By Miriam Raftery
December 18, 2019 – The House prepares to vote today on impeaching President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. If impeachment passes the House, the Senate must hold a trial and set the rules.
But Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who is in charge of setting rules for a Senate trial, has brazenly stated, “I’m not an impartial juror.” That violates the U.S. Constitution, which requires that Senators must take an oath pledging to act as an "impartial justice" before engaging in an impeachment trial. McConnell has further stated that he is "in total coordination with the White House counsel's office" and is "taking my cues from the president's lawyers."
Journalists, whose obligation is to report truth and provide readers with facts instead of propaganda, have taken a far different view. Dozens of major newspapers including virtually all of the nation’s top newspapers have published editorials calling for impeachment--including such respected national news sources as USA Today, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, the conservative-leaning Salt Lake City Tribune and Houston Chronicle, and newspapers spanning the nation geographically including the San Diego Union-Tribune, Denver Post, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times, Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Portland Oregonian, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Detroit Free Press, Connecticut Post, the Atlantic, San Jose Mercury News, York Dispatch in Pennsylvania, and the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
USA Today’s editorial board wrote, “In his thuggish effort to trade American arms for foreign dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Trump resembles not so much Clinton as he does Richard Nixon, another corrupt president who tried to cheat his way to reelection. This isn’t partisan politics as usual. It is precisely the type of misconduct the framers had in mind when they wrote impeachment into the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton supported a robust presidency but worried about “a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper” coming to power. Impeachment, Hamilton wrote, was a mechanism to protect the nation “from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”
The New York Times concluded, “In the end, the story told by the two articles of impeachment approved on Friday morning by the House Judiciary Committee is short, simple and damning: President Donald Trump abused the power of his office by strong-arming Ukraine, a vulnerable ally, holding up hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid until it agreed to help him influence the 2020 election by digging up dirt on a political rival.
When caught in the act, he rejected the very idea that a president could be required by Congress to explain and justify his actions, showing “unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance” in the face of multiple subpoenas. He made it impossible for Congress to carry out fully its constitutionally mandated oversight role, and, in doing so, he violated the separation of powers, a safeguard of the American republic.”
The Salt Lake City Tribune’s editorial stated, “Some in both chambers may honestly believe that the removal of a duly elected president, less than a year before he is to face the voters, would be overreach. But there is no question that this president has committed impeachable acts. His blatant threat to withhold millions in congressionally approved security assistance to Ukraine, which was and is facing an ongoing threat of Russian hegemony, unless that nation’s president helped our nation’s president spread damaging rumors about one of his key political rivals placed the security of both nations, and the world, behind the president’s own personal and political interests. And the administration’s refusal to assist or even participate in the committees’ work amounts to an unconstitutional obstruction of congressional oversight powers.”
An Internet search found only two publications opposed to impeachment. The Wall Street Journal criticized Democrats for not filing broader articles of impeachment, writing, “So that’s it? That’s all there is? After all the talk of obstruction of justice, collusion with Russia, bribery, extortion, profiting from the Presidency, and more, House Democrats have reduced their articles of impeachment against President Trump to two: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Honey, we shrunk the impeachment.”
The Chicago Tribune, in an editorial written before the House Judiciary sent impeachment articles to the full House for a vote, concluded that the President did engage in wrongdoing, but called for censure instead of impeachment as an option more likely to gain Republican support.: “The option we see more fitting to address Trump’s abuse of power is for both houses of Congress to censure him. We do not envision a weak-kneed admonishment that Trump can dismiss. A resolution of censure would spell out in detail the president’s betrayal of trust and his failure of responsibilities by placing his personal political interests above his obligations to the nation. This resolution could adopt the language that could otherwise appear in articles of impeachment. While Trump likely would vilify his accusers, we hope that some Republican members of Congress would do the right thing and sign on. A condemnation of Trump’s conduct would allow a polarized nation to reestablish a common standard of ethical behavior that Trump — in his deviousness and recklessness — has jeopardized.”