MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Closing arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump are scheduled to begin Monday after the Senate voted not to call any witnesses.
In his first TV interview since announcing his vote against witnesses, Tennessee U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican, explained why he believes the president crossed the line, but doesn't deserve to be removed from office.
Alexander told Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he believes President Trump indeed tried to get Ukraine to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden, his potential 2020 opponent, and delayed military aid to try to get that investigation.
"I think he shouldn't have done it. I think it was wrong. Inappropriate was the way I'd say -- improper, crossing the line," said Alexander.
But Alexander says that's not enough to remove the president from office and he says voters should decide Trump's fate this November.
"I think what he did is a long way from treason, bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors," said Alexander. "I don't think it's the kind of inappropriate action that the framers would expect the Senate to substitute its judgment for the people in picking a president."
WMC political analyst Michael Nelson says Alexander was in a difficult position as he wraps up his 18-year Senate career.
“It’s been a sure thing from the beginning that the Senate is not going to vote to remove Donald Trump from office and I think Lamar Alexander probably thinks ‘You know, I’ve got less than a year left in the Senate...I don’t want to spend that whole time playing out an inevitable string of events,’” said Nelson.
Barring some last-minute bombshell, the president will likely be acquitted by the Republican-led Senate on Wednesday, with Tennessee’s senior senator playing a crucial role.