It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our democracy that President Trump receive a full and fair trial in the Senate in accordance with the impeachment trials of William Jefferson Clinton and Andrew Johnson. Attempts by the Republican Party to dismiss the charges out of hand or to prevent the calling of witnesses represent an assault on the rule of law and cannot be allowed to stand.

The trial of President Clinton is perhaps the best guideline for the Senate to follow. Though it was well-known in the Senate at the time the Democrats would likely not vote to remove the president, the Senate still observed the niceties and ceremony appropriate to the seriousness of the issue before them. Partisanship can likely never be removed from the Senate even in its capacity as a jury, but if the process is to have any legitimacy at all it must allow for the possibility, however remote, that some in the Republican Party would choose their country above political convenience.

CHRISTOPHER THOMAS

CHRISTIANSBURG

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