Serving the High Plains

Impeachment process should move along

We reckon that what you think about the impeachment of President Donald Trump is influenced greatly by your opinion of the man and his leadership capacity.

If you previously were inclined to oppose him, you likely support Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. If you previously supported — or at least tolerated — him, you probably still do.

We’re not reading minds. We are reading polls.

Last Wednesday night, the Democrat-led U.S. House approved two articles of impeachment against Trump in near-unanimous party-line votes: Dems for, GOP against. The Republican-majority Senate likely will acquit Trump at trial. A RealClearPolitics polling average shows the country split evenly on impeachment and removal, 47% in favor and 48% opposed. A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that 90% of Republicans oppose impeaching Trump and removing him from office, while 83% of Democrats favor it.

These are not final judgments on Trump. They are snapshots reflecting the bitterly partisan tenor of American political life.

The president is polarizing. His approval rating has climbed since the House began impeachment hearings but hasn’t reached 50%, according to Gallup.

Safe to say impeachment isn’t changing many minds on Trump so much as distilling opinions.

No wonder Thursday in Washington brought friction rather than collaboration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unexpectedly withheld transmitting the impeachment articles to the Senate. Instead, she traded barbs with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

If there is to be a trial in January, as the American people have been led to believe, we expect House and Senate leaders to get past their pregame jawboning and deliver on their responsibilities. We anticipate arguments regarding trial rules, each side seeking the advantage. The two sides tussled Thursday over Democratic insistence that Senate Republicans call witnesses, including White House officials who have declined to participate.

Go ahead and tussle, Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell. Negotiate, if you can. Then try the case. The impeachment trial shouldn’t be held up indefinitely for a continuation of arguments from the impeachment inquiry. The American people are waiting.

— Chicago Tribune

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