Dec 21, 2019

Jeff Flake urges former GOP colleagues to "put country over party" in impeachment

Former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Jeff Flake urged his former GOP colleagues to "put country over party," as the chamber prepares for President Trump's impeachment trial, the ex-Arizona senator wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

What he's saying: Flake writes that some Republicans may conclude that Trump's action warrant removal from office, while others will believe the president's misdeeds don't rise to the level of impeachment. "But what is indefensible is echoing House Republicans who say that the president has not done anything wrong. He has."

Why it matters: Flake served in the Senate from 2013 to 2019. He was a frequent critic of Trump and fellow Republicans who defended the president's actions. Flake announced he would not seek re-election in 2017, noting to The Arizona Republic "there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party."

Highlights:

  • "Personally, I have never met anyone whose behavior can be described as perfect, but so often has the president repeated this obvious untruth that it has become a form of dogma in our party."
  • "As we approach the time when you do your constitutional duty and weigh the evidence arrayed against the president, I urge you to remember who we are when we are at our best. And I ask you to remember yourself at your most idealistic."
  • "My simple test for all of us: What if President Barack Obama had engaged in precisely the same behavior? I know the answer to that question with certainty, and so do you. You would have understood with striking clarity the threat it posed, and you would have known exactly what to do."
  • "The willingness of House Republicans to bend to the president’s will by attempting to shift blame with the promotion of bizarre and debunked conspiracy theories has been an appalling spectacle. It will have long-term ramifications for the country and the party, to say nothing of individual reputations."

The bottom line: "President Trump is on trial. But in a very real sense, so are you. And so is the political party to which we belong," Flake writes.

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Trump says on Christmas Eve Pelosi "hates the Republican Party"

President Trump on Dec. 24. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday at his Mara-a-Lago estate in Florida lashed out against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats involved in his impeachment after exchanging holiday greetings with soldiers stationed around the globe, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Trump said Pelosi "hates the Republican Party," and "all of the people who voted for me and the Republican Party" in the 2016 elections. He said the speaker is "doing a tremendous disservice to the country" for impeaching him.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

As she prepares to finally send over the articles of impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is warning there could be a "cover-up" to protect President Trump in the Republican-led Senate. Republicans, meanwhile, are testing ways to use the trial as a wedge issue on Democrats.

Driving the news: Pelosi is expected to name House managers this week after consulting with her caucus at a meeting on Tuesday morning. She'll deliver the articles shortly after, though the precise timing is still unclear.

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President Trump in the White House on Jan. 17. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump's defense team released their arguments on Saturday for the impeachment trial in the Senate starting next week — and House Democrats quickly labeled the president's response as fundamentally wrong.

What they're saying: Trump's full response to House Democrat's case for impeachment argues the articles "violate the Constitution" and are "defective in their entirety." His defense further characterized the impeachment process as "nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their right to vote."

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