Sullivan, after voting to acquit Trump, calls the president’s actions less than ‘perfect’

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan addressing AFN in 2018. (Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As expected, both Alaska senators voted to acquit President Trump Wednesday, helping their fellow Republicans end the impeachment trial with not guilty verdicts.

“I voted against overturning the 2016 vote of millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Alaskans, and against removing the President’s name from the 2020 ballot,” Sen. Dan Sullivan said in a video he recorded to explain his vote.

Other Republicans made floor speeches this week, saying the president’s actions were wrong but not impeachable. Sullivan did not. And he did not take reporters’ questions about impeachment. But Wednesday he issued a statement for the record, and a 10-minute video aimed at Alaskans.

For much of the video, Sullivan criticizes House Democrats for the impeachment process, and defends the Senate’s decision not to call new witnesses. Sullivan also defends the president’s right to pursue investigations in Ukraine. But the senator does offer some measured disapproval of Trump.

“Were the President’s actions perfect? No,” Sullivan says on the video. “Despite having the authority to investigate corruption in Ukraine and investigate Burisma, I believe the President should have requested such an investigation through more official and robust channels.”

Related: Murkowski:’The president’s behavior was shameful’

Sullivan has experience in the official channels of foreign policy: He worked at the National Security Council in the second Bush administration and was an assistant secretary at the State Department.

In his longer statement, Sullivan included a sentence critical of the actions of Trump’s private attorney.

“I also believe that the role of Mr. (Rudolph) Giuliani has caused confusion and may have undermined the Trump administration’s broader foreign policy goals with regard to Ukraine,” Sullivan wrote. “But none of this even remotely rises to the level of an offense that merits removing the President of the United States from office.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has called the president’s actions “shameful and wrong.”

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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