WASHINGTON, D.C. — As they have been repeatedly in the past few years, Utah's two U.S. senators were at odds regarding the former president Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial.
Although both are well-known conservative Republicans, Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney have strongly supported and condemned, respectively, Trump at times through his four years of presidency.
Lee, who is currently in his second term and has been in office since 2011, voted "not guilty" Saturday on the charge that Trump incited the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last month.
Romney broke with his party again — as he did on one of two impeachment articles in Trump's first impeachment trial last year — and voted "guilty."
In 2020, Romney was the sole Republican senator who voted to convict Trump. He also became the first senator in history to do so against an impeached president of his own party.
This time, however, six other Republicans did the same. They were Sens. Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey. It is being called the most bipartisan impeachment trial result in the history of the United States.
All 50 Democratic senators voted to convict, but the 57 votes were not enough to reach the 2/3 requirement and Trump was acquitted for the second time in just over a year.
Both Lee and Romney gave statements Saturday on why they voted the way they did.
- “The House managers’ burden in this trial was to prove first, that the Senate should exercise its impeachment jurisdiction in a case against a former president; and second, that he committed the high crime of inciting an insurrection. The House managers did not clear either hurdle.
- "No one can condone the horrific violence that occurred on January 6, 2021–or President Trump’s words, actions, and omissions on that day. I certainly do not.
- “But, the fact is that the word ‘incitement’ has a very specific meaning in the law, and Donald Trump’s words and actions on January 6, 2021, fell short of that standard. The House rushed its impeachment without an investigation, charged President Trump with a crime it failed properly to allege, and then sat on its poorly worded Article until after he left office.
- “Given the politically suspicious process, the Senate should never have exercised jurisdiction over this Article in the first place. Convicting a former official would be an unprecedented and constitutionally dubious step—never before has the Senate convicted an impeached official after that official has left office. The House managers never demonstrated why that step was necessary in this case.
- “On the contrary, throughout the trial, the House managers repeatedly relied on hearsay, erroneous media reports, and political rhetoric rather than evidence.
- “Faced with the weak presentation of a deficient case demanding unprecedented constitutional action against a private citizen, acquittal was the only option I could deem consistent with the law, the facts, and the Constitution.”
- “After careful consideration of the respective counsels’ arguments, I have concluded that President Trump is guilty of the charge made by the House of Representatives. President Trump attempted to corrupt the election by pressuring the Secretary of State of Georgia to falsify the election results in his state. President Trump incited the insurrection against Congress by using the power of his office to summon his supporters to Washington on January 6th and urging them to march on the Capitol during the counting of electoral votes. He did this despite the obvious and well known threats of violence that day. President Trump also violated his oath of office by failing to protect the Capitol, the Vice President, and others in the Capitol. Each and every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction.”