SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) responded to the vote in the U.S. Senate on Saturday to acquit former Pres. Donald Trump by indicating his belief that the House managers relied on hearsay, not evidence, when trying to convince Senators that Pres. Trump had committed an impeachable offense.
“Faced with the weak presentation of a deficient case demanding unprecedented constitutional action against a private citizen,” Sen. Lee wrote, “acquittal was the only option I could deem consistent with the law, the facts, and the Constitution.”
Sen. Lee was among the 43 Republican senators who voted against convicting Pres. Trump in his second impeachment trial.
“The House managers’ burden in this trial was to prove first, that the Senate should exercise its impeachment jurisdiction in a case against a former president; and second, that he committed the high crime of inciting an insurrection,” Lee wrote.
“The House managers did not clear either hurdle.”
In the end, 57 Senators voted to convict Mr. Trump on the charge of inciting violence, including all Democrats, two Independents, and seven Republicans. But that did not meet the threshold of 67 Senators (or two-thirds of the Senate body) required for impeachment.
Senator Lee’s Utah colleague, Sen. Mitt Romney, was one of the seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump.
Despite his vote to acquit, Sen. Lee distanced himself from Mr. Trump’s actions on Jan. 6.
“No one can condone the horrific violence that occurred on January 6, 2021–or President Trump’s words, actions, and omissions on that day. I certainly do not,” Lee wrote.
“But, the fact is that the word ‘incitement’ has a very specific meaning in the law, and Donald Trump’s words and actions on January 6, 2021, fell short of that standard.”
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