GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program to air on Sunday that he believes President Donald Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine were “wrong” but they did not come close to the level of impeachment.
During the interview, the Tennessee Republican defended his decision to vote ‘no’ for new impeachment witnesses in the Senate’s trial of the president.
He added that he didn’t need more evidence to conclude President Trump’s actions were “wrong” but that they were “a long way from treason, bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors.”
“Well, I mean, if you have eight witnesses who say someone left the scene of an accident, why do you need nine? I mean, the question for me was, do I need more evidence to conclude that the president did what he did? And I concluded no,” Alexander said.
Alexander noted further that President Trump “called the president of Ukraine and asked him to become involved in investigating Joe Biden” and “at least, in part, he delayed the military and other assistance to Ukraine in order to encourage that investigation. Those are the two things he did. I think he shouldn’t have done it. I think it was wrong.”
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said last year that he was unaware that the White House had temporarily delayed sending lethal military aid to help his country battle against Russian-backed rebels. The aid was delivered after a short delay.
Last month, the Justice Department cleared the president of any wrongdoing involving Ukraine.
Alexander further explained his ‘no’ vote.
“It struck me, really for the first time, early last week, that we’re not just being asked to remove the president from office,” he told NBC News’ Chuck Todd. “We’re saying, tell him he can’t run in the 2020 election, which begins Monday in Iowa.”
The Tennessee Republican added he would have voted the same way had it not been an election year.
He said “what he did is a long way from treason, bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors. I don’t think it’s the kind of inappropriate action that the framers would expect the Senate to substitute its judgment for the people in picking a president.”
Sen. Alexander: “The only question left is who decides what to do about that.”@ChuckTodd: “Well, who decides what to do about that?”
Sen. Alexander: “The people."https://t.co/e2zuGVVrTa pic.twitter.com/EAkb08kJCx
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) February 1, 2020