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The facts should guide impeachment

It seems few days have gone by recently without some new revelation regarding the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry that targets President Donald Trump.

Clearly, the president and some of his allies used their positions in efforts to advance Trump’s political prospects. Whether their actions were impeachable offenses remains to be seen.

Americans should not overlook the fact the the nation’s founders recognized impeachment was not meant to punish crimes. Rather, it is a strictly political process through which members of Congress pass judgment on the propriety — as they see it — of a public official’s behavior.

It also should not be forgotten that virtually every president has used his authority and power to improve his prospects for reelection. Even President Abraham Lincoln and his aides did that, ensuring that many Union soldiers likely to vote for him in the 1864 election received leaves so they could go home and cast ballots.

Still, accusations against Trump are of concern because, if true, they could affect the nation’s ability to conduct foreign policy effectively.

For the same reason, allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden, that he used his office to benefit his son, Hunter, need to be explored more thoroughly than has been the case thus far.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry have vowed to have it completed quickly, possibly by the end of the year. Setting an artificial deadline on an investigation so important — and with changes reported virtually every day — would be neither wise nor responsible to the American people. Pelosi should reconsider her timetable.

This is a matter that needs to be followed through as thoroughly and objectively as possible. The facts, not the clock — and certainly not a political vendetta — should guide the inquiry.

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