Senator Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat whose seat is considered extremely vulnerable, said he has “reluctantly” decided to vote to convict President Trump on both articles of impeachment when the Senate decides a verdict later Wednesday.
“After many sleepless nights, I have reluctantly concluded that the evidence is sufficient to convict the President for both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress,” the Alabama Democrat said in a statement Wednesday morning.
“The President’s actions placed his personal interests well above the national interests and threatened the security of the United States, our allies in Europe, and our ally Ukraine,” Jones said. “His actions were more than simply inappropriate. They were an abuse of power.”
Jones was viewed as a potential defector from the Democratic Party on impeachment. He was elected in deep red Alabama in 2017 as his Republican opponent, former state judge Roy Moore, battled multiple allegations of sexual encounters with teenage girls while in his 30s. Jones now faces several formidable Republican challengers, including Jeff Sessions, who was Alabama’s senator for decades before being tapped as attorney general.
However, Jones said that although he “did not run for Senate hoping to participate in the impeachment trial of a duly-elected President,” he said he “cannot and will not shrink from my duty to defend the Constitution and to do impartial justice.”
Jones said the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, gave him “even more pause,” adding that he has “struggled to understand the House’s strategy in their pursuit of documents and witnesses.”
However, after considering the evidence, Jones concluded that Trump “deliberately and unconstitutionally obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the investigation in any way.”
“Throughout the trial, one piece of evidence continued to stand out for me,” Jones said on the Senate floor. “It was the president’s statement that … I can do anything I want. That seems to capture this president’s belief about the presidency.”
The Senate is expected to vote to acquit Trump of both impeachment charges on Wednesday.