In case you missed it over the weekend, a fine Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com did a solid job of summing up the decision that confronts North Carolina’s senior senator, Richard Burr (and for that matter, his mostly hopeless junior associate, Thom Tillis) as the Trump impeachment trial plows ahead: will he (they) act with honor and a commitment to truth or as a craven accomplice(s) to the administration’s lies?
While the impeachment trial unfolding in the U.S. Senate is officially about the House’s articles of impeachment against President Trump: “Abuse of Power” and “Obstruction of Congress.”
What really is on trial is the truth. What is unfortunate is that the leadership of the Senate is making sure that there will be no discussion of the truth, no witnesses will testify who know the truth and no documents will be produced to verify the truth.
Ultimately, the defense being made in the Senate by Trump’s lawyers and backers is that truth and decency don’t matter. As long as Donald Trump is president – and cuts taxes, regulations, opposes abortion and appoints the right judges — he can do whatever he wants.
When history judges, the verdict may be that the Senate traded partisan expediency for the permanent subservience of the legislative branch of government to the presidency. It will mark the end of our Constitution’s mandate for three co-equal branches of the federal government.
After noting that Tillis has already made clear that he has no intention of listening to the facts, the editorial offers up this hopeful take on Burr:
Sen. Richard Burr has certainly been true to his Republican roots and loyal to the president. But in his role as chairman of the Senate’s Intelligence Committee he has — far more than many of his Republican colleagues – found ways to work to elevate truth and uncover facts rather than reflexively submit to deception and disinterest to protect Trump.
Through the impeachment hearings, Burr who isn’t encumbered by concerns for re-election, must put the truth, the integrity of the Senate as stressed in the Constitution’s separation of powers, as his priority over loyalty to party or to Donald Trump.
It would be naive, particularly at this juncture, to expect that the Senate might convict Trump – regardless of the facts.
But for the sake of the truth, ALL the facts, all the witnesses, all the documents should be disclosed, presented, discussed.
Burr is uniquely positioned to be pivotal to make that happen. His legacy should be casting the vote to shed sunlight on the truth.