I have been a Republican for more than 30 years, served three years in the administration of President George W. Bush and have had a hand in electing Republicans around the Northeast for all of those 30 years. Last year I wrote a letter to the editor warning Republicans that efforts to thwart special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation would put them at a distinct disadvantage in the midterm elections. Today I echo those thoughts, but this time about impeachment and its impact in 2020.

Investigations and impeachment trials have become part of the fabric of our political and governing systems, and whether we like them or not, they are here to stay. Let me first say that I am of the belief that both parties are at fault in the ongoing impeachment proceedings.

Democrats, buoyed by a belief that officials in the administration of Donald Trump colluded with Russia, charged headstrong into a special counsel, only to be left standing at the altar of a report that cast more than a shadow of doubt over their initial projections. Undeterred, they moved ahead with more investigations that show as much about the president’s lack of restraint and judgment as they do about the Democrats’ blind obsession with trying to undo the results of the 2016 elections.

That being said, this president has opened the door to many of these allegations by what I refer to as a lack of judgment on the one hand and a lack of understanding of the political minefields that follow in the wake of such broad statements on the other. His public statements to China and what we know from the Ukraine call, at the very least, call into question his judgment when it comes to upholding the highest ethical and legal standards required by the president of the United States.

Do I believe that presidents strong-arm foreign leaders? Absolutely. Do I believe that politics finds its way into our foreign policy? Again, absolutely. The fact that it has and does occur does not make it right, however.

We are a country of laws, and whether we agree with them or not, we must follow and uphold them. Therefore, whether or not we agree with the impeachment proceedings in the House, we must allow them to proceed. We must allow the facts to determine the outcomes.

In 1999, Congress found then-President Bill Clinton guilty of a series of crimes, but none of them rose to the level of impeachable. In 1998, Republicans suffered huge losses, many of them as a result of their obsession with bringing down Clinton in an impeachment trial.

Impeachments can be a tricky process, and can, in the case of Clinton, have blowback impacts on the party holding the trial. Whether this will happen in 2020 remains to be seen, but allowing the process to play out and following the facts, as in any trial, is the bar for which both political parties should strive.

After all, in our legal system defendants are assumed innocent until proven guilty, and trials are held rather than litigating guilt or innocence over social media or in the press. As a nation, we need this process to play out. As Republicans, we need this process to play out as well in order to uphold the rule of law and remove this issue from the political discourse in 2020.

 


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