In a Wednesday morning speech on the U.S. Senate floor in anticipation of an expected ultimate impeachment acquittal vote later today, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) announced that he will “reluctantly” vote to convict President Donald Trump on each of the two articles of impeachment adopted by the U.S. House: “Abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.” Jones has been viewed as one of three possible Democratic senators, along with Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), who could cross party lines and join the overwhelmingly majority of Republican senators expected to vote to acquit Trump.
“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 statement, as reported by The Hill. “[A]fter careful consideration of the evidence developed in the hearings, the public disclosures, the legal precedents, and the trial, I believe the president deliberately and unconstitutionally obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the investigation in any way.”
“The president’s actions placed his personal interests well above the national interests and threatened the security of the United States, our allies in Europe, and our ally Ukraine,” Jones added. “His actions were more than simply inappropriate. They were an abuse of power.”
Jones’ decision leaves Manchin and Sinema as the remaining Democrats who still might join Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the majority of his Republican caucus in voting to acquit President Trump of his impeachment charges. Moderate Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) have each announced their intent to vote to acquit the president, which leaves freshman Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) as the only Republican senator still considered to be a possible defector.
Jones shocked the political world in 2017, winning a special election over the deeply polarizing and scandal-plagued Roy Moore to secure a Democratic Senate seat from one of the reddest and most conservative states in the country. Accordingly, Jones, who is on the ballot this November, is widely considered to be the single most politically vulnerable Senate Democrat. As The Hill notes, a “JMC Analytics and Polling survey released late last year found that 39% of voters in Alabama support impeaching Trump, compared to 54% who oppose it.”
The Alabama Senate Republican primary is a crowded field, but there is no bigger name than Jeff Sessions — the man who long held this very Senate seat before abdicating it to assume the role of the Trump administration’s first attorney general. Other candidates include Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, Moore, and State Sen. Arnold Mooney. Assuming Moore does not prevail, whichever candidate does emerge from the Republican primary will assuredly become an immediate general election favorite over Jones.
“A new poll on the 2020 Alabama U.S. Senate race finds an uphill race ahead for incumbent Doug Jones, but also no Republican candidate breaking from the pack,” local CBS affiliate WHNT News reported in December. “The poll found also shows Jones with a solid lead over Republican Roy Moore, 47 to 33 with 20% undecided. … But in match-ups against the leading GOP contenders, including Sessions, … Tuberville, and … Byrne, Jones trails.”