Weekly Democratic Address
December 20, 2019
Hi, I’m U.S. Senator Chris Coons, from Delaware.
This has been a solemn week in the United States Congress, one where all of us have been challenged and reminded to put our country over party, and the interests of the American people ahead of partisan politics.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen an overwhelming amount of evidence that clearly suggests President Trump engaged in serious misconduct – that he pressured and bribed a vulnerable foreign country to help him in his upcoming reelection effort, and then he refused to hand over any relevant documents or testimony in order to cover that up.
These are grave allegations, and every Democrat in the United States Senate takes them very seriously.
Our Founders insisted that no one – not even the President – is above the law, and this fundamental principle remains the linchpin of our system of government.
To ensure that principle is upheld, the Founders entrusted Congress with the sacred responsibility, the power of impeachment.
I can tell you exactly what the Constitution says about that:
The House is given, quote, “the sole Power of Impeachment.”
The Senate is given, quote, “the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”
The House has fulfilled its role – it conducted an open and a fair and an evenhanded inquiry that focused on two demonstrable charges of misconduct by the president: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
It’s now time for the Senate to fulfill its role – to conduct a fair and thorough impeachment trial to hold the President accountable.
Right now, though, Senate Republicans don’t seem willing to conduct a fair trial, and haven’t even been willing to discuss it with our caucus leadership.
Democrats have taken the first move to establish a bipartisan process here in the Senate. We put forward a reasonable structure that allows all the evidence to be heard and for each side to make its case. That’s how any trial should work.
How we conduct this trial will be the most important test in a generation for whether the Senate remains capable of putting aside our partisan differences, enforcing the law and living up to the role entrusted to us by the Constitution.
I hope my Republicans colleagues take that seriously and will put country over party and consider the facts that should be in front of us.
This is a very serious moment for our country, it’s also important that Congress continue to do its job and get things done for the American people.
The House, in control of the Democratic Party, has passed over 300 pieces of significant legislation – bills to reduce health care and prescription drug costs, to address climate change, to deal with gun violence, to improve the federal government’s response to gender-based violence, and many, many more.
But the Republican Majority here in the Senate refuses to act on any of those bills, the majority of which are bipartisan. Instead, those bills have been buried in Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard. That’s helping no one.
Senate Democrats have made it clear – we are willing and able to hold the President accountable and pass legislation on behalf of the American people at the same time.
We can – and should – do both.
We will do everything we can to ensure that our Constitution is upheld, and our President is held accountable, and we will remain focused on getting things done for our nation.