(Jan 21.) Whether as purely calculating politicians or for reasons of idealism and integrity, plenty of Republican senators ought to defy Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by insisting on a thorough, unabbreviated impeachment trial, with all relevant witnesses called to testify.

The calculating, even cynical, reason is that, as Shakespeare wrote, eventually the “truth will out.” One way or another, whether in the trial or later, national security adviser John Bolton and others will tell the public what they witnessed in the Trump White House. If senators follow McConnell’s lead by quashing their testimony during the trial, they will look terrible, as if they deliberately abetted a tawdry cover-up, if a month before November’s election, Bolton testifies before a House committee and says something that makes President Trump appear venal or otherwise guilty….

Setting political calculations aside, though, the more important considerations involve fealty to the constitutional design and transparency for the public weal. Those two concepts together, along with the basic common sense that a trial can’t find truth if first-hand witnesses are excluded, combine to make the question of witnesses and evidence a matter of bedrock integrity….

Basic sense and constitutional design both demand that the Senate give due respect to an impeachment case presented by the House. If the case is wanting, a fair trial will demonstrate that far better than a truncated dismissal that keeps the public in the dark. Either way, integrity demands a thorough examination of the facts.

Immediate political considerations, not least of which are the fear of retribution from McConnell or the White House, may make senators fear to act with the integrity described above. In answer, consider two quotations. The first is again from Shakespeare, urging idealism amid the fray: “What stronger breastplate than a heart undaunted?” it asks. “Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just.”…

[The full column is at this link.]


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