Ohio’s two senators split on their votes on both articles of impeachment facing President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, voted to acquit the president on both charges. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, voted to convict the president.
On the abuse of power charge, President Trump was found not guilty by a 52 to 48 vote.
On the obstruction of Congress charge, the president was found not guilty by a 53 to 47 vote.
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, voted to convict the president on the abuse charge, but not the obstruction charge, which caused the different in the vote tally.
Portman said that while he doesn’t condone President Trump’s actions, he was not prepared to remove him from the ballot nine months before the election. “Let the people decide,” he said.
“Trump’s request for an investigation of (Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president) Joe Biden and any effort to tie the release of military aid to investigations were improper and shouldn’t have happened,” Portman said. “However, I do not believe these actions rise to the level where it would be necessary to remove a president from office.”
Before the trial vote, Brown criticized Republican senators for supporting the president.
“I’ve had a number of talks with Republican senators where I asked the question, ‘If you all vote to exonerate this president, if you all vote not guilty, what’s to stop the president from feeling that he got away with this: Trying to steal the election?”
Brown said exchanging such a public act as withholding military aid to an embattled ally in exchange for foreign election meddling clearly is impeachable, and that a Republican acquittal will only embolden Trump further.
“Over the course of this trial we heard overwhelming evidence that President Trump did things Richard Nixon never did – he extorted a bribe from a foreign leader, to put his own presidential campaign above the American people he swore an oath to serve,” said Brown.
Local, Ohio members of Congress react
Other local and Ohio members of Congress also weighed in on the impeachment not that the process is finished, with positions lining up along party lines.
U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said he expects more investigations to be done against President Trump by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
“They’re not going to stop,” Turner said. “They have already announced that they are going to continue to have subpoenas and investigations of the president.”
U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Columbus, posted on her Facebook page that “The Senate GOP put President Donald J. Trump above the Constitution. Sad day for America.” Beatty, a Dayton native, represents most of metro Columbus in Congress.
U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, said Democrats had “their day in court” and it’s time to move on.“The Democrats have had their day in court, and the verdict shows that their biased case was weak and politically motivated,” Davidson said Wednesday after the vote.
“With these proceedings behind us, it is time for Congress to get back to work. As the President said last night, it’s time to reform our broken healthcare system, fund infrastructure, secure our borders, and continue to set America on a course for economic prosperity. We’re in the midst of a blue-collar boom and we should sustain this momentum to benefit all Americans.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, one of the presidents strongest defenders during both the House Oversight and Intelligence Committee impeachment hearings simply tweeted on Wednesday “Truth wins.”
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, said she believes the acquittal of President Trump sets a bad precedent for future presidents of either party.
“Today’s vote to acquit President Trump is as much a reflection of the deep partisan divide in this country as it is a result,” she said. “Despite overwhelming evidence and testimony, I fear President Trump, as well as future presidents of both parties, will be emboldened to undermine our democracy, subvert accountability, and avoid transparency with impunity because of the precedent set by the Senate Majority this evening.”
- Marty Schladen of the Tribune Content Agency contributed to this report.
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