Eric Hubner: Republican senators should stand up to the appeasement of Trump

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Ann and Mitt Romney pose for a photo with Gov. Gary Herbert and his wife, Jeanette, and Sen. Mike Lee and his wife, Sharon, after giving his victory speech at the Romney headquarters in Orem, on election night, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

As our focus now turns to the Senate impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump, we need Republican Senators who will act now, before the trial, to protect their ability to, as the oath requires, “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.”

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell has stated that he is, “coordinating with the White House counsel (to ensure that) there will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this [impeachment trial].”

In so stating, McConnell has declared himself as unwilling to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has likewise compromised himself by helping the White House defense team.

If there is a moment in U.S. history where the Constitution and what it represents to stable governance “hangs by a thread,” then this is that moment. Once McConnell sets the rules for the Senate trial in favor of Trump, the concept of three coequal branches of government will have been dealt a mortal wound as it is sacrificed in a “show trial” of obeisance to the preeminence of the presidency.

Any complaints by GOP senators about the trial after terms are set will be mere play acting.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”

A servile Senate is only one lock-step vote away from creating a sovereign White House during a future crisis.

We need senators of great courage to speak out now to put the Senate impeachment trial on the right constitutional track.

Republicans insist there was no evidence to impeach Trump. Will you dare risk censure by rallying other GOP senators to insist that White House witnesses, such as John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, appear and White House documents be provided to allow senators to learn from primary witnesses and primary source documents what actually happened?

A Senate that suppresses evidence is no better than a “see no evil, hear no evil” kangaroo court with a prepared verdict.

And will you insist on a secret ballot to prevent intimidation and retaliation against senators who vote their conscience?

Anything less than a real Senate trial will not convince most Americans. It will widen the rift that is tearing our country apart.

Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer, stated during the recent House impeachment debate that,

“In 1974, one congressman [Larry Hogan, Sr.,] took the brave and principled step of becoming the first Republican on the Judiciary Committee to support impeaching President Nixon. He said to his colleagues and to the country, 'It isn’t easy for me to align myself against the president to whom I gave my enthusiastic support. ... But it is impossible for me to condone or ignore the long train of abuses to which he has subjected the presidency and the people of this country. The Constitution and my own oath of office, demand that I bear true faith and allegiance to the principles of law and justice upon which this nation was founded. And I cannot in good conscience turn away from the evidence of evil that is to me so clear and compelling.’”

Hoyer then asked this question: “Who among us many years from now will receive such praise as a man or woman of courage? Who will regret not having earned it?”

If the Mitt Romneys and Susan Collinses “go along to get along” and participate in a trial of appeasement to protect an aspiring American autocrat, Winston Churchill’s prophetic words on England’s appeasement of a dictator will stand as a prophecy of the fruits of our own appeasement:

“This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year after year unless, by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”

Eric Hubner

Eric Hubner, Volcano, Hawai’i, received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University, as well as a master of social work degree from the State University of New York. He is a retired mental health therapist and school social worker, who also worked in the addiction field and coordinated services for families at risk of child abuse and neglect.

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