With the ball in the U.S. Senate’s court regarding an impeachment trial for President Trump, a rather strange debate is occurring among some senators: Should there even be a trial?
What are they thinking?
After several days of sitting on articles of impeachment approved by Democrat lawmakers, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is ready to forward them to the Senate. That official action was needed before senators could do anything about the matter.
In essence, the president is accused by House Democrats of two things: attempting to enlist Ukrainian leaders to bolster his re-election campaign and interfering with the House investigation of that allegation by refusing to allow some federal officials to testify.
Key Republican senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have said already that the accusations are nonsense. Nevertheless, the Constitution requires the Senate to take some action after receiving articles of impeachment from the House.
One possibility — promoted by the president himself — is for the Senate to simply vote to dismiss the case. Incredibly, some senators have considered such action.
Of course, the House charges are based on the thinnest of evidence. They are politically motivated, purely and simply.
But the House has adopted formal articles of impeachment, acting, in effect, as a prosecuting attorney. That leaves the Senate in the role of judge and jury.
Republican senators, who hold a solid majority, could simply vote to dismiss the allegations against Mr. Trump. But that would raise questions among millions of Americans: Why not go ahead and hear the evidence — and allow the public to listen to it, too?
Indeed, why not?
It is debatable whether, even if he committed the acts of which he is accused, Mr. Trump is guilty of offenses the nation’s Founders, who wrote and ratified the Constitution, would consider acceptable grounds for removal from office.
All the more reason for senators to debate the issue, after a thorough look at the evidence.