It has been just over a week since a divided U.S. Senate voted to acquit President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, who voted to convict the President, spoke to reporters Thursday in his first press briefing since that vote.
Jones is running for reelection in 2020, but he didn’t spend much time on politics Thursday. He talked about the opportunities the Senate has to move legislation and cited two bills he’s co-sponsoring. One measure would provide money for residents in rural areas to purchase septic tanks, and the other is aimed at expediting getting disaster relief money to communities.
Jones did say he was appalled at President Trump’s post-impeachment behavior, including the firing of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified during the impeachment hearings in the House.
Jones, a former U.S. Attorney, criticized President Trump's remarks on behalf of former campaign adviser Roger Stone, who is facing a prison sentence.
“I think what's going on with the Department of Justice now, with the fact that you've had the President attempting to interfere in criminal justice matters involving his friend,” Jones said. “This is not a good thing for the United States – certainly not a good omen for the Presidency of the United States. "
Jones voted Thursday to require the president to seek congressional approval before taking further military action against Iran.
“Before a President can lead us into war he or she must first earn the support of the American people and Congress,” he said. “While I believe the President has the power to protect Americans in the case of an imminent attack, that authority does not extend to committing our service members to long-term hostilities and doing it just unilaterally.”
The measure passed, with eight Republicans voting with 47 Democrats to push the measure through the Senate.
Alabama U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican, voted against the measure, which President Trump is expected to veto.
Trump's proposed fiscal year 2021 budget has some good news for Huntsville, Jones said.
“In the Huntsville area the increased funding for our military and trying to modernize our military, that's going to be good for Alabama as a whole,” Jones said, “because we have such an incredible opportunity with modernizing the military and providing for the nation's defense.”
Jones also expressed concern that the proposed budget would cut community development block grants. He said those funds are widely used in Alabama.