Ethics & Public Policy Center

And So Begins an Impeachment Trial That Will Change No One’s Mind

Published in The Washington Post on January 21, 2020


Much of the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing its coldest time of year, but temperatures are positively frigid in Washington — and it has nothing to do with winter. President Trump’s impeachment trial starts today, and the ultra-partisan debate over rules and the preordained outcome will lock already frosty interparty relationships in sheets of ice.

Democrats are as furious about the Senate’s proposed trial rules as Republicans were about the House’s “investigation.” In both cases, party leaders simply used their power to set rules that pushed an outcome their party’s voters demanded. For the Democratic House, it was a rushed vetting of witnesses heavily tilted in Democrats’ favor with daily leaks from supposedly closed-door depositions fed to a ferociously anti-Trump media. For the Republican Senate, it’s a rushed trial schedule that forces House managers and the president’s defense team to make their arguments over two calendar days each, ensuring that the hearings go late into the evening and beyond the ability of many Americans to watch live. To borrow from Carl von Clausewitz’s famous dictum on war: Impeachment is simply the continuation of political warfare by other means.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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