- Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah announced on Wednesday that he would vote to convict President Donald Trump of abuse of power.
- “I think the case was made,” said Romney, who was one of just two Republican senators who broke with their party to support a motion to call new witnesses in Trump’s trial, though it ultimately failed.
- “Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine,” Romney said.
- Romney said he would not vote to convict Trump of obstructing Congress.
- The Senate is set to hold a final vote on whether to convict or acquit Trump of the two charges against him – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – at about 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah announced on Wednesday that he would vote to convict President Donald Trump of abuse of power.
“I think the case was made,” Romney told The New York Times in an interview on Wednesday morning.
The Utah Republican said that he would not vote to convict Trump of obstruction of Congress, however, and that Democrats did not use all their legal options to obtain further evidence and bring forward more witnesses.
He was one of two Republican senators who broke with their party to support a motion to call witnesses, though it ultimately failed.
In a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Romney signalled that he expected to face harsh criticism from fellow Republicans. “Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences, other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?” he said.
The Republican lawmaker was alluding to the oath of impartiality senators took at the start of the trial whose last words are “so help me God.”
Sen. Mitt Romney says he knows he will receive brutal criticism for his vote: "Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences, other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?" https://t.co/pZ46hjTyU1 pic.twitter.com/BnW9SfCXaM
— ABC News (@ABC) February 5, 2020
Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told the Atlantic staff writer McKay Coppins on Tuesday that he prayed for guidance throughout the impeachment proceedings.
“This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life,” Romney told Coppins.
“I have gone through a process of very thorough analysis and searching, and I have prayed through this process,” Romney added. “But I don’t pretend that God told me what to do.”
In his speech on the Senate floor, Romney said that while he approved of much of what Trump had done as president, he was required to put his “personal feelings and political biases aside” to uphold a “promise before God to imply impartial justice.”
Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, excoriated Trump over his efforts to urge Ukraine into launching investigations into his political rivals.
“Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine,” Romney said.
BREAKING: Sen. Romney: “The president is guilty of a flagrant abuse of public trust … Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one's oath of office that I can imagine.”https://t.co/UliKNA7kUh pic.twitter.com/yJbkWReNw4
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 5, 2020
Trump was impeached in December, charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Both articles of impeachment related to his efforts to strong-arm Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election while he withheld $US391 million in vital military aid and dangled a White House meeting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately sought and still hasn’t gotten.
At the centre of the impeachment inquiry was a July 25 phone call during which Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter over the latter’s employment on the board of the Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings.
Trump also asked Zelensky to help discredit the Russia inquiry by investigating a bogus conspiracy theory suggesting Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election to help Democrats and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Documents and testimony from more than a dozen witnesses eventually revealed that the July call was just one data point in a months-long effort by Trump and his allies, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, to leverage the weight of the US government and foreign policy to force Ukraine into acceding to his political demands.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.