Following is a transcript of closing arguments from the final representative of each side in the U.S. Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, which ended February 4, with the Senate voting on party lines against the two articles (abuse of power and obstruction of Congress).

Jay Sekulow, attorney for the president, and Adam Schiff, the lead House manager, each were preceded by other members of their respective teams, whose comments are not included here. The transcript below comes from the February 3 Congressional Record, viewable in its entirety at congress.gov.


President’s Counsel Jay Sekulow

Mr. Chief Justice, Majority Leader McConnell, Democratic Leader Schumer, House managers, I want to join my colleagues in thanking you for your patience over these two weeks.

I want to focus on one last point. We believe that we have established overwhelmingly that both Articles of Impeachment have failed to allege impeachable offenses and that, therefore, both articles — I and II — must fail.

This entire campaign of impeachment — that started from the very first day the president was inaugurated — is a partisan one, and it should never happen again. For three years, this push for impeachment came straight from the president’s opponents, and when it finally reached a crescendo, it put this body — the U.S. Senate — into a horrible position.

I want to start by taking a look back.

On the screen is a graphic of a Washington Post headline on January 20, 2017: ‘‘The Campaign to Impeach President Trump Has Begun.’’ This was posted 19 minutes after he was sworn in.

I also want to play a video in which members, as early as January 15, 2017 — before the president was sworn into office — were calling for his impeachment.

(Text of videotape presentation:)

Mr. RASKIN: Let me say this for Donald Trump, whom I may well be voting to impeach.

Mr. ELLISON: I think that Donald Trump has already done a number of things which have legitimately raised a question of impeachment.

Ms. WATERS: And I will fight every day until he is impeached.

Mr. GREEN of Texas: I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to call for the impeachment of the president of the United States of America.

Mr. COHEN: The main reason I’m interested is not so much to win the Senate, which is a byproduct, but it’s because I think he has committed impeachable offenses.

Mr. CASTRO of Texas: But if we get to that point, then, yes, I think that’s grounds to start impeachment.

Mr. COHEN: So we’re calling upon the House to begin impeachment hearings immediately.

Question: Why do you think specifically he should be impeached?

Mr. ESPAILLAT: Well, there are five reasons why we think he should be impeached.

Question: On the impeachment of Donald Trump, how would you vote?

Ms. OMAR: I would vote yes.

Ms. OCASIO-CORTEZ: I would vote to impeach.

Ms. TLAIB: Because we’re going to impeach the [bleep].

Mr. SHERMAN: I introduced the Articles of Impeachment in July of 2017. All I did yesterday was make sure that those articles did not expire.

Mr. GREEN of Texas: I am concerned that, if we don’t impeach this president, he will get reelected.

Ms. WARREN: It is time to bring impeachment charges against him.

Mr. NADLER: My personal view is that he richly deserves impeachment.

One of the members of the House of Representatives said that we are bringing these Articles of Impeachment so he doesn’t get elected again.

Here we are, 10 months before an election, doing exactly what they predicted. The whistleblower’s lawyer, Mr. Zaid, sent out a tweet on January 30, 2017.

Let me put that up on the screen:

The #coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow ultimately.

And here we are.

What this body, what this nation, and what this president have just endured — what the House managers have forced upon this great body — is unprecedented and unacceptable. This is exactly and precisely what the Founders feared. This was the first totally partisan presidential impeachment in our nation’s history, and it should be our last.

What the House Democrats have done to this nation, to the Constitution, to the office of the president, to the president himself, and to this body is outrageous. They have cheapened the awesome power of impeachment, and, unfortunately, of course, the country is not better for that.

We urge this body to dispense with these partisan Articles of Impeachment for the sake of the nation, for the sake of the Constitution.

As we have demonstrably proved, the articles are flawed on their face. They were the product of a reckless impeachment inquiry that violated all notions of due process and fundamental fairness. Then incredibly — incredibly — when these articles were finally brought to this chamber without a single Republican vote, the managers then claimed that now — now — they needed more process; that now they needed more witnesses; that all of the witnesses that they compiled and all of the testimony that you heard was not enough; that your job was to do their job — the one, frankly, they failed to do.

