Peters will vote to convict Trump, argues no president can have ‘unchecked power’

Gary Peters at the national NAACP convention in Detroit | Andrew Roth

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) said in a floor speech Tuesday that he will vote to convict and remove President Donald Trump, saying “what the president did was wrong, unacceptable and impeachable.”

The GOP-led U.S. Senate is set to hold a final vote Wednesday. Trump will give his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer giving the official Democratic response in East Lansing.

The freshman senator, who’s up for reelection this year, said he “swore an oath to keep an open mind, listen carefully to the facts and in the end, deliver impartial justice.” But Peters said that he believes “the facts are clear” about Trump illegally withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine on the condition that its leader “falsely discredit a likely political opponent [former Vice President Joe Biden].”

As for the trial, Peters said he “expected the president’s lawyers to offer new eyewitness testimony from people with firsthand knowledge and offer new documents … but that did not happen.” 

Peters said it “became very clear to me that the president’s closest advisers could not speak to the president’s innocence and his lawyers did everything in their power to prevent them from testifying under oath.

“No one in this country is above the law; no one — not even the president,” he said.

Peters talked about the “privilege” of participating in an annual bipartisan Senate tradition two years ago of reading President George Washington’s farewell address to the to the Senate. He said he’s “struck by the contrast of where we are today” with Trump’s actions.

“This betrayal is, by definition, a high crime and misdemeanor. If it does not rise to the level of impeachment and removal, I am not sure what would,” Peters said. “The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to hold him accountable. If we do not stand up and defend our democracy during this fragile period, we will be allowing the president, and future presidents, to have unchecked power.

Stabenow says founders ‘lived under a king,’ wonders why GOP seems ‘so eager to give it a try’

“This is not what our founders intended,” Peters continued. “The oath I swore to protect and defend the Constitution demands that I vote to preserve the future of our republic. I will faithfully execute my own, and vote to hold this president accountable for his actions.”

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) said Monday she will also vote the same, as the Advance previously reported.

“The founders were smart; they lived under a king and they had no intention of doing so ever again,” she said. “I have to wonder why so many of my Republican colleagues seem so eager to give it a try.”

“This is the United States of America. In our country, no president is above the law,” she added.

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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.