Record editorial: Romney, Lee must approach impeachment trial with diligence it deserves |

Record editorial: Romney, Lee must approach impeachment trial with diligence it deserves

It is a moment in American history that calls for a thoughtful approach from serious people.

Following Wednesday’s historic impeachment vote in the House of Representatives, the fate of Trump now rests in the Senate, where members will decide whether to take the unprecedented step of removing a president from office.

Summit County residents — and all Utahns — should call on their senators to proceed with the diligence the situation deserves.

It is of critical importance that a fair, thorough trial that aims to get at the truth of the matter plays out in the Senate. Given the gravity of the charges against the president — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — it should go without saying that the task before the upper chamber is not to be taken lightly.

Many Republican senators, however, disagree. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, most importantly, has publicly stated that he intends to block key witnesses from testifying and coordinate strategy with the president’s lawyers, warping the integrity of the Senate’s constitutionally mandated role in impeachment in the process. Others have made similar pronouncements.

Utah’s senators must reject that kind of bad-faith approach. And we must demand that of them.

Rather than merely falling in line with other GOP senators, who appear likely to absolve the president without so much as a cursory examination of the evidence, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee must serve as impartial jurors, untainted by political allegiance.

The spotlight is shining brightly on Romney, in particular. Among Senate Republicans, he has perhaps been the president’s harshest critic, even accusing Trump in a January Washington Post op-ed of failing to rise to the mantle of the office. This is an opportunity for Romney to show leadership. His country needs it.

Lee, unfortunately, seems less likely to approach the trial with seriousness. In a statement Thursday, he joined many of his colleagues in parroting the party line, saying flatly that the president has done nothing wrong — on its face a preposterous claim, though reasonable people may disagree about whether Trump’s missteps are impeachable. Further, Lee accused Democrats in the House of impeaching Trump for purely political reasons.

Residents should make clear to Lee that taking on this consequential responsibility with that approach is unacceptable. Regardless of how he and Romney ultimately vote, they must carefully weigh the facts and base their decision on them.

Only then will they have fulfilled their Constitutional mandate and served the people of Utah in a manner true to the oaths they took when they were sworn into office.

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