The Winston-Salem Journal admonishes Senator Richard Burr in its Wednesday editorial, for Burr’s quick dismissal of witnesses and further evidence in the Trump impeachment trial.
Appearing on a radio show hosted by former Republican Governor Pat McCrory, Senator Burr made it clear his mind is already made up and he would not vote to remove Trump from office.
As the Winston-Salem Journal goes on to explain:
Burr is entitled to his opinion. Some will applaud his support for the president.
Even so, this assessment, before the trial is even concluded, is deeply disappointing. He has announced his verdict before the trial has even ended — and before final decisions have been made about witnesses and documents. Whether he concludes he is for or against Trump’s removal, he should wait until the trial has ended. He might learn something yet.
As chair of the Intelligence Committee, Burr is in a unique position to understand the implications of using military aid to Ukraine as a bargaining chip.
Ukraine is in a war against Russia, which poses a major threat to the security of both Europe and the U.S. Trump’s delay of critical assistance usurped the power of Congress and, according to the Government Accountability Office, violated the law.
Further, enlisting a foreign government to interfere in a U.S. election muddies that “sacred thing.” Are these really such trivial actions?
And should Bolton’s witness be so easily dismissed as hearsay? He’s actually one of the firsthand witnesses Republicans have demanded we need.
In referring to the future, Burr echoed the claim from Trump’s legal defenders that if Trump were impeached for such, as he sees them, flimsy misdeeds, every future president is likely to be impeached.
The Democrats, on the other hand, have suggested that if Trump is not removed from office, no president will ever be removed for anything, no matter how criminal or immoral.
Neither statement is likely to be 100% accurate, but which outcome is riskier? Is it truly a danger that future presidents will have to watch their behavior to remain within legal and moral standards to avoid impeachment?
A Winston-Salem resident who attended Wake Forest University and maintains local ties, Burr has often been seen, by the Journal and others, as a level-headed moderate with the ability to put party aside for the good of the country. He has earned a reputation, through his work chairing the Intelligence Committee and his friendship with Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, a Democrat, for sobriety and bipartisanship. He’s served many causes we support, including nature conservancy and environmental protection. He has resisted some of the more extreme positions and offensive attitudes that have flowered under the Trump administration.
A decision to keep Trump in power isn’t one that’s going to destroy his legacy.
But if, as some predict, Trump sees acquittal as permission to engage in even more extreme behavior, Burr will be remembered as an enabler.
Read the full editorial here.