We have already said, many times, the charges themselves do not allege a crime or a misdemeanor, let alone a high crime or a misdemeanor. There is nothing in the charges that could permit the removal of a duly elected president or warrant the negation of an election and the subversion of the American people’s will. That should be whatever party you are affiliated with. You are being asked to do this when, tonight, the citizens of Iowa are going to be caucusing for the first caucus of the presidential election season for the Democratic Party — tonight.

I think there is one thing that is clear. The president has had a concern about other countries carrying their fair share of burden of financial aid. No one can doubt — and I think we have clearly set forth — the issue of corruption in Ukraine.

The president’s and the administration’s policy on evaluating foreign aid and the conditions upon which it is given have been clear. Mr. Purpura laid that out in great detail.

The bottom line is that the president’s opponents don’t like the president, and they really don’t like his policies. They objected to the fact that the president chose not to rely each and every time on the advice of some of his subordinates, even though he, not those unelected bureaucrats who work for him, were elected to office.

The president, under our constitutional structure, is the one who decides our nation’s foreign policy. Here is a perfect example — the House managers brought this up frequently: Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. He admitted on page 155 of his transcript testimony that he ‘‘did not know if there was a crime or anything of that nature’’ — that is his quote — but that he ‘‘had deep policy concerns.’’ So there you have it. The real issue is policy disputes.

Elections have consequences. We all know that. And if you do not like the policies of a particular administration or a particular candidate, you are free and welcome to vote for another candidate. But the answer is elections, not impeachment.

To be clear, in our country, in the United States, the president, elected by the American people, is, in the words of the Supreme Court, ‘‘the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations’’ and foreign policy for our government — not unelected bureaucrats, not unhappy members of the House of Representatives. And however you were to define ‘‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’’ there is no definition that includes disagreeing with a policy decision as an acceptable ground for removal of a president of the United States. None.

The first Article of Impeachment is, therefore, constitutionally invalid and should be immediately rejected by the Senate.

Now, as to the second Article of Impeachment, President Trump in no way obstructed Congress. The president acted with extraordinary transparency by declassifying and releasing the transcript for the July 25 call and the earlier call. It is that July 25 call which is purportedly at the heart of the Articles of Impeachment. He did so soon after the inquiry was announced.

And despite the fact that privileges apply that could have been asserted, he released them anyway in order to facilitate the House’s inquiry and cut through all of it — all of the hearsay, all of the histrionics — to get the transcript out.

Now, I want to take a moment because my colleague Deputy White House Counsel Pat Philbin addressed this idea of privilege. I have heard over and over again — and you have, too — phrases like: cover-up; that the assertion of a privilege is a cover-up.

Here is what the Supreme Court of the United States has said about privileges in a variety of contexts:

To punish a person because he has done what the law allows him to do is a due process violation of the [basic order] — the … basic sort, and for an agent of the state to pursue a course of action whose objective is to penalize a person’s reliance on his constitutional rights is patently unconstitutional.

And how much more so when you are talking about the president of the United States.

How about this? And this goes to the context of assertions of privilege and other constitutional privileges. The allegation has been that if you assert a privilege, you are assumed to be guilty. That has been the assertion.

Why would you do that? We have explained at great length — and I do not want to go over that again — the importance of the executive privilege and what it means to separation of powers and the functioning of our government, but I will say this: As the Supreme Court has recognized in other contexts with other privileges, the privilege serves to protect the innocent who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.

In another Supreme Court case, Quinn v. The United States: ‘‘The privilege, this Court has stated, was generally regarded then, as now, as a privilege of great value, a protection to the innocent … ’’ The opinion goes on to say that ‘‘safeguard against heedless, unfounded or tyrannical prosecutions.’’

I traced for you, and I am not going to do it again, how all of this started all those years ago, three years ago — how all of this began. There is no point to go over that because that evidence is undisputed, and the FISA Court’s most recent orders put that into fair play.

We have talked about the fact that the House violated its own fundamental rules in a series of unlawful subpoenas. I won’t go over that again. Mr. Philbin laid that out in great detail.

But I do think it is important to note that, when seeking the advice of the president’s closest advisers, despite the well-known, bipartisan guidance from the Department of Justice regarding immunity, the House managers act as if it does not exist. They sought testimony on matters from the executive branch’s confidential internal decision-making process on matters of foreign relations and national security, and that is when protections are at their highest level.

