Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt were never going to go for impeachment.
And if there was ever any doubt, Missouri’s Republican senators removed it Wednesday morning before they voted 'no' on both counts Wednesday afternoon.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Hawley said House Democrats leveling charges against President Trump were abusing the Constitution and trying to overturn the will of the people in the 2016 election.
“It is time to bring this fiasco to a close,” Hawley said, “and it is time to let the verdict of the people stand, and so I will vote today to acquit the president of these charges."
A short time later, Blunt delivered a speech with the same verdict.
He said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was right last year when she said impeachment should be “compelling, overwhelming and bipartisan,"and declared her chamber's articles, which passed with no Republican votes, wanting.
"Based on the speaker's comments, these articles never should have been sent to the Senate," Blunt said. "They were not compelling, they were not overwhelming, they were not bipartisan, and most importantly, they were not necessary."
“Today the articles of impeachment should be and will be rejected by the Senate," he added.
The Republican-controlled chamber later fulfilled Blunt’s prediction, voting 48-52 to shoot down charges that Trump, a Republican himself, abused his power and obstructed Congress.
House Democrats said Trump should be removed for asking Ukraine to investigate unproven theories about former Vice President Joe Biden — a top contender for the right to challenge Trump in 2020 — in exchange for military aid and a White House meeting. They've also called for his removal because he stonewalled their investigation into the matter.
They lost every House Republican, including those from Missouri, though.
In the Senate, only Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, vote to convict. Hawley and Blunt never really seemed to entertain the idea.
In his speech Wednesday, Hawley contended Missourians didn't really care, either.
“When I listen to the people of my state, I don’t hear about impeachment,” he said. “I hear about the problems of home and neighborhood, of family, community, about the loss of faith in our government and about the struggle to find hope in the future.”
He then said Congress should focus more on those issues rather than a “pipe dream of politicians.”
“This town owes it to these Americans, the ones who sent us here, finally to listen, finally to act, finally to do something that really matters to them,” he said.
Blunt, for his part, suggested the Senate also had a responsibility to stop Democrats from setting a dangerous precedent.
"We don't want partisan impeachment to become an exercise that happens when a party that's not the party of the president happens to have a majority of votes in the House of Representatives," he said.
“The House has to do its job," he continued, and part of that job would be to create a case that would produce a bipartisan vote on the articles in the House.
“And if you haven't met that standard, you should go back and work on the case some more and then wonder if you can't meet the standard, what's wrong with the process you're going through.”
Blunt also took another shot at Democrats’ unsuccessful demands for the Senate to call new witnesses who didn’t testify in House proceedings.
That issue gained some attention last week after The New York Times reported that a former top Trump adviser wrote a book draft saying Trump told him he wanted to freeze military aid to Ukraine unless the country helped investigate Democrats like Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
The adviser, John Bolton, refused to testify before the House but had signaled he would testify before the Republican-led Senate, according to The Times.
But Blunt said House Democrats could have spent more time on their case before voting if it really mattered.
“If it needed more work, it should have had more work,” he said.
Austin Huguelet is the News-Leader's politics reporter. Got something he should know? Call him at 417-403-8096 or email him at email@example.com.