Former Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) defended the Senate’s ability to conduct a fair impeachment trial in an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Thursday.
Citing concerns that partisan divides would undermine an impeachment trial of President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE, the two former senators offered their own experiences in the 1998 impeachment trial of then-President Clinton as a model.
The two noted that while their perspectives differed on what the phrase "do impartial justice" in their impeachment trial oath implied, they both understood the necessity of a trial that would “inspire the confidence of the public and withstand the unsparing scrutiny of history.”
Lott and Daschle also wrote that determining the structure of the trial involved an agreement to ensure that neither side had any “procedural advantage” and providing more rather than less time for debate and testimony, as well as breaks during the deposition process.
“We remain proud that the Senate rose to meet its constitutional duty, and did so in a manner that most observers concluded was fair and impartial,” they wrote.
“If called upon to hold another presidential impeachment trial, we hope senators of both parties will again put aside partisan considerations and approach the task with the same spirit of fairness that served the institution of the Senate and the country so well two decades ago.”
Many of the specifics regarding an impeachment trial are left to the discretion of the Senate, including whether witnesses should testify on the Senate floor or be deposed elsewhere, the length of the trial and how much time each side should have to argue its case.
A nonpartisan trial "is a challenge with a high degree of difficulty, but we believe it can and must be done," the two wrote, noting that in regards to setting such a bipartisan tone early in the process, "not everyone was happy with that outcome. But we heard almost no complaints about the trial itself."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellManchin backs raising debt ceiling with reconciliation if GOP balks Biden needs to be both Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside Billionaire tax gains momentum MORE (R-Ky.) has said he will hold an impeachment trial for Trump if the House passes articles of impeachment, but the president's defenders in the upper chamber have pushed back, with Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) vowing to introduce a resolution condemning the House's impeachment inquiry.
“Here’s the point of the resolution: Any impeachment vote based on this process, to me, is illegitimate, is unconstitutional, and should be dismissed in the Senate without a trial,” Graham told Fox News's Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityBiden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet Meghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' Biden giving stiff-arm to press interviews MORE this week.
House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry last month amid revelations that Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day Business lobby calls for administration to 'pump the brakes' on vaccine mandate Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping MORE, a 2020 Democratic White House hopeful, and his son over allegations of corruption. No evidence of criminal wrongdoing by either Biden has emerged.