ACLU Statement on Senate Impeachment Vote

February 5, 2020 4:30 pm

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NEW YORK — The U.S. Senate voted 48 to 52 and 47 to 53 to acquit President Donald Trump on charges contained in two articles of impeachment presented by the House of Representatives. Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director, issued the following statement in response:

“Donald Trump’s continuation in office may pose significant threats to civil liberties and civil rights, especially given the potential that he may continue to illegally influence the 2020 election, and hinder investigations of those efforts,” said Anthony D. Romero. “As we promised shortly after Trump’s election, we will continue to hold this administration accountable to the Constitution — as we have for every other administration in our 100-year history. Having already filed over 300 legal actions to stop unconstitutional and unlawful policies from taking effect, we stand ready to continue our fight for the belief that ‘we the people’ means all of us, not just the privileged few.”

In December, the ACLU National Board of Directors voted to support the impeachment process, voting 55-2 in favor of a resolution that states:

“Having considered the ACLU’s mission and policies concerning the protection and advancement of civil liberties, nonpartisanship, and the extraordinary circumstances in which the ACLU shall take a position on the impeachment or removal of a government official,

A majority of the National Board of Directors of the ACLU believe that President Trump has indeed committed impeachable offenses and violated his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution by:

  • abusing the powers of the executive office to further his personal and political interests and not the interests of the nation by withholding Congressionally-appropriated military aid to Ukraine unless that government announced an inquiry into allegations of corruption by former Vice President Biden and his son, as well as an investigation into alleged Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election; and by
  • improperly invoking executive immunity and instructing government officials and agencies to refuse to testify or produce Congressionally-subpoenaed witnesses and documents, thereby improperly obstructing a Congressional investigation; and by
  • obstructing an inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including by firing officials and directing others to lie about the investigation.

The Board also resolved that, over the course of his presidency, the president has abused the rule of law and violated his oath of office, including by:

  1. obstructing an inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including by firing officials and directing others to lie about the investigation; and by
  2. abusing the power of his office to induce Ukraine to assist him in the 2020 election; and by
  3. threatening public officials for performing their lawful duties; and by
  4. obstructing Congress’s efforts to investigate that conduct.

These acts constitute extraordinary circumstances in which President Trump’s continuation in office poses a grave and imminent threat to civil liberties, in particular an ongoing threat that he will continue to pursue illegal means to influence the 2020 election and will continue to impede lawful efforts to reveal any such wrongdoing.

The Board, therefore, supports the impeachment of President Donald Trump.”

That vote marked the second instance in the ACLU’s history in which the National Board of Directors has voted to support impeachment of a president. The organization also supported the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has worked in courts, legislatures, and communities to protect the constitutional rights of all people. With a nationwide network of offices and millions of members and supporters, the ACLU takes on the toughest civil liberties fights in pursuit of liberty and justice for all.

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