Presidential candidates serving in the Senate must recuse themselves from impeachment proceedings
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It is often said those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. For a case study, look no further than Democrats in Congress. Since election day in 2016, Democrats have plotted ways to take down Donald Trump. For years they fed the American people lies of Russian collusion, which Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE himself proved was a total hoax. Now Democrats have shifted to their latest attempt to oust President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police MORE: Ukraine. Even the New York Times admitted in a November column that the Ukraine hoax is a “do-over” for their failed Russian collusion narrative to bring down the president.

Instead of blaming their party’s flawed candidate, who herself was under FBI investigation during the 2016 campaign, Democrats have refused to recognize President Trump’s legitimacy, instead, choosing to spew falsehoods, sew division, and attack the foundations of our democracy by impeaching a duly elected president.

At this point, a vote on Articles of Impeachment seems inevitable. Now, for only the third time in our nation’s history, the U.S. Senate will decide whether the president of the United States should be removed from office. The significance of this moment cannot be understated, and the precedents set by Congress through the course of these impeachment proceedings could forever alter the landscape of our democratic process.

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In the course of our nation’s history, impeachment has always been a last resort, utilized only in the gravest of situations with input and support from both parties. Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyThe truth behind Biden's 'you ain't black' gaffe A glimpse of our post-pandemic politics The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Will new therapy drug be a COVID-19 game changer? MORE recently decried impeachment as the “death penalty” for public office holders. We cannot allow our society to devolve to the point where political parties can utilize impeachment as a political tactic. Unfortunately, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump praises 'domination' of DC protesters Pelosi, Schumer say treatment of protesters outside White House 'dishonors every value that faith teaches us' Democrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd MORE (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFlynn urged Russian diplomat to have 'reciprocal' response to Obama sanctions, new transcripts show The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers MORE (D-Calif.) have made clear they intend to send the Democrat senators running for president articles of impeachment as an early Christmas present, allowing them to turn one of the most extreme remedies laid out by our Founding Fathers into another soundbite slandering President Trump.

It is important to note, Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 of the United States Constitution requires senators to swear an oath when sitting on a trial of impeachment. This oath, which is enshrined in our Constitution and laid out in Rule XXV of the Senate Rules in Impeachment Trials, requires senators to, “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.” It is simply impossible for those senators running for office with the sole purpose of removing Donald Trump to uphold that oath.

That is why myself and over two dozen of my fellow colleagues are calling for all senators who are actively running for the Democrat Party’s presidential nomination to recuse themselves from the United States Senate’s impeachment trial.

During an impeachment trial, the vice president is required to relinquish his position as president of the Senate to the chief justice due to the clear conflict of interest. Senators actively seeking election to the presidency of the United States should be required to do the same. The conflict of interest arising from this situation is far more profound than that of the vice president, who has already tied his political reputation to the reputation of the president he serves.

In Nixon v. United States, the Court established that the Constitution grants “the sole Power” to try impeachments “in the Senate and nowhere else”; and the word “try” “lacks sufficient precision to afford any judicially manageable standard of review of the Senate’s actions.” In other words, the Senate has unilateral authority to establish the rules of its own proceedings in an impeachment trial, including by precluding members with a conflict of interest from participating.

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The members of the United States Senate seeking election to the presidency have already reached a verdict, dismissing the fundamental principle of our democracy that Americans are innocent until proven guilty. In their race to the left, candidates have been calling for President Trump’s impeachment for months, even before the launch of any official impeachment inquiry. How can they now swear to act as an impartial juror?

As legislators, we all share the same commitment to protecting our Constitution and the democratic institutions it enshrined. Thus far, the politically motivated impeachment of President Donald J. Trump in the House of Representatives has been devoid of fairness and ripe with bias, and it threatens to shake the foundations of our democracy. The Republican majority in the Senate must act to ensure the trial does not become another opportunity for political grandstanding and attacks on our democracy. If Democrats fail to learn the lessons of their political impeachment hoax, we can only expect the charade to be repeated again.

Jason SmithJason Thomas SmithPass the Primary Care Enhancement Act Trump coronavirus briefings put health officials in bind House GOP lawmakers urge Senate to confirm Vought MORE represents Missouri’s 8th District and is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and the Budget Committee.