Impeachment is serious business.
The move this week by Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives to begin a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump is a serious step. It doesn’t mean the president will actually be impeached — that’s up to a full vote in the House. And it doesn’t mean the president will be convicted and removed from office — that’s up to a full vote in the Senate (and a two-thirds majority besides).
But it does mean we’re in a new — serious — phase.
For the good of our country, and as difficult as it may be to imagine, party leaders should work to keep politics out of the process. As this inquiry kicks off, both Democratic and Republican leaders should above all want the facts to win out.
We might not know what the process will reveal and what facts will come to light, but it’s ultimately important that all information be made available to the American people.
The controversy that led us to this place is, yes, serious. The notion that President Trump pressured the Ukraine to investigate a potential rival for the presidency in exchange for its tranche of foreign aid is highly disturbing. Following the 2016 presidential campaign, in which Trump publicly asked for help from Russia in hacking his opponent’s email, legislators are right to ask for more information.
The airwaves and internet will be packed with commentary from all ideological stripes as this inquiry kicks off. Allow us a word of advice: Ignore them for now.
What matters are the facts, not theatrics from pundits or leaders. A transcript of the Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president has been released. The whistleblower complaint at the heart of the recent controversy should be as well. Both of these pieces of evidence should be invaluable guides on how to proceed.
If the reports are true, leaders from both parties will have much to grapple with. And the process will roll on and require each and every representative and senator to put himself or herself on the record. As we said, and as we’ve repeated, this is serious business.
President Trump is a controversial figure. He retains many staunch supporters, as well as fierce detractors. That unfortunately means that it will be difficult to conduct a truly rigorous, nonpartisan impeachment inquiry.
But it’s worth the effort.