was withheld from Ukraine in an attempt to benefit the president’s political campaign.”
“While White House attorneys claim this behavior is not serious, it is dangerous to the fundamental principles of American democracy to use the power of the federal government for personal or political gain,” she said. “Worse, they failed to assure the American people that this behavior will not continue and that future national security decisions will be made free from personal interests.”
On the obstruction of Congress charge, Sinema condemned the administration’s “wholesale refusal to participate” in the investigation, which she says “sets a dangerous precedent, upending the balance of power.”
Sinema concluded with a lament that the impeachment process has injected bitterness into the national discourse.
“The greatest threat we face, from forces both foreign and domestic, is the attempt to divide us as a people with vitriol and hatred,” she wrote. “It is our duty as Americans to reject these attempts and remember who we are — a diverse people united in love of country, of freedom, and of liberty.”