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What U.S. senators said on day before vote to acquit or convict Trump

It is the eve of the final day of President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. Senators are scheduled to vote Wednesday whether to convict Trump of the two impeachment charges brought against him: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Although acquittal is all but certain, the lawmakers still seemed to take very seriously the opportunity to share their own views. Lisa Desjardins reports.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Today is the eve of the decisive day in the trial of President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

    Ahead of the crucial votes, members of the United States Senate spent this day speaking their minds.

    Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    At the Capitol, the impeachment jury is silent no more.

  • Man:

    So, I may begin Mr. President. Thank you.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    One by one…

  • Woman:

    Mr. President, I rise to voice my opposition to these articles of impeachment.

  • Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.:

    I will vote to convict the president because it is the Senate's constitutional responsibility.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    … senators took turns processing two weeks of arguments, during which they were forbidden from speaking, into 10 minutes of remarks each.

  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.:

    The Senate must now ask, do these charges meet the standard for impeachment?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    For most Democrats, the focus was sharp, the president, and a conclusion that his push to investigate a political rival was a high crime.

  • Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass.:

    Donald Trump did it. He did it. He did exactly what he was alleged to have done. He abused his power. He committed impeachable crimes. He's guilty. There's no question about it.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

    President Trump took this action to benefit himself personally, and not for the good of the nation.

  • Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.:

    What the president did was wrong, unacceptable and impeachable.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Democrats have waited days for this, honing thoughts in hallways and in private. And so have Republicans.

    Their focus? Largely blasting House Democrats' impeachment process.

  • Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine:

    The House chose to skip the basic steps of judicial adjudication, and instead leapt straight to impeachment as the first resort.

  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.:

    There is no doubt that the House impeachment process was partisan, politically driven, and denied President Trump some of his most basic rights of due process.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    As it did in the trial, the witness question and the decision not to call any permeated the air, with Democrats bluntly critical.

  • Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn.:

    That the Senate abandoned its responsibilities when it blocked efforts to get the complete truth here in this chamber. As a result, there will be a permanent cloud over these proceedings.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:

    It makes people believe, correctly, in my judgment, that the administration, its top people and Senate Republicans are all hiding the truth. They're afraid of the truth.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    To that high-powered charge, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell responded with his own volley at Democrats.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    I can certainly see why, given President Trump's remarkable achievements over the past three years, Democrats might feel a bit uneasy about defeating him at the ballot box. But they don't get to rip the choice away from the voters just because they're afraid they might lose again.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    That party divide is evident even in the search for meaning, Democrats concerned for the future.

  • Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.:

    Unchallenged evil spreads like a virus.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Republicans eager to get to the future.

  • Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.:

    Work together, we must. We will emerge strong, because we will. I yield the floor.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The Senate votes on articles of impeachment tomorrow.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

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