To the editor:
Now that President Trump has been impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, the Republican-controlled Senate must now conduct the trial. On such an important trial, it should not be a sham, as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to intend. Trials by their nature have witnesses for the defense and for the prosecution. Indeed, at the only two previous impeachment trials, witnesses were called to testify.
In the case of the impeachment trial of president Andrew Johnson in 1868, several witnesses gave testimony for the prosecution and Gen. William T. Sherman gave testimony for the defense. All the witnesses appeared before the whole Senate.
In the case of President Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999, while there were witnesses, their depositions were videotaped in a Washington hotel suite, and some of the videotaped testimony by Monica Lewinsky was shown in the full Senate.
Clearly, there are precedents for having witnesses at impeachment trials. A trial without witnesses is not a trial. If we hold our American democracy as dear as should be, we should demand that the Senate have witnesses for the defense and for the prosecution. The only reason why the Republicans will likely call no witnesses is that they have something to fear: the truth.