FARGO — A group of North Dakotans submitted petitions to the offices of Republican Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer Tuesday, Jan. 21, urging them to support fairness during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
"From our perspective, we're not political. We're not asking them to vote one way or the other," said Joseph DeMasi, of Valley City, who was one of four people who dropped off petitions at Hoeven's downtown Fargo office Tuesday.
Another Valley City resident, Madeline Luke, said the 351 signatures were collected over the course of several days, including a period that saw blizzard conditions and subzero temps.
"People went through a lot of trouble to do this," Luke said, adding that the reaction of people who were approached ranged from those who were grateful someone was focusing attention on the subject of Trump's impeachment to harsh comments from some.
Holding a pocket edition of the U.S. Constitution, Luke stressed that the intent of the petitions was to promote thoughtful reflection on what is happening in Washington and that all of the information surrounding the impeachment trial be considered.
"We tried to make it about fairness," she said.
The first full day of Trump's impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate Tuesday was expected to be dominated by a partisan fight over the rules of how the trial will proceed.
The U.S. House voted in December to impeach Trump, but delayed transmitting two articles of impeachment while efforts were made to pin down the trial rules. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., ultimately moved the process forward without assurances Democrats sought.
The petitions circulated by Luke and others called on Sens. Hoeven and Cramer to "sit in judgement soberly and with an open mind; make your decision based on evidence, not on loyalty to one man or self-interest."