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Sen. Tina Smith on impeachment: 'My biggest goal is to make sure that this trial is fair'

Updated: January 19, 2020 07:41 PM

The House impeachment managers, Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, delivered the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate last week, and Chief Justice John Roberts swore in all 100 senators ahead of the Senate trial.

The trial will begin Tuesday to determine whether the Senate should convict President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. All senators must be present for the trial, and Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota sat down with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS to talk about what she anticipates in the days and weeks ahead.

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Smith stressed her duty to hear all the facts as an impartial juror, but she also said calling witnesses is an important part of doing that.

"My job is to make sure I do everything I can do provide impartial justice," Smith said. "That's what I raise my hand and swear to do. My biggest goal is to make sure that this trial is fair and that we have an opportunity to hear from witnesses and that we can bring all the facts out so we can do our duty."

The rules Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to propose on Tuesday will determine if and when witnesses will be allowed to testify. Smith said many senators have no idea what those rules might be.

"Even in the Clinton impeachment, which was a pretty partisan time, the Democrats and the Republicans came together to agree on rules that were bipartisan, nonpartisan, and that is not happening here, which I think is a detriment to the overall fairness of the trial," Smith said.

With partisanship being such an influential factor in recent politics, Sen. Smith said she hopes the members of the senate can put their party affiliations aside and come to an unbiased decision.

The 100 members of the senate who serve as the jurors in this trial and also are the ones that vote on the rules, so I think every single one of us has to look inside our hearts and do our very best to provide impartial justice," Smith said. "That's what I am sworn to and that's why I think that ... what some of my colleagues have said — that they're not unbiased, that they know which side they're on — I think really undermines what the constitution intended when it comes to these kinds of trials."

Watch the full interview in the video player above.

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