The people 'deserve to have a full, fair and complete trial': Sen. Doug Jones

Following the House impeachment of President Donald Trump, Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., is interviewed on "This Week."
7:06 | 12/22/19

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Transcript for The people 'deserve to have a full, fair and complete trial': Sen. Doug Jones
senator Doug Jones of Alabama. Good morning, senator Jones. Good morning, Martha. Thanks for having me. Thank you for joining us. You heard what senator Johnson just said. He said it's a thin case going to the senate, thin gruel. He dismissed those new emails. What's your reaction to that? Well, I think -- I think senator Johnson is my friend and next door neighbor. He made the case of why we should have witnesses if he really believes it's thin. It's thin because the president of the United States ordered his top people who were in the room who know -- have first hand knowledge, not to testify. He ordered documents not to be turned over, and so I think that what the American people deserve, regardless of what they believe, of how the house proceedings went forward, the American people and the united States state senate deserve to have a full and fair trial. That means witnesses and that means documents. That means getting the information out now, and this very, very serious matter, and not over the course of the next few months in senator Johnson's committee or senator graham's committee or next year in John Bolton's book. We need to have the information now, full, fair and complete. Let's talk about that question. Senator, let's talk about the question of now senate majority leader chuck Schumer said he supports speaker Pelosi's prech of -- approach of holding back the articles of impeachment to build leverage on securing witnesses in a trial. Do you support that tactic? Well, I certainly don't think it's unfair for her to do that. Lets put it in the context of history. You know that the Clinton articles of impeachment were voted on around December 17th. They didn't come over to the United States senate until around January the 6th or 7th. Some three weeks later. There was a change in congress. There's nothing magic about moving these articles immediately. I think what the speaker is doing is saying, what are the rules going to be when I send house managers over there? What kind of playing field are we going to have? What is the timing of? I don't think that's unreasonable to try to just simply ask that the senate majority leader and minority leader sit down, establish those rules going forward before she sends the articles over. She's not going to hold these forever, Martha. We're going to see these relatively soon, but I don't think it's unfair to ask, what are the rules that we're playing by, when we go and get these over here? Unfair or not, this is very different than president Clinton's impeachment. House Democrats have called the president a clear and present danger to this country and our upcoming elections. If he's so dangerous, why are house Democrats suddenly slowing down aside from your reasons? They are holding up these articles. I don't think that they're slowing anything down. We're not going to be back for awhile. I don't think they're slowing anything down. I think, you know, senator graham when he was a member of the house, and one of the house managers, he all but said that president Clinton was a clear and present danger. Any time we have an impeachment article, it's very, very significant. I think what we're trying to do is just get the rules, whatever those rules may be. I think it's full, fair, complete trial that Democrats are looking for. I think the American people are looking for that. I think that members of the Republican caucus are looking for that as well. The last thing they want is to be able to vote on this in sometime in January and have new and different facts come out that may have changed their vote down the line. I don't think we're in a rush, but everyone wants to get this thing moving, get it over with, but do it in the fair, full and complete way. Let's talk about the vote. The majority leader has said that he believes that at least one or two Democrats in the senate could defect and vote to acquit the president. Is he talking about you? I have no idea what Mitch Mcconnell's talking about these days. He talks about being an impartial juror, but he's going to take a note to be a partial juror. I have yet to find out what he's talking about. I have seen him criticize the house Democrats for the way he's done things, but at the same time he's trying to rush to judgment and try to push forward things that's not going to be a full and fair trial. I know you say you're going to be an impartial juror. Given everything we have already seen in the house and that phone call, what is it that you need to know more about? What reason could there be to make you not vote to convict the president? Well, first of all, Martha, let me say this. I think these are really serious allegations. If the president of the united States is using his office and the power of the presidency against a country that is dependent upon the United States of mesh, and he's doing that to withhold aid that is there to battle Russians. You know, those javelins are made in Alabama, that the president of Ukraine was talking about. They're there on the front lines against Russian aggression. If he's doing that to get a political advantage for his personal campaign, that is a serious, serious matter. What I'm trying to do because quite frankly I didn't sit in front of the TV set the entire time the last two or three months. I have been trying to read this. I have been trying to see if the dots get connected to if that is the case. I think it's a serious matter and an impeachable matter. If those dots aren't connected and there are other explanations that are consistent with innocence, I will go that way too. I have got to make sure -- what I really want to see though is to fill in the gaps, there are gaps. People can make up their mind with gaps in testimony, but I would like to see a full and complete picture, and we don't have that because the president has refused to have his people come and testify and deliver documents. He says the senate is going to give him a fair trial, and he wants these folks the testify. We'll let him tell senator Mcconnell to testify as soon as we get back. Very quickly, and sorry to rush you here. I know you voted against the Kavanaugh nomination and still managed to win your senate seat, but there are Republican strategists who say if you vote to impeach president trump in your deeply red state, he basically signs his death warrant. Is that what you are doing there? Are you worried about that? Quickly if you can? You know, Martha, let me tell you. I took an oath as a U.S. Senator. I'll take another oath, and that's where my duty is. The problem we have in America today, and the problem we have sometimes with all due respect in the media, everybody wants to talk about this in the political terms and the political consequences term. This is a much more serious matter than that. This has to do with the future of the presidency, and how we want our presidents to conduct themselves, and it has all to do with the future of the senate, and how a senate should handle impeachment, articles of impeachment that come over. That's how I'm looking at this. If I did everything based on a pure and political argument, you would need a computer to mash a button. It's not what the founders intended or what I intend to do. Thank you so much for joining us this morning, senator Jones.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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