In this image from video, the vote total, 52-48 for not guilty, on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, is displayed on screen during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.
Photo: Senate Television via AP
Photo: Senate Television via AP

Georgia Democratic Senate candidates would have backed Trump’s conviction

Several top Georgia Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate said they would have voted to convict President Donald Trump on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress, opposing Republican incumbents who defeated an attempt Wednesday to oust him from office.

The candidates competing against newly-appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler and first-term Sen. David Perdue each said they would have joined the push to convict Trump, which ended Wednesday well short of the 67-vote threshold needed to remove him. 

Both Loeffler and Perdue were staunch opponents of impeachment, describing it as a “circus” and a “sham” that distracted the nation’s attention from other pressing political problems.

The Rev. Raphael Warnock, the party-backed candidate who entered the race against Loeffler last week, lamented the maneuver by Senate GOP leaders to reject witnesses, saying they would have helped “ensure fairness and the rule of law.”

“Based on the information presented, I believe an abuse of power occurred and the effort to uncover the truth was obstructed,” he said, “and would have voted to convict on both counts because no one is above the law.”

One of his rivals, Matt Lieberman, praised U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney for being the only Republican to break party lines and voting to remove Trump from office. 

“Were I in the Senate today, and I spoke after Mitt Romney, I would have been tempted to just say 'ditto,’” he said. “We saw a modern-day profile in courage today.”

Former U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver, who filed paperwork this week to join the race against Loeffler, didn’t immediately comment. 

The three leading Democrats challenging Perdue also unequivocally said they would have voted to convict Trump. Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson slammed Perdue, one of Trump’s top allies, for his defense of the president.

“When David Perdue voted today to acquit the president he made an impermissible political decision in a constitutional matter,” she said. 

And Jon Ossoff, an investigative journalist and former 6th District candidate, said Trump’s “conduct warrants removal from office, as it would for any president of any party.”

“By voting to acquit and refusing even to hear witnesses, Senator David Perdue stamps his approval on President Trump's abuse of power,” said Ossoff. “Senator Perdue would never tolerate this conduct from a Democratic president. He knows it and we all know it.”

And Sarah Riggs Amico, the party’s 2018 nominee for lieutenant governor, said through a spokeswoman that the Senate should have permitted witness testimony and that Trump should have been removed “based on the information we have.”

Here’s the full statements from each of the Democrats:

Matt Lieberman:

"Were I in the Senate today, and I spoke after Mitt Romney, I would have been tempted to just say 'ditto.' We saw a modern-day profile in courage today." 

Jon Ossoff: 

"President Trump tried to condition U.S. weapons shipments on personal political favors from a foreign power. Even Republican Senators acknowledge these facts. President Trump's conduct warrants removal from office, as it would for any president of any party. By voting to acquit and refusing even to hear witnesses, Senator David Perdue stamps his approval on President Trump's abuse of power. Senator Perdue would never tolerate this conduct from a Democratic president. He knows it and we all know it.”

Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson: 

“After listening to the evidence presented and the arguments on both sides, I would have voted to convict the president on both counts of impeachment. When David Perdue voted today to acquit the president he made an impermissible political decision in a constitutional matter. Georgians deserve a Senator with the determination and courage to lead, and we are reminded clearly today that we do not have one.”

The Rev. Raphael Warnock:

Every day we call on citizens to serve as impartial jurors in trials that include the presentation of witnesses and evidence. Witnesses and evidence help to ensure fairness and the rule of law. I strongly believe the U.S. Senate should have been held to this same standard and if I were in office I would have respected my oath of impartiality. Based on the information presented, I believe an abuse of power occurred and the effort to uncover the truth was obstructed and would have voted to convict on both counts because no one is above the law.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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