- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 21, 2019

Jeff Flake urged his former Senate Republican colleagues Friday to prioritize “country over party” as they prepare to put President Trump on trial for two articles of impeachment.

Mr. Flake, who left office at the start of the year after a single term representing Arizona, put forth the plea in an open letter published after the House of Representatives voted to impeach Mr. Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, placing the president’s fate in the hands of the Republican-controlled Senate where he is expected to be acquitted.

“President Trump is on trial. But in a very real sense, so are you. And so is the political party to which we belong,” Mr. Flake wrote for The Washington Post.

Referencing a reluctance among Republicans not to find Mr. Trump at fault, Mr. Flake cautioned against following the president “off the cliff, into the abyss of unreality and untruth.”

“Please don’t accept an alternate reality that would have us believe in things that obviously are not true, in the service of executive behavior that we never would have encouraged and a theory of executive power that we have always found abhorrent,” Mr. Flake wrote.

“If there ever was a time to put country over party, it is now. And by putting country over party, you might just save the Grand Old Party before it’s too late,” he concluded.

The Democratic-controlled House voted Wednesday to impeach Mr. Trump following a congressional investigation sparked by his withholding of military assistance from Ukraine, which happened as the president pressured his counterpart in Kyiv to investigate one of his Democratic political rivals, former vice president and current White House hopeful Joseph R. Biden.

Not a single Republican in the House voted for impeachment, and a similar outcome could happen once the GOP-controlled Senate considers whether or not to convict.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California had not committed yet to sending the House’s findings to the Senate, however, effectively preventing any proceedings from moving forward.

Mr. Flake, 56, was elected to the Senate in 2012. He feuded regularly with the president while in office and ultimately decided in 2017 not to seek re-election.

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