Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska’s outspoken congressional critic of President Donald Trump, declined to say Wednesday which way he’s leaning in a second Senate impeachment trial.
Sasse, who received more votes than the president last year in Nebraska, hinted at frustration with Trump, blaming the president’s “particular lie” for the Capitol riot, the lives lost and the resulting National Guard deployment. Sasse said Trump repeatedly lied about the results of the presidential race, saying he won the election “by a landslide” when he did not.
“Even though he failed to convince a single judge of his allegations of ‘widespread voter fraud’ (across more than 40 court attempts), he persisted in a social media and fund-raising campaign that ultimately included attempts to intimidate state and local election officials to ‘find votes’ to overturn the outcome of Georgia and other Electoral College state results,” Sasse said in a statement to The World-Herald.
Trump then made things worse, Sasse said. On Jan. 6, the day Congress was set to vote to accept the Electoral College results certifying Democrat Joe Biden as the winner, he continued alleging wrongly that Vice President Mike Pence could unconstitutionally and unilaterally flip the election to Trump, Sasse said.
“When the president urged his supporters to disrupt the proceedings of the Jan. 6th Joint Meeting of Congress by ‘fighting like hell,’ it was widely understood that his crowd included many people who were planning to fight physically, and who were prepared to die in response to his false claims of a ‘stolen election,’” Sasse said.
Sasse, who many political observers say might support convicting Trump on the latest impeachment though he did not on the first, said “it’s been obvious that the President was derelict in his duty to defend the Constitution and uphold the rule of law.”
Sasse, like many Republicans, called for lowering the political temperature as the FBI investigates additional calls for violence.
“Six people, including two police officers, have already died,” he said, including a Capitol police officer who took his own life. “Lord, have mercy.”