This week, we asked readers for their take on the impeachment trial — and what they hope will happen versus what they expect to happen.
“I would hope for all Senators to honor their oath to be impartial, despite strong indications to the contrary,” said one reader, a 74-year-old from Boise who lived in Washington, D.C., during Nixon’s impeachment. “Sadly, I expect the Republicans to vote for acquittal out of fear of retribution, without regard for the facts or any interest in witnesses.”
Should senators choose to block witnesses, the trial could be over as soon as Friday after an up-or-down vote on the two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
We fear the chance to hear from witnesses will be swept aside for partisan gain. We’d like to know what former National Security Adviser John Bolton has to say.
Sure, it would slow down the proceedings and delay Trump’s potential acquittal. But every senator, Republican or Democrat, should want all of the relevant facts in this case to be on the table. Blocking testimony from a firsthand witness does not accomplish that.
Senators are expected to vote this week on whether to allow witnesses. Republicans have a 53-47 majority, so four of them would have to vote against party lines if new witnesses are to be allowed.
Hearing new testimony should not be a partisan issue. And among the American people, it’s not.
Most Americans, whether Republican or Democrat, agree that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should call witnesses during the trial, according to a SurveyUSA poll of over 4,000 registered voters. The poll shows that 71% of Republicans, 93% of Democrats, and 81% of Independents said witnesses should be allowed to testify, Newsweek reported Jan. 21.
Our senators, Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, have power to ensure the American people and their constituents in Idaho have access to the relevant facts in this case.
As Sen. Risch said in his Jan. 24 handwritten letter to the Idaho Statesman, “The facts and the law must be reviewed and thoughtfully considered.”
Senators can’t fully review the facts while blocking Bolton’s testimony.
Risch’s letter also pointed out how repetitious the trial has been. “There has been almost nothing new since early in the trial,” he wrote.
Well, Sens. Risch and Crapo, you have an opportunity to change that.
As one of your constituents, an 87-year-old from Nampa, wrote in to the Idaho Press this week, “What kind of people don’t want witnesses and documents in a trial? I am afraid that they are hiding something. I am still hoping they will want to find the truth.”
So are we.
Our editorials are based on the majority opinions of our editorial board. Not all opinions are unanimous. Members of the board are Publisher Matt Davison and community members Tami Dooley, John Jackson, Chase Johnson, Melissa Morales, Jane Suggs and Devon Van Essen. Editor Holly Beech is a nonvoting member.
Editor's note: This editorial originally listed an incorrect impeachment charge of obstruction of justice; it has been corrected to obstruction of Congress.