The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
Impeachment is a political act, so partisanship is to be expected. Nonetheless, Thursday’s 232-196 House vote formally outlining impeachment procedures was strictly partisan: All Republicans voted no, along with two Democrats. All other Democrats (and one independent) voted yes.
Blame this outcome mostly on a GOP collectively burying its heads in the sand, ignoring facts to insist bizarrely that President Trump has done nothing wrong, while screaming that Democrats and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are undermining due process.
Thursday’s vote should partly address such claims. The rules adopted allow the behind-closed-doors depositions of the investigative part of the House inquiry — in which Democrats and Republicans participate — to continue for another week or so. Soon after, public hearings begin, with prior witnesses recalled. It is then that the formal case will be made to the American people. Trump will have counsel present, thus demolishing the canard his due process is violated. Republicans will have rights to request witnesses. In truth, none of this is too dissimilar from the Nixon and Clinton impeachment inquiries.
Nonetheless, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the endeavor “a blatantly partisan attempt to destroy the president.” Ironic, given that this happened because of this president’s “blatantly partisan attempt” to use his office in a partisan manner against a potential opponent.
Let this vote be a bellwether for a more serious phase.
Let Democrats demonstrate they are driven by something more than raw partisanship. Beyond just transparency, Democrats must show discipline (thus, no more stunts like Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s foolish credibility-damaging “paraphrasing” of Trump’s call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky). Using a dedicated counsel for the hearings is sound: The American people need facts, not grandstanding members.
All evidence and witness statements so far released have shown a president committing impeachable acts. Time, now, to present the strongest, clearest case to the American people.