Let’s not forget that the House barred the attendance of executive branch counsel at witness proceedings when executive branch members were being examined.

Notwithstanding these substantial abuses of process, the executive branch responded to each and every subpoena and identified the specific deficiencies found in each. You cannot just remove constitutional violations by saying you didn’t comply.

You have heard that one recipient of a subpoena, and this is — in fact, we have talked about it a number of times, but I think as we wrap up, I think it is worth saying again.

One subpoena recipient did seek a declaratory judgment as to the validity of the subpoena that he had received. It was set up to go to court. A judge was going to make a decision. The House withdrew the subpoena and mooted the recipient’s case before the court could rule.

Now, was that because they didn’t like the judge that was selected? Was it because they didn’t like the way the ruling was going to go? Was it they didn’t mean to have that witness in the first place?

Whatever the reason, there is one undisputed fact: As the case was in court, they mooted it out by removing the subpoena.

The assertion of valid constitutional privileges cannot be an impeachable offense, and that is what article II is based on, the obstruction of Congress.

For the sake of the Constitution, for the sake of the Office of the president, this body must stand as a steady bulwark against this reckless and dangerous proposition. It doesn’t just affect this president; it affects every man or woman who occupies that high office.

So as we said with the first Article of Impeachment, we believe the second Article of Impeachment is invalid and should also be rejected.

In passing the first Article of Impeachment, the House attempted to usurp the president’s constitutional power to determine policy, especially foreign policy. In passing the second Article of Impeachment, the House attempted to control the constitutional privileges and immunities of the executive branch — all of this while simultaneously disrespecting the Framers’ system of checks and balances, which designate the judicial branch as the arbiter of interbranch disputes.

By approving both articles, the House of Representatives violated our constitutional order, illegally abused our power of impeachment in order to obstruct the president’s ability to faithfully execute the duties of his office.

These articles fail on their face as they do not meet the constitutional standard for impeachable offenses. No amount of testimony could change that fact.

We have already discussed some of the specifics. I think Alexander Hamilton has been quoted a lot, and there is a reason. What has occurred over the past two weeks — really, the past three months — is exactly what Alexander Hamilton and other Founders of our great country feared.

I believe that Hamilton was prophetic in Federalist 65 when he warned how impeachment had the ability to ‘‘agitate’’ — his words — ‘‘the passions of the whole community, and … divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused.”

He warned that impeachment would “connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other.’’

He continued:

“The convention, it appears, thought the Senate” — this body — “[the] most fit depositary of this important trust. Those who can best discern the intrinsic difficulty of the thing, will be least hasty in condemning that opinion, and will be most inclined to allow due weight to the arguments which may be supposed to have produced it.”

In the same Federalist 65, Hamilton regarded the members of this Senate not only as the inquisitors for the nation but as the representatives of the nation as a whole.

He said these words:

“Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified or significantly independent? What other body would be likely to feel confident enough in its own situation to preserve, unawed and uninfluenced, the necessary impartiality between an individual accused, and the representatives of the people, his accusers.”

You took an oath. They questioned the oath. You are sitting here as the trier of fact. They said the Senate is on trial.

Based on all of the presentations that we made in our trial brief, in the arguments that we have put forward today, again, we believe both articles should be immediately rejected.

Now our nation’s representatives holding office in this great body must unite today to protect our Constitution and the separation of powers. And, you know, there was a time, not that long ago, even within this administration, where bipartisan agreements could be reached to serve the interests of the American people.

Take a listen to this.

(Text of videotape presentation:)

Senator MARKEY: Today we had a beautiful, bipartisan moment where Democrats and Republicans, working together to keep that fentanyl out of our country, to use these devices to accomplish that goal. It is not perfect. We need to do a lot more, but today was a very good start, and I want to praise all of the people — Democrats and Republicans and the president — for working together on this bill.

Senator SHAHEEN: As has been said, and we can see by the people assembled here, if we work together in a bipartisan way, we can get things done. This is a place where we can all agree that we’ve got to do more and where we can work together. So I applaud everyone’s efforts.

President TRUMP: We are proudly joined today by so many members of Congress — Republicans, Democrats — who worked very, very hard on this bill. This was really an effort of everybody. It was a bipartisan success — something you don’t hear too much about, but I think you will be. I actually believe we may be — will be over the coming period of time. I hope so. I think so. It is so good for the country.

President TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. This was an incredible bipartisan support. We passed this in the Senate 87 to 12. That’s unheard of. And then in the House we passed it 358 to 36.

Senator COONS: … be here to help celebrate your signing of this next step in the critical Women’s Global and Prosperity Development Initiative. It dovetails nicely with the bill — the bipartisan bill you signed into law with the WEEE Act, which recognizes this as a critical strategy. So I think this is a tremendous initiative. Thank you, Mr. Trump.

President TRUMP: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

This is what the American people expect. I simply ask this body to stand firm today to protect the integrity of the U.S. Senate, stand firm today to protect the office of the president, stand firm today to protect the Constitution, stand firm today to protect the will of the American people and their vote, stand firm today to protect our nation. And I ask that this partisan impeachment come to an end to restore our constitutional balance, for that is, in my view and in our view, what justice demands and the Constitution requires.

House Manager Adam Schiff

Mr. Chief Justice, I want to begin by thanking you for the distinguished way you have presided over these proceedings.

Senators, we are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies. If Lincoln could speak these words during the Civil War, surely we can live them now and overcome our divisions and our animosities.

It is midnight in Washington. The lights are finally going out in the Capitol after a long day in the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. The Senate heard arguments only hours earlier on whether to call witnesses and require the administration to release documents it has withheld. Counsel for the president still maintains the president’s innocence, while opposing any additional evidence that would prove otherwise.

It is midnight in Washington, but on this night, not all the lights have been extinguished. Somewhere in the bowels of the Justice Department — Donald Trump’s Justice Department — a light remains on. Someone has waited until the country is asleep to hit “send,” to inform the court in a filing due that day that the Justice Department — the department that would represent justice — is refusing to produce documents directly bearing on the president’s decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine. The Trump administration has them, it is not turning them over, and it does not want the Senate to know until it is too late. Send.

That is what happened last Friday night. When you left home for the weekend, in a replay of the duplicity we saw during the trial when the president’s lawyers argued here that the House must go to court and argued in court that the House must come here, they were at it again, telling the court in a midnight filing that they would not turn over relevant documents even as they argued here that they were not covering up the president’s misdeeds.

Midnight in Washington. All too tragic. A metaphor for where the country finds itself at the conclusion of only the third impeachment in history and the first impeachment trial without witnesses or documents, the first such trial — or nontrial — in impeachment history.

How did we get here? In the beginning of this proceeding, you did not know whether we could prove our case. Many senators, like many Americans, did not have the opportunity to watch much, let alone all, of the opening hearings in the House during our investigation, and none of us could anticipate what defenses the president might offer.

Now you have seen what we promised: overwhelming evidence of the president’s guilt. Donald John Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars from an ally at war and a coveted White House meeting with their president to coerce or extort that nation’s help to cheat in our elections. And when he was found out, he engaged in the most comprehensive effort to cover up his misconduct in the history of presidential impeachment: fighting all subpoenas for documents and witnesses and using his own obstruction as a sword and a shield; arguing here that the House did not fight hard enough to overcome their noninvocation of privilege in court, and in court that the House must not be heard to enforce their subpoenas but that impeachment is a proper remedy.

Having failed to persuade the Senate or the public that there was no quid pro quo, having offered no evidence to contradict the record, the president’s team opted, in a kind of desperation, for a different kind of defense: first, prevent the Senate and the public from hearing from witnesses with the most damning accounts of the president’s misconduct, and second, fall back on a theory of presidential power so broad and unaccountable that it would allow any occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania to be as corrupt as he chooses, while the Congress is powerless to do anything about it. That defense collapsed of its own dead weight.

Presidents may abuse their power with impunity, they argued. Abuse of power is not a constitutional crime, they claimed. Only statutory crime is a constitutional crime, even though there were no statutory crimes when the Constitution was adopted. The president had to look far and wide to find a defense lawyer to make such an argument, unsupported by history, the Founders, or common sense. The Republican expert witness in the House would not make it. Serious constitutional scholars would not make it. Even Alan Dershowitz would not make it — at least he wouldn’t in 1998. But this has become the president’s defense. Yet this defense proved indefensible.

