The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 1:00 am


Historic moment

Senators must judge impeachment case fairly

The impeachment process now underway in Washington is driven by politics, but it will be judged by history.

Indiana's U.S. senators, Todd Young and Mike Braun, should remember that, whatever the outcome of the trial, the way they conduct themselves during the process matters.

President Donald Trump and many of his supporters continue to demand that the Senate short-circuit the process and in effect exonerate the president without trial. But impeachment is not a shouting match to be decided on Twitter. It is a constitutional process that, having been set in motion, must be played out.

Senators of both parties sitting in judgment of Trump must do their best to put political loyalties aside as they consider the charges the House has brought against the president. That includes seeking testimony from important witnesses who haven't yet been heard.

Indiana went big for Trump in 2016, and his popularity here remains strong; it's only natural that Indiana's congressional delegation has supported administration initiatives and policies. But the impeachment process outlined in the U.S. Constitution assumes members of Congress will do their best to move beyond partisanship.

Both Braun and Young have been highly skeptical of the case for impeachment, but both have also said they will carefully consider the evidence as it is presented. As members of the Senate's Republican majority, they can help ensure that the impeachment trial is conducted openly and fairly, or they can join those who want to dispense with the formalities and ramrod through an acquittal. How they handle such choices will reflect on them, not the president or his accusers.

Just as it was not surprising that the Democratically controlled House voted to impeach, it will not be surprising for the Senate to acquit him. But before that vote comes, senators of both parties should test their convictions against the facts at hand.

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