KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four Republican senators from Kansas and Missouri voted to acquit former President Donald Trump on and article of impeachment that he incited the U.S. Capitol riots on Jan. 6.
Sens. Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt, of Missouri, both voted "not guilty" Saturday during the impeachment trial.
In a statement released shortly after the vote, Blunt said he believes the purpose of impeachment is to remove a president from office, not punish someone after their term.
"None of the arguments presented changed my view that this was an unconstitutional proceeding," Blunt said. "Impeachment is not a tool that should be used to settle political scores against a private citizen.”
Hawley previously told 41 Action News the impeachment trial was "illegitimate."
“I think it’s totally illegitimate and I also think it’s totally the wrong time to do it," Hawley told 41 Action News via a Zoom interview on Feb. 3. "I mean we just talked about the vaccine here we are in the midst of a major major public health crisis, economic crisis and what the democrats wanna do is shut down congress in order to impeach someone who’s not even in office," Hawley said.
Across the state line, Sens. Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran also voted not guilty during the trial.
Marshall tweeted "NOT GUILTY." shortly after his vote.
He later released a statement following his decision.
“This impeachment trial has kept us from doing the work we need to be focused on: getting the COVID-19 vaccine in to peoples’ arms, opening our economy back up, getting Americans back to work, as well as confirming an agriculture secretary to get the $1.5 billion in CARES funding out to farmers, ranchers, and folks who need help putting food on the table," Marshall said in part. "Let me be clear, both sides of the aisle are guilty of heated rhetoric. But, equally guilty are the House Managers and the Democrats for their hypocrisy, and President Trump’s defense team painted that picture clearly."
Moran also released a statement saying voting to convict a former president could sent a dangerous precedent for the U.S.
“The Constitution does not clearly state whether a former president can be tried for impeachment by the Senate, but I believe the impeachment process is intended to be used for considering whether or not ‘The President’ should be removed from office," Moran said. "Because former President Trump is no longer in office, I voted to acquit. Establishing the precedent that the Senate has jurisdiction to convict a former president would cause extreme damage to our country and the future of the presidency.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.