Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) insists that even if the Senate impeachment trial wasn’t happening during an election year, he would still vote against additional witnesses or document subpoenas.
During an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd pressed Alexander on his Thursday night release announcing his vote against witnesses — which argued that the trial was too close to the 2020 election — by asking whether a witness vote itself would have been “helpful for the people to decide if they had more information.”
“Well, I mean, if you have eight witnesses who say someone left the scene of an accident, why do you need nine?” Alexander said. “I mean, the question for me was: Do I need more evidence to conclude that the president did what he did? And I concluded no.”
After Todd asked what he believes President Trump did, Alexander said that he believes “he called the president of Ukraine and asked him to become involved in investigating Joe Biden.” However, when Todd asked if that was the origin of Trump’s wrongdoing, Alexander expressed uncertainty.
“I don’t know about that. But he admitted that. The president admitted that. He released a transcript, he said on television,” Alexander said. “The second thing was, at least in part, he delayed the military and other assistance to Ukraine in order to encourage that investigation. Those are the two things he did.”
Alexander then added that he thinks Trump “shouldn’t have done it,” it was “wrong,” “improper, crossing the line” and that “the only question left is who decides what to do about that.”
When Todd asked “who decides what to do about that,” Lamar responded “the people is my conclusion” and that it struck him that “we’re not just being asked to remove the president from office.”
After Lamar argued that “we’re saying, ‘tell him he can’t run in the 2020 election which begins Monday in Iowa,'” Todd pressed him on whether he would have looked at impeachment “differently” if this weren’t an election year.
Although Lamar said that he “would have looked it differently,” he insisted that he would “probably come to the same conclusion” because “what he did is a long way from treason, bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors.”
“I don’t think it’s the kind of inappropriate action that the framers would expect the Senate to substitute its judgment for the people in picking a president,” Alexander said.
After Alexander agreed with Todd that the framers of the Constitution had the fear of foreign interference in mind, the Tennessee senator argued that if Trump was “upset about Joe Biden and his son and what they were doing in Ukraine, he should have called the Attorney General and told him that and let the Attorney General handle it the way they always handle cases that involve public figures.”
“And why do you think he didn’t do that?” Todd asked.
“Maybe he didn’t know to do it,” Alexander said.
Watch Alexander’s remarks below:
Alexander: "I don't think it's the kind of inappropriate action that the framers would expect the Senate to substitute its judgment for the people in picking a president." pic.twitter.com/P7TUnxKNqa
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) February 2, 2020