Delaware Public Media

Sens. Carper and Coons in the minority on final Senate impeachment vote

Feb 5, 2020

Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons both voted "guilty" as President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate ended Wednesday with an aquittal.

Carper and Coons each voted to convict Trump on both Articles of Impeachment - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"Unfortunately, I fear in this impeachment trial, the Senate has failed an historic test of our ability to put country over party," said Coons in a floor speech Wednesday.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, Carper said he believes Trump pressured the government of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf and investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, then obstructed Congress’ effort to investigate.  He called the evidence presented in the trial "overwhelming."

And he argued Trump's actions were a realization of the Founders’ fears that a President might attempt to act as a king.

“Donald Trump violated his oath [of office].  He broke the law.  He attemped to cheat in the 2020 election and when he got caught he left little doubt that he will cheat again," said Carper. "That is not the conduct we expect of an American President.  That is the conduct of someone who believes he or she is above the law.

Coons agrees with Carper that the Senate trial proved Trump withheld taxpayer-funded military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure that country to help his reelection campaign – and that the President and his administration obstructed Congress’ investigation into that move.

And Coons, like Carper, noted that the President’s legal team did not make a real attempt dispute or diretly respond to the case against him.

On the Senate floor Wednesday, Coons also expressed frustration about the process.  He says Democrats and Republicans’ inability able to reach consensus on things like subpoenaing witnesses and document created a flawed trial. 

“When an impeachment trial becomes meaniningless, we are damaged and weakened as a body and our Constitution  sufers in ways not easily repaired,” said Coons.

The final Senate vote on the first Article of Impeachment, abuse of power, was 52-48 with only Utah Republican Mitt Romney breaking rankes with his GOP colleagues to vote guilty.  Romney voted with the rest of Senate Republicans to reject the second Article of Impeachment, obstruction of Congress.