Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), a moderate Democrat representing a deep-red state, announced Wednesday that he will vote “yes” on both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
“With impeachment as the only check on such presidential wrongdoing, I felt I must vote to convict on the first charge of abuse of power,” Jones said in a statement. “I believe the President deliberately and unconstitutionally obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the investigation in any way.”
The Alabama Democrat’s decision comes as the Senate is expected to acquit the president for requesting that Ukraine look into allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, during a July 25 telephone call. A partisan CIA officer, then working at the National Security Council, alleged in a whistleblower complaint that the president sought to exchange the inquiries for U.S. aid to the eastern European country — a charge that both governments deny. Nonetheless, House Democrats still launched a formal impeachment inquiry in late September.
After Jones’ announcement, all eyes are on Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), another moderate swing vote, who has yet to announce whether he will vote to acquit or convict the president. On Monday, Manchin drafted a censure resolution condemning President Trump’s actions, signaling that he may not vote in favor of impeachment.
“I see no path to the 67 votes required to impeach President Trump and haven’t since this trial started,” he said in a Senate floor speech this week. “However, I do believe a bipartisan majority of this body would vote to censure President Trump for his actions in this matter.”
Jones’ announcement also comes after two moderate Republicans — Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — said that while they believe President Trump’s conduct was inappropriate, they will vote against both articles.
“I cannot vote to convict. The Constitution provides for impeachment but does not demand it in all instances,” Murkowski said in her Senate floor speech, adding that the president’s removal would amount to “the political death penalty.”
“The president’s behavior was shameful and wrong. His personal interests do not take precedence over those of this great nation,” she added.
“It was wrong for President Trump to mention former Vice President Biden on that phone call, and it was wrong for him ask a foreign country to investigate a political rival,” Collins said in a separate statement, noting: “I do not believe the House has met its burden of the showing the president’s conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of removal from office.”