If abuse of power is not impeachable — even though it is clear the Founders considered it the highest of all high crimes and misdemeanors — but if it is not impeachable, then a whole range of utterly unacceptable conduct of the president’s would now be beyond reach. Trump could offer Alaska to the Russians in exchange for support in the next election or decide to move to Mar-a-Lago permanently and let Jared Kushner run the country, delegating to him the decision whether to go to war. Because those things are not necessarily criminal, this argument would allow that he could not be impeached for such abuses of power.

Of course, this would be absurd — more than absurd, it would be dangerous. So Mr. Dershowitz tried to embellish his legal creation and distinguish among those abuses of power which would be impeachable from those which wouldn’t. Abuses of power that would help the president get elected were permissible and therefore unimpeachable, and only those for pecuniary gain were beyond the pale. Under this theory, as long as the president believed his reelection was in the public interest, he could do anything, and no quid pro quo was too corrupt, no damage to our national security too great. This was such an extreme view that even the president’s other lawyers had to run away from it.

So what are we left with? The House has proven the president’s guilt. He tried to coerce an ally into helping him cheat by smearing his opponent. He betrayed our national security in order to do it when he withheld military aid to our ally and violated the law to do so. He covered it up, and he covers it up still. His continuing obstruction is a threat to the oversight and investigatory powers of the House and Senate and, if left unaddressed, would permanently and dangerously alter the balance of power.

These undeniable facts require the president to retreat to his final defense. He is guilty as sin, but can’t we just let the voters decide? He is guilty as sin, but why not let the voters clean up this mess? And here, to answer that question, we must look at the history of this Presidency and to the character of this president — or lack of character — and ask, can we be confident that he will not continue to try to cheat in that very election? Can we be confident that Americans and not foreign powers will get to decide and that the president will shun any further foreign interference in our democratic affairs? And the short, plain, sad, incontestable answer is, no, you can’t. You can’t trust this president to do the right thing, not for one minute, not for one election, not for the sake of our country. You just can’t. He will not change, and you know it.

In 2016, he invited foreign interference in our election. Hey, Russia, if you are listening, hack Hillary’s emails, he said, and they did, immediately. And when the Russians starting dumping them before the election, he made use of them in every conceivable way, touting the filthy lucre at campaign stops more than 100 times.

When he was investigated, he did everything he could to obstruct justice, going so far as to fire the FBI director and try to fire the special counsel and ask the White House counsel to lie on his behalf.

During the same campaign, while telling the country he had no business dealings with Russia, he was continuing to actively pursue the most lucrative deal of his life — a Trump Tower in the heart of Moscow. Six close associates of the president’s would be indicted or go to jail in connection with the president’s campaign, Russia, and the effort to cover it up.

On the day after that tragic chapter appeared to come to an end with Bob Mueller’s testimony, Donald Trump was back on the phone, this time with another foreign power — Ukraine — and once again seeking foreign help with his election, only this time, he had the full powers of the Presidency at his disposal. This time, he could use coercion. This time, he could withhold aid from a nation whose soldiers were dying every week. This time, he believed he could do whatever he wanted under article II. And this time, when he was caught, he could make sure that the Justice Department would never investigate the matter, and they didn’t.

Donald Trump had no more Jeff Sessions; he had just the man he wanted in Bill Barr, a man whose view of the imperial Presidency — a Presidency in which the department of Justice is little more than an extension of the White House counsel — is to do the president’s bidding. So Congress had to do the investigation itself, and just as before, he obstructed that investigation in every way.

He has not changed. He will not change. He has made that clear himself without self-awareness or hesitation. A man without character or ethical compass will never find his way.

Even as the most recent and most egregious misconduct was discovered, he was unapologetic, unrepentant, and more dangerous, undeterred. He continued pressing Ukraine to smear his rivals even as the investigation was underway.

He invited new countries to get involved in the act, calling on China to do the same. His personal emissary, Rudy Giuliani, dispatched himself to Ukraine, trying to get further foreign interference in our election. The plot goes on; the scheming persists; and the danger will never recede. He has done it before. He will do it again. What are the odds, if left in office, that he will continue trying to cheat? I will tell you: 100 percent. Not five, not 10 or even 50, but 100 percent.

