Montana delegation reacts to acquittal vote

Montana’s U.S. senators split Wednesday on their votes to remove President Donald Trump from office, with Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester moving to remove the president from office on both of the impeachment articles while Republican Sen. Steve Daines helped keep Trump in office.

Neither of the votes came as a a surprise, as both senators made clear their intentions in speeches Tuesday on the Senate floor. The senators also voted with the majority of their parties — all Democrats voted for removal and they were joined by Republican U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, of Utah, on the abuse of power charge.

The final vote on the article related to abuse of power was 52 to 48; and the count on the obstruction charge was 53 to 47.

Tester said in a statement Tuesday he made his decision based on what was presented at the trial.

“Based on the evidence that was available to me during this trial, I believe President Trump abused his power by withholding military aid from an ally for personal political gain, and that he obstructed legitimate oversight by a coequal branch of government,” Tester said. “It’s a sad day for this country, and for all Americans who believe that no one, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.”

Daines released a statement Wednesday after the vote saying the entire process was an attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

“I voted to acquit President Trump of the most partisan impeachment in our nation’s history. Never has the Senate been faced with articles of impeachment against a president that allege no crimes, and never have we seen such a partisan presidential impeachment process,” Daines said.

When the House voted to impeach Trump late last year, Montana U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte voted against both of the articles. The House is 232-197 majority Democrat.

On Wednesday, Gianforte released a statement also calling the process partisan.

“The Senate’s acquittal of President Trump closes the door on (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi’s hyper-partisan impeachment sham,” Gianforte said in a statement. “Working to overturn the results of the 2016 election, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and House Democrats pushed their partisan impeachment through the House and failed to make their flimsy case in the Senate. Now that this impeachment charade is behind us, let’s get back to work.”