WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) announced on the Senate floor that she will vote to acquit President Trump and against both articles of impeachment. She also called on the Senate to return to normal legislative business and work to advance policies that benefit Nebraskans and all Americans.
Senator Fischer’s full remarks:
Mr. President, I rise to voice my opposition to these articles of impeachment.
I want the people of Nebraska to know how I will vote and why as the Senate prepares for the trial’s final vote.
I took an oath to uphold the Constitution and I have a responsibility to be an impartial juror during the trial.
I have given fair and careful consideration to the evidence presented during this trial and I have engaged in the questioning process.
This is a process that should be about facts and fairness, and that’s what the Senate has done its very best to do.
But the reality is that the House of Representatives didn’t do its job.
Under the Constitution and by precedent, an impeachment investigation is the responsibility of the House, not the Senate.
Hearings in the House inquiry during the Nixon impeachment investigation lasted for 14 months.
The Clinton impeachment House inquiry relied on years of prior investigation and overwhelming amounts of testimony from firsthand witnesses.
President Trump’s inquiry in the House was deeply partisan and lasted only 12 weeks.
Disturbingly, there was a lack of due process during this House investigation.
The president was not allowed to have his lawyers cross-examine witnesses at the House Intelligence Committee hearings and depositions.
This is the committee that was the lead on investigative hearings.
Shockingly, the president of the United States was prevented from participating in the House’s impeachment for 71 of the 78 days of investigation.
Our founding document protects the rights of the accused.
The Constitution explicitly states that no one should “be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
Our blueprint for freedom protects all individuals’ rights whether that person is a truck driver, a farmer, a businesswoman, or the President of the United States.
The third branch of government – our court system – is of foundational importance and we have it for a reason.
That reason is to provide every American with the opportunity to have justice in a fair way, in accordance with the Constitution and the rule of law.
But because House Democrats were in a rush to impeach the president before their holiday break, they decided to abandon the courts completely.
It was the House’s constitutional right to subpoena witnesses.
It was the president’s constitutional right to assert privilege.
And it was the court’s constitutional right to enforce subpoenas.
The House did not petition the court to enforce subpoenas.
Short-circuiting the process led to an incomplete investigation by the House.
Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution provides that, “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.”
If the Senate were to become the fact finder in an impeachment investigation, it would completely change the role of the Senate from this point forward.
This hallowed chamber – the greatest deliberative body in the world – would become an investigative arm of the House.
Setting this precedent would have a devastating effect on our political institution, transforming the very nature of the Senate during impeachment hearings for generations to come.
The Senate is supposed conduct a fair trial, protect the Constitution, and guarantee due process of law.
My Republicans colleagues and I understand the gravity of these proceedings.
The record shows that President Clinton’s impeachment trial was met with a motion filed by Senator Byrd to dismiss the articles of impeachment early on.
This time, not a single Senator filed such a motion.
We approached this process with the seriousness it deserves.
Senate Republicans supported a resolution that gave the House managers more than ample time to lay out their case.
Since then, we’ve heard an extraordinary amount of information over the last two weeks.
The House managers presented 192 video clips with testimony from 13 witnesses, and submitted more than 28,000 pages of documents.
Senators then submitted 180 questions.
After two weeks of trial arguments, the House managers failed to make a compelling case that the president should be removed from office.
Therefore, I will vote for the president’s acquittal.
I firmly believe it is time for the Senate to move forward and return to the people’s business.
It’s time to refocus our attention on our bipartisan work – providing for our service members, caring for our veterans, funding research to cure diseases that cut short too many lives, fighting opioid addiction and improving our criminal justice system.
So I speak to Nebraskans, and to all Americans, in urging every senator in this chamber to have the courage, the heart, and the vision to move past this process and work together towards a brighter future for generations to come.
That should be our mindset at this pivotal moment.
That should be our mindset in everything we do.
I urge my colleagues to take the long view and fulfill our constitutional role.
Let’s reunite around our common goals and values.
Let’s bring this process to its end – and advance policies that will make life better for Nebraskans and all Americans.
Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.