WASHINGTON (AP) — Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, the most endangered Democrat in this November’s elections, said Wednesday that he will vote to convict President Donald Trump as the Senate impeachment trial reaches its climax.
“After many sleepless nights, I have reluctantly concluded that the evidence is sufficient to convict the president for both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress,” Jones said in a written statement.
Jones’ announcement was significant for Democrats, who are hoping their party will present a united front by unanimously voting to remove Trump from office. That would deny Trump and his GOP allies a campaign season talking point that the Senate’s virtually certain acquittal of Trump was bipartisan.
Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are among other Democrats being closely watched for their votes later Wednesday.
It would take 67 votes in the Republican-dominated Senate — two-thirds of senators — to remove Trump. No Republicans have indicated so far that they will vote to convict.
Jones had long indicated that he’d been troubled by Trump’s actions pressuring Ukraine to seek harmful information on political foe Joe Biden.
Even so, Jones faces reelection this fall from a heavily Republican state that Trump carried by 28 percentage points in 2016. Many people didn’t rule out that the former federal prosecutor might decide to acquit Trump on at least one of the two counts.
Jones said the impeachment article accusing Trump of obstructing Congress’ investigation of his behavior gave him the most trouble. He said Wednesday that while he wished House investigators had pushed harder for more documents and witnesses, “I believe the president deliberately and unconstitutionally obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the investigation in any way.”
He said he believes “the evidence clearly proves” that Trump was guilty of the first count of abusing his power.