Senator Doug Jones on Impeachment: Policy Before Politics

Dakota Layton | December 20, 2019
Doug Jones Floor Speech on Donald Trump
Doug Jones Floor Speech on Donald Trump

On Thursday afternoon, Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) tweeted:

“In the past week, Congress has passed my bills to end the military widow’s tax, permanently fund HBCUs and to simplify the FAFSA application. That’s the work I came to the Senate to do — not to sit as a juror during the impeachment of a president.”

Jones’ provision to eliminate the military widow’s tax became part of the final National Defense Authorization act that is expected to be signed into law by President Trump today.

Jones also celebrated the passage of the FUTURE Act that ensures permanent funding for Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs). It was signed into law by President Trump yesterday.

According to Daniel Uria of United Press International, “The law also includes reforms to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, program eliminating a process that required some students to verify IRS documentation with the Department of Education for their aid to be released.”

Jones continued his series of tweets on the articles of impeachment:

“But when the articles of impeachment come to the Senate, my colleagues and I will each take an oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution. That oath, along with the oath I took to protect and defend the Constitution, will be my guide throughout this process.”

“As I have said from the beginning, the President deserves a fair trial and so do the American people. I have consistently said that we need to hear from firsthand witnesses and have access to relevant documents.”

“As a juror sworn to do impartial justice, I believe I should reserve judgment and let the process unfold without political interference — and I strongly encourage my colleagues to do the same.”

“This is a serious constitutional matter and with the eyes of history upon us, I am praying that the Senate proceeds with the best interests of the country and the Constitution in mind.”

Jones is clearly trying to shift the focus away from the partisan politics that have clouded the entire impeachment process from the inquiry instituted by House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to the passage of the articles of impeachment this week and instead focus on policies and issues affecting every-day Americans. Jones is widely viewed as the most vulnerable Senate Democrat up for re-election in 2020 since he will share the ballot with President Trump in a state that he won by 28 points in 2016.

Pelosi is currently withholding the articles of impeachment from being sent to the Senate since Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has declared that he will not be an impartial juror in the impeachment trial (Senators take an oath to be an impartial juror during the trial) and he is coordinating strategy for how to handle the trial with the President’s personal attorneys. Pelosi is hoping that by withholding the articles, McConnell will allow a fair trial that will include testimony from Democrat’s desired witnesses including former national security advisor, John Bolton and current acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Until Speaker Pelosi sends the articles to the Senate, an impeachment trial cannot take place.

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