Democrat Doug Jones facing reelection headwinds as he votes to convict Trump

Sen. Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat facing an uphill reelection battle in 2020, said he will vote to convict President Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment.

Posted: Feb 5, 2020 5:40 PM
Updated: Feb 5, 2020 5:40 PM

If there were any senator to vote against his party on the impeachment of President Donald Trump for the sake of his own political preservation, it should be Doug Jones.

The Alabama Democrat represents a state that Trump won in 2016 by more than 27 points. In 2017, Jones beat Roy Moore, a twice-defrocked state Supreme Court Justice accused of sexual misconduct with teenagers, by a point and a half. Jones is now running for reelection and will likely face a much tougher Republican opponent this fall.

But on Wednesday, Jones said that he will vote to convict and remove Trump from office on two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In December, the Democratic-controlled House passed both articles of impeachment against the President for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his 2020 political rival, former vice president Joe Biden, while withholding military aid as leverage.

"There will be so many who will simply look at what I'm doing today and say it is a profile in courage," Jones said of the Senate floor Wednesday. "It is not. It is simply a matter of right and wrong. Where doing right is not a courageous act. It is simply following your oath."

Republicans said Jones' decision would be his downfall. The Senate Leadership Fund, a Super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, released a statement on Jones' "impending retirement from politics." The Senate Republican campaign-arm said Jones had "given up" on representing Alabama. And his home state Republican Party said Jones was taking "his marching orders from Chuck Schumer," the Senate's Democratic leader.

Jeff Sessions, Trump's former attorney general who is now running to get his old seat back, tweeted, "In voting to remove our duly-elected President, Doug Jones personifies the left's irrational enmity against @realDonaldTrump."

The impeachment trial had already infected the Senate race. Last month, America First Policies, a pro-Trump Super PAC, announced it would air anti-impeachment ads in Alabama costing about $450,000. His potential Republican opponents have been raising money off of their support of the president, while Jones' campaign gathered names for its fundraising list.

Throughout the Senate trial, Jones called for new witnesses, including those with first-hand knowledge of the events, like former national security John Bolton, who declined to come before the House but would've testified before the Senate. In the end, Senate Republicans blocked the vote.

Jones was particularly concerned by the arguments of Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus and high-profile defense attorney on Trump's defense team. A week ago, Dershowitz argued, "If a president did something that he believes will help him get elected in the public interest that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment."

Jones said in a statement Wednesday that he was "deeply troubled" to hear that Trump's defense team had argued in favor of "virtually unchecked presidential power."

He took diligent notes, saying in a video released last week that was up to almost 390 pages. He bemoaned the partisanship nature of today versus the Nixon era, how the country is divided into echo chambers and by social media, and yearned for the days when Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley gave the country a "set of common facts" from which people made judgments.

In his statement, Jones said that he made his decision after "many sleepless nights." He said that the first charge --abuse of power -- was met since Trump "placed his personal interests well above the national interests." He said that he had to convict since impeachment was "the only check on such presidential wrongdoing."

Jones then explained that the second charge -- obstruction of Congress -- "gave me even more pause." But he concluded that that Trump "deliberately and unconstitutionally" refused to cooperate with the House investigation "in any way."

"To do otherwise risks guaranteeing that no future whistleblower or witness will ever come forward and no future President -- Democrat or Republican -- will be subject to congressional oversight as mandated by the Constitution," said Jones.

After he gave his speech, Jones was less inclined to discuss the political ramifications of his decision.

When asked whether his vote would cost him his seat, Jones told reporters, "I don't know if it does or not."

"Y'all are the ones that care more about the politics and the elections," he added.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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