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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 AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Tenn.) said Friday he supports President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC 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 WarrenOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Democratic senators press PhRMA over COVID-19 lobbying efforts  Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' 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 RomneyThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? China's genocide must be stopped How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress MORE (R-Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office Pelosi says she's giving Senate more time on Jan. 6 commission Overnight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve 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 RubioHillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals FCC votes to advance proposed ban on Chinese telecom equipment The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? 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.