If you have found him guilty and you do not remove him from office, he will continue trying to cheat in the election until he succeeds. Then what shall you say? What shall you say if Russia again interferes in our election and Donald Trump does nothing but celebrates their efforts? What shall you say if Ukraine capitulates and announces investigations into the president’s rivals?

What shall you say in the future, when candidates compete for the allegiance of foreign powers in their elections, when they draft their platforms so to encourage foreign intervention in their campaign? Foreign nations, as the most super of super-PACs of them all, if not legal, somehow permissible because Donald Trump has made it so and we refused to do anything about it but wring our hands.

They will hack your opponent’s emails; they will mount a social media campaign to support you; they will announce investigations of your opponent to help you — and all for the asking. Leave Donald Trump in office after you have found him guilty, and this is the future that you will invite.

Now, we have known since the day we brought these charges that the bar to conviction, requiring fully two-thirds of the Senate, may be prohibitively high. And yet, the alternative is a runaway Presidency and a nation whose elections are open to the highest bidder.

So you might ask how — given the gravity of the president’s misconduct, given the abundance of evidence of his guilt, given the acknowledgment by senators in both parties of that guilt — how have we arrived here with so little common ground? Why was the Nixon impeachment bipartisan? Why was the Clinton impeachment much less so? And why is the gulf between the parties even greater today?

It is not for the reason that the president’s lawyers would have you believe. Although they have claimed many times, in many ways, that the process in the House was flawed because we did not allow the president to control it, it was, in reality, little different than the process in prior impeachments. The circumstances, of course, were different. The Watergate investigation began in the Senate and had progressed before it got moving in the House. And there, of course, much of the investigative work had been done by the special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski. In Clinton, there was likewise an independent counsel who conducted a multiyear investigation that started with a real estate deal in Arkansas and ended with a blue dress.

Nixon and Clinton, of course, played no role in those investigations before they moved to the House Judiciary Committee. But to the degree you can compare the process when it got to the Judiciary Committee in either prior and recent impeachments, it was largely the same as we have here. The president had the right to call witnesses, to ask questions, and chose not to.

The House majorities in Nixon and Clinton did not cede their subpoena power to their minorities, and neither did we here, although then, as now, we gave the minority the right to request subpoenas and to compel a vote, and they did.

So the due process the House provided here was essentially the same and, in some ways, even greater. Nevertheless, the president’s counsel hopes that, through sheer repetition, they can convert nontruth into truth. Do not let them.

Every single court to hear Mr. Philbin’s arguments has rejected them: The subpoenas are invalid — rejected by the McGahn court.

They have absolute immunity — rejected by the McGahn court.

Privilege may conceal crime or fraud — rejected by the court in Nixon. But if the process here was substantially the same, the facts of the president’s misconduct were very different from one impeachment to the next. The Republican Party of Nixon’s time broke into the DNC, and the president covered it up. Nixon, too, abused the power of his office to gain an unfair advantage over his opponent, but in Watergate he never sought to coerce a foreign power to aid his reelection, nor did he sacrifice our national security in such a palpable and destructive way as withholding aid from an ally at war. And he certainly did not engage in the wholesale obstruction of Congress or justice that we have seen this president commit.

The facts of President Clinton’s misconduct pale in comparison to Nixon and do not hold a candle to Donald Trump. Lying about an affair is morally wrong, and when under oath it is a crime, but it had nothing to do with his duties in office.

The process being the same, the facts of President Trump’s misconduct being far more destructive than either past president, what then accounts for the disparate result in bipartisan support for his removal? What has changed?

The short answer is, we have changed. The members of Congress have changed. For reasons as varied as the stars, the members of this body and ours in the House are now far more accepting of the most serious misconduct of a president as long as it is a president of one’s own party. And that is a trend most dangerous for our country.

Fifty years ago, no lawyer representing the president would have ever made the outlandish argument that if the president believes his corruption will serve to get him reelected, whether it is by coercing an ally to help him cheat or in any other form, that he may not be impeached, that this is somehow a permissible use of his power.

But here we are. The argument has been made, and some appear ready to accept it. And that is dangerous, for there is no limiting principle to that position.

