Arkansas' two U.S. Senators are leaning against an impeachment vote, but are taking the issue seriously as jurors.
Both U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton have indicated their support for President Trump in an impending impeachment trial.
"Senator Boozman believes that nothing he has seen so far rises to the level of an impeachable offense," a spokesman for the senator wrote by email Wednesday. "The fact that his Republican colleagues in the House have all echoed the same sentiment further reinforces that view for him. He has been concerned from the onset that the Speaker took a very partisan approach to appease her party’s base, with the predictable result of further dividing the country.
"Senator Boozman takes his responsibilities as a juror very seriously as this moves forward to a Senate trial, but he remains skeptical that the articles of impeachment considered by the House merit removal given House Democrats’ intentions and the unconvincing public case they have made so far."
A spokesman for Cotton pointed to a Dec. 3 interview with Hugh Hewitt at HughHewitt.com.
"You know, in 1998, there was a unanimous resolution to structure the Clinton impeachment trial. I’m not sure that that’s going to be the case in today’s Senate," Cotton said in the interview. "But if they send articles of impeachment over here, I think we’ll take a careful look at them ... But I also believe the President also wants to actually put on a genuine defense of his actions. That’s what I’ve heard from him, you know, in his public statements and from my conversations with people in the White House, that he views the Senate as a place where he can actually get a fair proceeding to present the evidence and arguments in his defense, unlike the star chamber in the House."
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, issued the following statement Wednesday evening following his speech on the House floor against impeachment.
“Today is a sad day for our country and the people’s House," Womack said. "Instead of fighting for priorities that will make a difference in the lives of American families, House Democrats have focused a majority of their agenda on this impeachment moment. It has consumed them since the hour they learned the results of the 2016 election. It’s exactly why we witnessed an inquiry driven by politics, hearsay, and a pre-determined outcome — not one rooted in fairness or facts. And, for the first time in history, impeachment is expected to move forward with a party-line vote. Although this process is likely to end in the Senate, some Democrats have already stated that it won’t stop their work to remove a duly-elected President. It’s yet another signal that the intent has always been political. I regret that these actions have further divided our nation and blocked progress on issues that contribute to the strength of Arkansas and America. I truly hope that we can move forward, remember the many things that unite us, and get back to bridging the gap on the numerous challenges facing our nation.”
U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman issued the following statement on Wednesday night.
“This is the day Democrats have been planning since the American people duly elected President Trump. Over the past few months, the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees have neglected legislative work and instead spent taxpayer dollars handpicking witnesses and hearing secondhand testimony. Adam Schiff’s closed-door hearings allowed him to selectively leak information that fit his narrative. Judiciary Committee’s only witnesses were law school professors and congressional staff. Democrats’ original claims of bribery didn’t even make it into the final articles of impeachment.
“Over and over, House Democrats have proved this is a sham process. It’s been an ever-changing narrative, dictated by primetime ratings and whatever happened to be polling well that day. For these and many other reasons, I voted against the articles of impeachment. This is one of the most serious and divisive tools Congress can use, and every other presidential impeachment had bipartisan support throughout. In this case, the only bipartisan votes have been cast against impeachment proceedings.
“Alexander Hamilton said it best in 1788, when writing Federalist No. 65: ‘In many cases it [impeachment] will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.’ We should all be concerned about the damage these antics do to our Republic.
“I hope now that this vote is behind us Congress can focus on working for the people, and take up initiatives like fixing our health care, reforming forest management and lowering prescription drug costs.”