By CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd

(CBS4) – Rep. Joe Neguse, a rising star in the Democratic party, achieved national acclaim last week as he played a lead role in the impeachment trial of former President Trump.

“There wasn’t a day in this process that I didn’t feel the weight of history. I never gave up hope that we would get the 67 votes necessary for a conviction,” Neguse told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd in his first local interview since the trial.

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Rep. Joe Neguse (credit: CBS)

Elected to Congress just two years ago, Neguse is the youngest impeachment manager in history and received wide praise for his calm demeanor and command of legal doctrine.

“I am filled with gratitude to the staff and attorneys and my colleagues who presented the case. I also have gratitude for the seven senators who chose country over party and really are profiles in courage in my book,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

Despite the verdict, Neguse says he would not have done anything differently, including calling witnesses.

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“It became clear to us both on Friday and on Saturday that any witnesses would not be friendly witnesses and would be very unlikely to comply voluntarily,” Neguse said. “What that meant is that we would likely be in litigation, litigating subpoenas for years.”

Even if Trump himself had testified, Neguse said it wouldn’t have changed the outcome. Most Republicans said they voted to acquit, not because they believed the president was innocent, but because they didn’t think the Senate had the authority to try a former president.

“I do think that the statements that were issued, and the fact that 57 Senators came to the same conclusion as we did on a bipartisan basis, speaks volumes. They understood, as the American public did, that the facts as we alleged them during the course of the trial were true.”

Neguse said he is now working with Democrats and Republicans on legislation aimed at preventing another Capitol attack and strengthening our Democratic institutions.

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“You think about Article One of our Constitution, the legislative branch that is authorized therein, and the fact that so many of our powers have been abdicated and have been essentially taken by the executive branch and it has made the executive quite powerful,” Neguse said. “There are Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, who agree that Congress needs to assert itself more, irrespective of who the president is. There are a number of bills on reforming the authorization of use of military force and strengthening Congress subpoena power, for example, all of which I am continuing to have conversations with my colleagues about.”

Shaun Boyd