Inhofe finally sworn in as Senate impeachment trial begins


Brooklyn Wayland

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) discusses the impeachment trial process on Tuesday, Jan. 21. This is the second impeachment Inhofe has participated in during his career.  Photo by Brooklyn Wayland

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Senate begins the third impeachment trial in American history, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) was the final member to be sworn in and will be one of 27 to sit in on the second impeachment trial of their careers. 

Inhofe missed formal proceedings of the impeachment trial and was the only senator not sworn in last week. He said he was at home with his wife, who was ill. 

“Last Tuesday morning, early, my wife had a mild stroke, and I went back to Oklahoma,” said Inhofe. “She’s recovering nicely; no damage was done, and she’s in therapy, and we’re very happy that we were able to be there, but I was not there for the opening ceremony.” 

In a statement in February of 1999, Inhofe said the vote in favor of conviction of President Bill Clinton was the most important vote he would cast in his lifetime. Inhofe said Tuesday he thinks this impeachment vote is just as important.  In 1999, he voted in favor of conviction on the two Articles of Impeachment brought against Clinton. This time, he plans on doing the opposite. 

“Well, if there’s nothing new that hasn’t already been uncovered I would vote against the [conviction],” Inhofe said. “He’s already been impeached so I would be voting against removing him from office unless something comes up that we are not aware of and hasn’t happened before.” 

There are many differences when it comes to the two impeachments Inhofe has been a part of. But he said he also recognizes the similarities. 

“Impeachment is impeachment,” Inhofe said. 

The official articles brought against the president are abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. But Inhofe said the most interesting thing and one of the differences about this impeachment is that not even one of the 17 witnesses in the House had any first-hand information. 

Inhofe said Trump has not been accused of a crime at any point in the impeachment proceedings. While the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report did confirm the Trump administration broke the law by withholding Ukraine aid, it was released after the impeachment vote. Because this is new information, it will be discussed throughout the Senate trial. 

While the findings have been an abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Inhofe said, “By definition, those are not impeachable offenses.” 

Inhofe said during the Clinton impeachment that Clinton should be held to the highest of standards. He said Trump is upholding those standards he talked about. 

“Right now we have arguably the best economy in my lifetime, and that’s a pretty long time,” said Inhofe.

Compared to recent past presidents, Inhofe attributed many of America’s successes to Trump and his administration. He said many Americans are just obsessed with the idea of hating the president.

“I’m very proud of the president. I know what he’s done. I look at our economy and I know he’s done a good job,” Inhofe said.  

Inhofe said he thinks the Senate trial could be finished by the end of next week and predicted that Trump will, despite the House impeachment process and other obstacles, be acquitted and  reelected. 

The Senate impeachment trial began Tuesday afternoon and is scheduled to continue for several days. 

“The question when it comes over is to have the trial and sit as a juror and determine whether or not the accusations and findings were impeachable offences, “ Inhofe said. 

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication