As the impeachment inquiry plays out in Washington, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D) told NBC Montana that lawmakers have a serious job ahead: consideration of the facts.
At the end of October, Tester told NBC Montana that he supported the majority of House Democrats who voted to begin the formal impeachment investigation process with hearings by three committees in the House of Representatives.
“We’ve got to take this very, very seriously and we have got to get to the facts to prove if there is guilt or not guilt,” Tester told NBC Montana.
Meanwhile, the Billings Gazette reports that Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines says the process is a “witch hunt.” In a statement made the day after the historic House vote, Daines said that the impeachment inquiry is just an attempt by Democrats to overturn the results of the 2016 election.
“This investigation remains in the hands of (House Intelligence Committee Chairman) Adam Schiff and House Democrats who've had their minds made up about impeaching the president since before this investigation began,” Daines said.
He said lawmakers are neglecting important business to focus on the impeachment hearings.
“I’m focused on working for Montana on important issues like lowering the costs of prescription drugs and finalizing important trade agreements,” Daines said in the statement.
The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to impeach. It makes the Senate the sole court for impeachment trials. The job of the three House committees is to determine if there is sufficient evidence that the president has violated his oath of office. If the members decide that he has, the House Judiciary Committee will draw up articles of impeachment for a full House vote.
If the House votes to impeach, it will authorize the Senate to hold a trial. At that point, the process will move to the Senate, Tester says.
“The chief justice will be presiding over the Senate. Basically, the Senate will all be jurors. Hopefully we can depolitize this and move forward in the proper way that is best for the country,” Tester told NBC Montana.