LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Governor Asa Hutchinson is hoping for bipartisanship in the upcoming impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Hutchinson has experience with the process of a impeachment trial. In 1998, he served as a manager during the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton.
When the Senate voted in February 1999, Clinton was acquitted of both charges.
As members of the Senate prepare to draft the rules for Trump’s impeachment trial, Hutchinson thinks the ability to “reach bipartisan consensus on anything” has diminished in the last 20 years.
“As you look at the trial 20 years ago, you had Senator [Trent] Lott and Senator [Tom] Daschle, the Republican and Democrat leader, go in and work out their differences and come out with a process that 100 of the senators agreed upon,” Hutchinson said. “And I would like to see that develop in a bipartisan way in the proceedings in the Trump impeachment.”
Hutchinson said Arkansans should focus on the fairness of the impeachment trial. He said the American public won’t support the removal of a president from office unless they are “convinced that it is a fair process.”
“The Senate will never remove someone from office unless the American public supports it,” he said. “It is all about the fairness as well as the facts.”
And although Hutchinson hopes the impeachment trial would work like a regular trial where there is a “high burden of proof” for removal, politics will be involved during the process.
“In the end, the Senate is going to vote based upon on their own convictions and interpretation as what the Constitution requires,” he said.
But Hutchinson said that as Americans, “we’re going to survive just like we have before” regardless of the conclusion of the impeachment trial of President Trump.
“We’re gonna be stronger because of following the Constitution and we’re all going to accept the results of it because that’s America, that’s our democracy,” Hutchinson said.
No date has been set for the Senate trial at this time because the articles of impeachment have not been submitted yet. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that the House “cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct.”