The Republican U.S. senators from Kansas voted with the GOP majority Wednesday to acquit President Donald Trump of both impeachment charges filed by the House.
Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Jerry Moran said House prosecutors failed during the three-week Senate trial to prove Trump engaged in abuse of power while trying to leverage U.S. aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Both Kansas senators also voted against a charge Trump engaged in obstruction of Congress to boost his re-election.
"The prosecution did not prove President Trump committed any impeachable offense," Roberts said. "I believe that the president should be acquitted from both charges. Removal from office is not warranted."
Moran said he voted against the articles because framers of the U.S. Constitution sought to reserve removal of a president from office for rare circumstances. The Democratic-controlled House's case against Trump raised the prospect of future U.S. presidents serving at the pleasure of Congress, he said.
"The House failed to meet its evidentiary burden and attempted to shift that burden to the Senate," Moran said. "Regardless, additional evidence or witnesses would not change the material underlying facts describing the president’s actions. These actions are not 'high crimes and misdemeanors' as described by the Constitution, and therefore, I voted no on conviction and removal of the president."
Moran said House managers at the trial argued acts of bribery were contained in the article of impeachment on abuse of power despite lack of evidence in the record to satisfy elements of that crime.
"The Senate cannot substitute its own charges or charges made by House managers on the floor for those contained within the four corners of the House-passed articles of impeachment," Moran said.
Roberts, who decided against seeking re-election in 2020, expressed frustration with House members who made statements suggesting members of the Senate were on trial.
"House managers were both incorrect and demanding, constantly stating that Senators had no choice but to agree with their line of reasoning and if we did not, then we would deal with the consequences. A veiled threat yet to be defined," Roberts said.
Conviction of Trump on impeachment charges required 67 votes in the Senate. The abuse of power vote was 52-48 for acquittal and the obstruction charge was rejected 53-47.
U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan., said the House's impeachment "threatened the very core of the republic," while the Senate's acquittal "closes a dark chapter in our nation's history."
U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall and Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, both GOP candidates for Roberts' seat in the U.S. Senate, said the impeachment gamble by Democrats was a flop. Both have sought support of Trump supporters in the primary race and have denounced Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Barbara Bollier.
"After months of time and energy wasted on this impeachment witch hunt, Congress and the American people can finally move on to the things that actually matter to hardworking families in Kansas," Marshall said.
Wagle lauded U.S. senators who "stood up today against the left" and questioned whether Bollier was aligned with "the liberals who recruited her to run or does she stand with the people of Kansas?"