Daines votes to acquit; Tester votes to convict
| February 16, 2021 7:00 AM
Montana’s two senators voted along party lines Saturday in former President Trump’s impeachment trial.
Sen. Jon Tester, a three-term Democrat, said he voted to convict to hold Trump accountable for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“I took my duty to serve as an impartial juror seriously and listened to the evidence presented by the prosecution and defense,” Tester stated. “Ultimately the House Managers presented a clear, evidence-based case that proved to a majority of my Republican and Democratic colleagues that former President Trump incited a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that came within a hundred feet of destroying our democracy. I joined with this group from both parties to defend our Constitution by holding the former president accountable to the rule of law, and sending a powerful signal that politicians must be held accountable if we want our democracy to survive.”
Republican Sen. Steve Daines, who abruptly dropped his opposition to the certification of President Biden’s victory following the Jan. 6 mob attack at the Capitol, said he voted to acquit because the believed the impeachment trial was unconstitutional.
“Jan. 6 will forever be remembered as a very dark day for our country. I’m thankful for the officers who defended our Capitol that day — they are American heroes,” Daines said in a statement following his vote. “I categorically condemn all violence, and I reject extreme rhetoric and radical false conspiracies like QAnon. These values do not represent who we are as Americans.
“I reject the notion that Vice President Pence had the constitutional authority to overturn the election on Jan. 6. It’s simply not true. Vice President Pence faithfully upheld his oath of office and certified the election.
“I voted to acquit President Trump of a second impeachment because I believe the trial was unconstitutional. I do not believe the Senate has the authority to remove a former President from office who is no longer in office. Going forward, the focus must be to arrest and prosecute the domestic terrorists who broke into our Capitol, attacked law enforcement officers, sought to cause harm, and tried to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”