- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 15, 2019

Democrats seeking to avoid a quick impeachment shutdown in the Senate have accused Republicans who have made clear their opposition to the removal of President Trump of violating the Senate rules on “impartial justice.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said last week he will work with the White House on any impeachment proceedings, adding that there is “no chance the president is going to be removed from office.”

Democrats and media figures quickly accused Senate Republicans of violating the Senate rules, which states that senators must take an impeachment oath swearing to do “impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.”

“The Constitution prescribes a special oath for the senators when they sit as a trial in impeachment,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler on ABC’s “This Week.” “They have to pledge to do impartial justice. And here you have the majority of the Senate, in effect the foreman of the jury, saying he’s going to work hand in glove with the defense attorney.”

Rep. Val Demings, Florida Democrat, made the same argument Thursday on Fox’s “The Sean Hannity Show,” while Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini accused Mr. McConnell in a Friday op-ed of signaling that “sworn oaths do not matter.”

“That’s in violation of the oath that they’re about to take, and it’s a complete subversion of the constitutional scheme,” said Mr. Nadler.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, said there were inherent differences between senators acting as jurors in an impeachment proceeding and juries in a criminal or civil trial.

“The Framers understood that impeachment, particularly the impeachment of a president, is inherently a political exercise,” said Mr. Cruz on ABC’s “This Week.” “Senators are not required, like jurors in a criminal trial, to be sequestered, not to talk to anyone, not to coordinate. There’s no prohibition.”

He said that during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, “the Senate Democrats were all talking with the Clinton White House. You look at this impeachment trial. The House Democrats are all talking with the Senate Democrats.”

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, predicted that no Republican would vote to remove Mr. Trump from office, after which CNN’s Jake Tapper said, “It doesn’t sound like that oath is going to mean very much, if you have already made up your mind, sir.”

Mr. Paul, who characterized the impeachment as a “disagreement over policy,” disagreed.

“I would say that my oath is to the Constitution. And I take that very seriously,” Mr. Paul said. “So, for example, you can interpret the Constitution in different ways. I interpret the Constitution that we should not be sending foreign aid to other countries.”

As a result, he said, “Just because I disagree with the Democrats, does that mean I should be impeached for my position?”

The House Judiciary Committee approved Friday two articles of impeachment, which go before the House Rules Committee on Tuesday. A vote of the full House is expected Wednesday.

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