Senate should probe every aspect involved

Members of the House of Representatives — Democrats, anyway — have set the stage for only the third impeachment trial of a president in U.S. history. Maybe. If they ever send their articles of impeachment to the Senate.

As of right now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is playing political games, attempting to tell Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., how to run his chamber. Imagine if the positions were reversed and McConnell attempted such a condescending maneuver. There would be howls over alleged sexism.

In any case, approval by the House will, at some point, shift the process to the Senate, where it grows more binding. Only the Senate has the authority to actually find Trump guilty of accusations and remove him from office.

Trump is accused of two offenses. One allegation is that the president is guilty of obstruction of Congress, for failing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. It is true that Trump ordered some members of his administration not to testify on the matter before House committees. That is far from the first time a president has taken such action, however. But the Constitution provides a mechanism to resolve questions of executive privilege — the courts. House Democrats refusal to use that tool makes it plain they are less interested in justice than in producing a partisan show.

The second article of impeachment accuses the president of abusing his power. It centers on Trump’s request that Ukrainian officials investigate whether any wrongdoing was involved in a move by one of that nation’s companies, Burisma, to put Hunter Biden on its board of directors. Biden is the son of former vice president Joe Biden, who may be the Democratic nominee for president next year.

Among noteworthy failures in the House impeachment inquiry is the fact that neither Biden was asked by House Democrats to testify. That should be rectified by the Senate, because such testimony could address an important question. It is whether any wrongdoing was involved in either Hunter Biden’s appointment by Burisma or Joe Biden’s demand, while vice president, that Ukrainian officials fire the country’s top prosecutor. Biden has pointed with pride to his refusal to grant Ukraine $1 billion in aid until the prosecutor was fired.

It seems to us that all of this — questions about Trump’s actions and Biden’s — should be resolved once and for all. The two men could very well represent the choice before American voters in 2020.


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