Virginia’s senators aim to ensure ‘fair and honest’ impeachment trial

Virginia News

President Donald Trump became just the third president in history to be impeached by Congress this week.

The House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment late Wednesday night, almost strictly along party-lines: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. What comes next is somewhat up in the air. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, has not yet said if or when she will send the articles of impeachment to the other side of the Capitol. There is no language in the Constitution about this in-between step.

Even as an impeached President, Trump will remain in office unless the Senate votes to remove him from office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., announces the passage of the first article of impeachment against President Donald Trump (House Television via AP) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks to his office on Capitol Hill (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, has signaled his party’s majority would move to acquit the president of the charges against him.

Still, without a clear path or timeline going forward, Virginia’s two Democratic Senators told 8News they are both standing ready for whatever comes next.

“This is a very grave situation,” Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told 8News. “I hope the Senate will hold a fair trial that considers directly relevant evidence so the facts are out there for the American public to see.”

In a call with reporters Thursday, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he vows to remain impartial ahead of a potential impeachment trial in the Senate.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., left, and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“Let me be clear, my responsibility to the American people means I must do everything I can to make sure this trial is fair and honest,” Warner said. “When I take an oath to say that I’ll be an impartial juror I have to reserve judgement until I hear the case made that will be made by those wanting to protect the president and those who want to prosecute the case.”

“I hope we’ll all take a little bit of a deep breath, none of us expected this to take place until early January. My hope is that the majority leader and the minority leader can actually come to an agreement,” Warner continued.

“We oughta strive to some level of majority agreement on the rules that has some bipartisanship to it, and if the facts further condemn the president that’s one thing, and if the facts further exonerate the president that’s another.”

First-year Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, spoke Wednesday on the floor of the House ahead of casting her votes in support of both articles of impeachment.

“Today, especially today, I reflect on the founding documents that have set us apart in the world, leading people across generations and across the world to risk everything, because of their belief in our great nation,” Spanberger said.

“Today, and especially today, I affirm my commitment to upholding and protecting the Constitution, the rule of law it defines, and the people it governs.”

Stay with 8News for a full report at 5 p.m.

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