White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said she hopes for a “full and fair” Senate trial after the House of Representatives on Dec. 18 voted to oust President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment.
Speaking to reporters before the historic vote, which fell almost exclusively along party lines, Conway said the Senate could “breeze through” the two charges of impeachment against the president; the abuse of power impeachment article which was approved 230-197, and the Obstruction of Congress article which passed 229-198.
Trump’s senior adviser noted that Trump was not charged with “meaty ones [charges] that actually appear in the Constitution like treason and bribery, high crimes and misdemeanor,” reported Fox News.
Conway added she doesn’t “have an endorsement for [a] short,” trial, but for one that is “full and fair.”
She described the House impeachment debate as a “solemn and sad” day, but emphasized that Trump does not see it as a stain on his legacy.
“I think the day is solemn and sad, but not quite the way that the Democrats and Speaker Pelosi are describing it,” Conway told reporters. “I think it’s a sad, solemn day because it never should happen.”
“You can’t promise people treason, bribery, extortion, high crimes and misdemeanor, collusion, quid pro quos, and then come up with very spare, very specious articles of impeachment.”
“I think it’s an add water and stir day,” Conway added. “The proceeding is preordained.”
Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached—his impeachment marking the most partisan in U.S. history, with all of the Republicans voting no on the resolution.
Two Democrats—Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)—broke ranks with their party to vote no on the first article of impeachment. Rep. Justin Amash, an independent from Michigan who left the Republican Party earlier this year, voted with the Democrats. Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) joined Van Drew and Peterson in voting no on the second article of impeachment. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) voted “present” on both articles.
The impeachment resolution alleges that Trump abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival and that the president obstructed justice when Democrats began to investigate the matter. The president has vehemently denied both allegations.
Republicans say impeachment is a partisan effort to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election. Democrats say their support of the resolution stems from a constitutional duty.
SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2019
Trump has slammed the process as a hoax and called the impeachment an “ASSAULT ON AMERICA” on Twitter just hours before the vote.
Responding to the results of the impeachment vote, Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, described the process as a “cold, calculated, and concocted … sham.”
“And the only part of the vote that was bipartisan was in opposition. The president is just getting stronger while support for the Democrats’ political theater has faded,” Parscale said in a statement. “Undeterred, President Trump keeps racking up victories for the American people, who will respond by resoundingly reelecting him next November.”
The White House press secretary said Trump’s “sham” impeachment marks “the culmination in the House of one of the most shameful political episodes in the history of our Nation.”
“Without receiving a single Republican vote, and without providing any proof of wrongdoing, Democrats pushed illegitimate articles of impeachment against the president through the House of Representatives. Democrats have chosen to proceed on this partisan basis in spite of the fact that the president did absolutely nothing wrong.”
Trump was denied fundamental fairness and due process under the law, the statement continued.
“The House blatantly ignored precedent and conducted the inquiry in secrecy behind closed doors so that Chairman Adam Schiff and his partisan political cronies could selectively leak information to their partners in the media to push a false narrative.”
Having cleared the House, the Democrats’ impeachment articles will be sent to the Senate, which will hold a historic trial in 2020 on whether to acquit the 45th president or convict and remove him from office.
A supermajority vote by two-thirds of the Senate (67 votes) is required to convict and remove the president, meaning 20 Republicans would need to get on board. Republicans hold a majority in the Senate and have shown no interest in removing Trump, who wields a 95 percent approval rating among Republican voters.
“The president is confident the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process, all of which were ignored in the House proceedings,” the press secretary statement read. “He is prepared for the next steps and confident that he will be fully exonerated. President Trump will continue to work tirelessly to address the needs and priorities of the American people, as he has since the day he took office.
Ivan Pentchoukov and Reuters contributed to this report.