North Carolina senators Burr and Tillis vote to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment

Joel Brown Image
Thursday, February 6, 2020
Activists, politicians respond to acquital of President Trump
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Activists, politicians respond to acquital of President Trump

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis both voted to acquit President Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment, helping bring an end to the third presidential impeachment trial in United States history.

Though Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah broke with his party and voted to convict the president of high crimes and misdemeanors, the articles of impeachment did not gain the two-thirds support necessary to remove the president from office.

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Both of the senators from North Carolina, both Republicans, committed to voting 'no' on both articles before the historic vote Wednesday.

When asked about Senate Democrats' allegations that the Senate trial was unfair, Tillis said, "They said that they had overwhelming evidence, based on the evidence that they submitted, but all they did was spend their time asking for more witnesses. They rushed the process, unlike any time that impeachment's been used in history. They made a mistake, and that's why the president gets acquitted."

Tillis' office released the following statement after the vote Wednesday:

"This entire impeachment effort was motivated by partisan politics and a desire to remove the President from office instead of allowing the American people to decide his fate at the ballot box in November. Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats denied the President basic due process rights from the start and ultimately presented a weak case for removal that was rejected by the Senate. The President has been acquitted and we now need to move on. I'm committed to continuing my work to deliver more results for North Carolinians to keep our economy and military strong."

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Burr's office also released a statement Wednesday, explaining the reasons for his vote and stressing his role as an impartial juror:

"In my 25 years representing North Carolina in Congress, I have cast thousands of votes, each with their own significance. I approached today's vote with sober and deliberate consideration, conscious of my Constitutional responsibility to serve as an impartial juror. The Senate's role is to determine whether the House has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and whether, if true, these charges rise to the level of removing the President from office.

"The House had ample opportunity to pursue the answers to its inquiry in order to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. They chose not to do so. Instead, investigators followed an arbitrary, self-imposed timeline dictated by political, rather than substantive, concerns. When due process threatened to slow down the march forward, they took shortcuts.

"The Founding Fathers who crafted our modern impeachment mechanism predicted this moment, and warned against a solely partisan and politically-motivated process. They understood that an impeachment process rooted purely in disagreements about policy would subordinate the Executive to Congress, rather than delineating it as a co-equal branch of our federal government. Instead, they believed issues that do not meet the Constitutional threshold for impeachment should be navigated through our electoral process.

"To remove a U.S. President from office, for the first time in our history, on anything less than overwhelming evidence of 'Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors' would effectively overturn the will of the American people. For these reasons, I voted to acquit the President on both articles of impeachment."

Last week , both senators voted not to allow additional witnesses to testify in the Senate.

The North Carolina Democratic Party issued a written statement about Tillis' vote minutes after the Senate vote Wednesday:

"The president abused the power of his office and then relied on subservient senators like Thom Tillis to cover it up. Even before this process began, Tillis made it clear that he had no intention of honoring his oath to 'do impartial justice' and pursue the facts in this case. Today's vote will follow Senator Tillis for the rest of his life, starting with this November when North Carolinians replace him with an independent voice they can finally trust to put our state's interests before personal political calculations."

The North Carolina GOP also released a statement praising the Senate vote Wednesday:

"Given that the Congressional Democrats failed to either allege or prove that President Trump committed any crime, let alone a high crime or misdemeanor, we strongly believe that the United States Senate has done the right thing in voting to acquit the President and bring this impeachment episode to an end. On behalf of the entire North Carolina Republican Party, I would like to thank Representative Meadows, Senator Tillis, and our entire delegation for their support of the President throughout this sham impeachment process."