Speech ● Congress
For Immediate Release: 
February 5, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today on the Senate impeachment vote this afternoon. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and a link to the video:

Click here to watch the video.
“‘I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’ That is the oath Senators swore on January 16. It is the oath created by Senators when they tried the first impeachment of a President in 1868. It is an oath rooted in the revolution fought by their grandparents to create a republic of laws, not kings. It is an oath whose power derives from its common sense: that a juror must always be impartial for a trial to be fair. And it is an oath made necessary by the fact that Senators are not, as we are not, under normal circumstances, impartial in our work.
“The words chosen for this oath recognize that when our Constitution calls Senators to try impeachments, it calls them away from their role as partisans. When that oath is taken, Senators are supposed to step back from the affiliation of party or political kinship with or opposition to the President on trial. They are required, as the oath plainly states, to ‘[do] impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’
“Madam Speaker, this afternoon, Senators will be asked to vote on the two articles of impeachment the House presented – on abuse of power and the obstruction of Congress. After voting to refuse to hear evidence and call witnesses with pertinent information, nearly all Republican Senators have already announced that they will vote against the articles. In doing so, many of them acknowledged that [what] President Trump did was wrong and inappropriate. They accept that it was wrong for him to withhold military aid to Ukraine until the President of that country promised to interfere in the American elections.
“The evidence of President Trump’s abuse of power and attempt to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election is clear enough that Republican Senators cannot and have not denied the facts. Yet, they cannot bring themselves to confront this President and are choosing party over country. The Senator from Alaska, in explaining her decision to vote to block witnesses and evidence, tried to deflect responsibility from the consequences of her action, writing: ‘I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate,’ she further said ‘…it is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.’
“Madam Speaker, the Congress has not failed. The House did its job – whether you agree or not, by a vote of this House, we impeached the President of the United States based upon our oath to protect and defend our Constitution of the United States. The House did its job and did so with the solemnity required when undertaking the process of impeachment, which we did not seek but accepted as our responsibility under the Constitution. We held hearings, we called witnesses, subpoenaed documents, and many of the witnesses and documents, of course, were withheld by the White House.
“It is the Senate that will fail if Senators do not uphold their oaths to impartial justice. It is the Senate, Madam Speaker, that will fail if it does not hold this President accountable for using a hold on military aid to compel an ally to interfere in our election for his own personal gain.
“History will judge poorly those who choose fear of their party over the courage to do the right thing. History will judge poorly those who choose fear of their party over the courage to do the right thing. Neither the Speaker nor myself, nor the Whip Jim Clyburn urged any Member in our party to vote any way on impeachment. There was no lobbying. There was no pressure. Our Members voted consistent with their oath of office and the conviction that that vote was required by that oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Americans will judge.
“I am often asked why the House passed articles of impeachment even knowing that the odds were slim that Senate Republicans would set aside partisanship and hear the case as impartial jurors. It’s because I know future generations will look back on this chapter in our history and ask: who stood up for the Constitution and the laws? Who stood up for the values our Founders charged us to keep? Who refused to shrink from the heavy responsibilities of their oaths? And I can be proud that the House did its job, followed the law, and defended our Constitution. We did not convict, that is not our role, but essentially we said there was probable cause that powers had been abused, and certainty cause to see that the President refused to cooperate with the Constitutional responsibilities of the House of Representatives.
“I am also proud of the House Managers, as all of my colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle are proud of our Managers, who made their case. They made their case with intellect. They made their case with evidence that had been adduced here in the House. They made their case and appealed to Senators to hold this President accountable, as our Founders intended.  
“Almost everybody has watched the trial either in person or on television. A trial is not an opening argument and a closing argument with nothing in between. Seventy-five percent of our people wanted to have witnesses because that was their understanding of what a trial is. It is not just argument at the beginning and argument at the end, but evidence for jurors who have pledged to be impartial to consider. Any judge in this country would agree that opening and closing statements alone are not a trial. Nevertheless, the House Managers proved their case.
“The truth is clear. The American people know what that truth is and know what this President has done. And they will remember who on this day abided by ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.’”