It must have come as a shock — a pleasant shock — to this president that our norms and institutions would prove to be so weak. The independence of the Justice Department and its formerly proud Office of Legal Counsel now are mere legal tools at the president’s disposal to investigate enemies or churn out helpful opinions not worth the paper they are written on. The FBI painted by a president as corrupt and disloyal. The intelligence community not to be trusted against the good counsel of Vladimir Putin. The press portrayed as enemies of the people. The daily attacks on the guardrails of our democracy, so relentlessly assailed, have made us numb and blind to the consequences.

Does none of that matter anymore if he is the president of our party?

I hope and pray that we never have a president like Donald Trump in the Democratic Party, one who would betray the national interest and the country’s security to help with his reelection. And I would hope to God that, if we did, we would impeach him, and Democrats would lead the way.

But I suppose you never know just how difficult that is until you are confronted with it. But you, my friends, are confronted with it. You are confronted with that difficulty now, and you must not shrink from it.

History will not be kind to Donald Trump — I think we all know that — not because it will be written by Never Trumpers but because whenever we have departed from the values of our nation, we have come to regret it, and that regret is written all over the pages of our history.

If you find that the House has proved its case and still vote to acquit, your name will be tied to his with a cord of steel and for all of history; but if you find the courage to stand up to him, to speak the awful truth to his rank falsehood, your place will be among the Davids who took on Goliath. If only you will say “enough.”

We revere the wisdom of our Founders and the insights they had into self governance. We scour their words for hidden meaning and try to place ourselves in their shoes. But we have one advantage that the Founders did not. For all their genius, they could not see but opaquely into the future. We, on the other hand, have the advantage of time, of seeing how their great experiment in self-governance has progressed.

When we look at the sweep of history, there are times when our nation and the rest of the world have moved with a seemingly irresistible force in the direction of greater freedom: more freedom to speak and to assemble, to practice our faith and tolerate the faith of others, to love whom we would and choose love over hate — more free societies, walls tumbling down, nations reborn.

But then, like a pendulum approaching the end of its arc, the outward movement begins to arrest. The golden globe of freedom reaches its zenith and starts to retreat. The pendulum swings back past the center and recedes into a dark unknown. How much farther will it travel in its illiberal direction, how many more freedoms will be extinguished before it turns back we cannot say. But what we do here, in this moment, will affect its course and its correction.

Every single vote, even a single vote by a single Member, can change the course of history. It is said that a single man or a woman of courage makes a majority. Is there one among you who will say “enough”?

America believes in a thing called truth. She does not believe we are entitled to our own alternate facts. She recoils at those who spread pernicious falsehoods. To her, truth matters. There is nothing more corrosive to a democracy than the idea that there is no truth.

America also believes there is a difference between right and wrong, and right matters here. But there is more. Truth matters. Right matters. But so does decency. Decency matters.

When the president smears a patriotic public servant like Marie Yovanovitch in pursuit of a corrupt aim, we recoil. When the president mocks the disabled, a war hero who was a prisoner of war, or a Gold Star father, we are appalled because decency matters here. And when the president tries to coerce an ally to help him cheat in our elections and then covers it up, we must say ‘‘enough.’’ Enough.

He has betrayed our national security, and he will do so again. He has compromised our elections, and he will do so again. You will not change him. You cannot constrain him. He is who he is. Truth matters little to him. What is right matters even less. And decency matters not at all.

I do not ask you to convict him because truth or right or decency matters nothing to him but because we have proven our case and it matters to you. Truth matters to you. Right matters to you. You are decent. He is not who you are.

In Federalist 55, James Madison wrote that there were certain qualities in human nature — qualities I believe, like honesty, right, and decency — which should justify our confidence in self-government. He believed that we possessed sufficient virtue that the chains of despotism were not necessary to restrain ourselves “from destroying and devouring one another.”

It may be midnight in Washington, but the sun will rise again. I put my faith in the optimism of the Founders. You should too. They gave us the tools to do the job, a remedy as powerful as the evil it was meant to constrain: impeachment. They meant it to be used rarely, but they put it in the Constitution for a reason — for a man who would sell out his country for a political favor, for a man who would threaten the integrity of our elections, for a man who would invite foreign interference in our affairs, for a man who would undermine our national security and that of our allies — for a man like Donald J. Trump.

They gave you a remedy, and they meant for you to use it. They gave you an oath, and they meant for you to observe it. We have proven Donald Trump guilty. Now do impartial justice and convict him.