Home Opinion OPINION: Democrats Discuss — There must be a fair impeachment trial in the Senate

OPINION: Democrats Discuss — There must be a fair impeachment trial in the Senate

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Katie Gold is the Ohio University College Democrats’ secretary. She is a sophomore studying communication studies. The following article reflects the opinion and views of the author and does not present those of the Ohio University College Democrats. 

Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.

In a few short weeks, we will witness each of the nation’s 100 senators take the following oath: “I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.” 

Established in the first formal impeachment of Andrew Johnson, Senate rules indicate that each senator must promise to be an impartial judge. Impeachment is rare and is used to hold officials accountable for their actions. There are also many steps in both chambers of Congress before a president is officially removed from office. As a result, we have only had two other formal impeachments — made possible by a simple majority in the House of Representatives — in our 243-year history.

Since President Donald Trump is officially the third sitting president to be impeached, congressional Republicans are actively defending his actions and declaring themselves compromised before the trial has even started. 

Polarization in the U.S. has reached every space of our government, and Trump has served as a further polarizing figure to many, which has, in turn, made the impeachment process extremely polarized. 

Many of the Senate majority members have gone on record to say a number of damaging statements as the formal investigation approaches. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he will run the trial in “total coordination” with the White House and its lawyers. In December, Judiciary Committee chairman, Lindsay Graham, bluntly announced that he would not be a fair juror

The blatant disregard for holding precedent and taking impeachment as a serious charge is dangerous for the near and distant future. The deep polarization of this impeachment puts the legitimacy of future impeachments in jeopardy. 

The sheer willingness of Senate Republicans to defend Trump in every action he takes shows how half of our congressional members value party over people. By allowing Trump to not face any accountability, it will embolden him now as well as public officials in the future. 

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz emphasized the message that “… we have to do everything we can to conduct a fair trial, but whether that happens depends on whether or not we can find four Republicans who will vote to do this the right way.” 

The Democratic-proposed rules would have allowed both parties to request documents and force relevant witnesses to testify. These rules are just basic necessities to ensure a thorough and just trial. If this resolution is not passed, there will not be a fair trial in the Senate and Trump will be freed of the impending charges. 

Not allowing the facts to be heard and investigated is a dangerous precedent and will haunt us as a nation down the road. It will only take four Republican senators to put country before party. Four senators must be brave enough to put the will of the American people first and deliver a fair trial.

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