With the Senate gearing up for an impeachment trial in the near future, there has been speculation that there could be a few Democrats who break away from their party and vote against the conviction and removal of President Donald Trump.
Based on his commentary in an interview on Sunday, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) may well be one of those few Democrats who will vote to acquit the president of the charges against him, the Washington Examiner reported.
Not yet convinced
Jones appeared Sunday on ABC’s This Week with guest host Martha Raddatz for a discussion on all things impeachment, and whether he intended to or not, he strongly implied that House Democrats had failed to sufficiently make the case for impeachment. Indeed, the congressman signaled an openness to acquiting President Trump if certain factual “dots” aren’t connected to his satisfaction.
To be sure, the Alabama senator — who faces a tough battle in 2020 to be re-elected in a solidly red state that overwhelmingly supports Trump — prefaced the admission by suggesting that the allegations against the president, if proven true, constituted an “impeachable offense” that was a very “serious matter,” according to USA Today.
However, he also made it rather clear that, at least in his view, the allegations against Trump remain unproven at this point in time, which means the House failed to do its job prior to voting on and passing articles of impeachment.
Wait and see
Asked if he was one of the few Democrats who could “defect” and vote to acquit the president — as had been suggested by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — and what more was necessary for him to cast a vote to convict, Jones initially attempted to avoid answering directly and took a shot at the Republican leader before finally admitting that he still lacked a complete picture for why Trump should be impeached.
Jones reiterated the “serious allegations” and then said: “Quite frankly, I didn’t sit in front of the TV set the entire time the last two or three months. I’ve been trying to read this, I’ve been trying to see if the dots get connected.”
He went on: “If that is the case — and I think it’s a serious matter, I think it’s an impeachable matter — but if those dots aren’t connected and there are other explanations that I think are consistent with innocence, I will go that way too.”
The senator proceeded to suggest that more information was needed to “fill in the gaps” and indicated that the lack of a “full and complete picture” was the fault of President Trump and the administration for refusing to cooperate with the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Watch Jones’ segment below:
Jones: 2020 not a factor
It is also notable, for whatever it may be worth, that Jones stressed it wasn’t political considerations or concerns over his ability to win re-election in 2020 in a bright red state that formed the basis of his potential willingness to acquit President Trump.
Regardless of whether one believes that or not, it sure looks like Sen. Jones has signaled that he may very well break away from the Democrat Party and vote against convicting and removing the president. How such a vote would factor into his tough re-election battle is another story altogether.