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Alexander supports Trump's reelection despite 'inappropriate' Ukraine call

Alexander supports Trump's reelection despite 'inappropriate' Ukraine call
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Tenn.) said Friday he supports President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE's reelection bid despite acknowledging that the president asked Ukraine to investigate his political rival, the issue at the center of Trump's impeachment.

In an interview with The New York Times, the longtime Republican lawmaker contrasted Trump with his possible Democratic challenger Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCancel culture comes for the moderates Biden expands on Obama ethics pledge Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers MORE (D-Mass.) and touted the president's accomplishments in his first term.

"Whatever you think of his behavior," Alexander told the Times, "With the terrific economy, with conservative judges, with fewer regulations, you add in there an inappropriate call with the president of Ukraine, and you decide if you prefer him or Elizabeth Warren.”

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Alexander, who retires after his term expires in 2021, spoke with the Times after announcing Thursday night that he would vote against calling witnesses for the Senate impeachment trial, putting the chamber on track to swiftly acquit the president.

The Senate voted later Friday not to call for witnesses, setting up a vote to acquit the president next week.

Alexander was among those Republican senators who voted "no" in the 49-51 decision, with Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden officials hold call with bipartisan group of senators on coronavirus relief plan Five examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week Romney: Total figure for Biden coronavirus stimulus is 'pretty shocking' MORE (R-Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden officials hold call with bipartisan group of senators on coronavirus relief plan The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE (R-Maine) the only Republicans to buck their party and join Democrats in calling for new witness testimony.

In his statement Thursday night, Alexander explained his reasoning against calling for further witnesses. He said while he believed the allegations against Trump have merit, he did not find that they warranted removing him from office.

Alexander suggested that such a decision be made by Americans at the ballot box in November.

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“The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did,” Alexander said.

Though Alexander didn't deviate from his party in voting to skip witness testimony, his stance does differ from many of his colleagues who argue that Trump did not use withheld aid to Ukraine for his own political gain.

On Friday, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Rubio: Trump impeachment trial is 'stupid' The Memo: Biden gambles that he can do it all MORE (R-Fla.) took a similar stance, claiming he too believed the allegations against Trump were substantiated, but that doesn't mean that it is in "the best interest of the country" to remove him from office. 

The impeachment trial is expected to conclude as soon as Wednesday.