Ben McAdams: What President Trump did was wrong and I will vote to hold him accountable

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ben McAdams announces during a news conference at Murray City Hall on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, that he will vote "yes" on the House impeachment vote.

I came to Congress to do the right thing for Utah and America. I pledged to put country over party and to work with both parties and with the president to get things done. And I have.

While some in Congress focused on investigating the president, I have worked to make prescription drugs affordable, strengthen Utah’s economy, protect seniors and children from predators and clean our dirty air.

I was sworn in, taking an oath to uphold the Constitution and the Constitution requires me to study the articles of impeachment and to vote on them. To fulfill that duty, I will vote yes.

In my 11 months of service in Congress, I have been disappointed and distressed by the behavior of both parties. Some Democrats are all too gleeful about the serious matter before us. Many Democrats reflexively oppose any idea from the president.

Senate Republicans have ignored over 275 bipartisan bills passed by the House denying progress on any issue. House Republicans have dismissed the testimony of lifelong public servants who have implicated the President in alarming behavior.

We live in contentious times. Democrats and Republicans in Congress have conducted themselves in such a way over the last decade, and especially in the last year, that neither party has the public’s confidence to fulfill this serious duty with credibility. They have squandered the trust the Constitution and the American public demand of them in deciding the ultimate rebuke of a sitting president.

I hoped to find bipartisan common ground to censure the president instead of putting the country through a divisive and lengthy Senate impeachment trial with a predetermined outcome of dismissal. Bipartisan action better protects our country from future election meddling and presidential wrongdoing than a party line impeachment followed by a partisan trial outcome in the Senate.

But that’s not the choice I have before me. My duty is to the Constitution and our country. What the president did was wrong. His actions warrant accountability. I cannot turn a blind eye to his actions, thereby condoning this president and future presidents, Republican or Democrat, to do the same.

The evidence for me is clear. The president abused the power by demanding a foreign government perform a personal favor. He obstructed Congress in its constitutional duty of oversight by withholding pertinent documents and central witnesses. His actions weakened our country and the checks and balances enshrined in our founding documents.

People who I respect have reached different conclusions on the best course of action. We agree that what the president did was wrong. I will vote yes, knowing full well the Senate will likely acquit the president in a display of partisan theater that Republicans and Democrats in Washington perform disturbingly well.

Because of that, I know my vote will not remove the president from office. We must continue to work together as a Congress and as a country. In 11 months, the people will ultimately decide President Trump’s fate, not me or politicians in Washington.

I believe our country is bigger than one man or either party. I trust the American people to decide President Trump’s political consequences. I trust them to make this decision.

It is with a heavy heart and solemnity of spirit that I reach this decision, but with the certainty that God will continue to bless America.

Ben McAdams, a Democrat, represents the 4th District of Utah in the U.S. House of Representatives.