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Editorial Roundup: New York

by Ace Damon

Recent editorials of state and national interest in New York newspapers:

Take impeachment seriously, senators

New York Times

January 14th

It would be nice to have faith that as the Senate prepares to receive the impeachment articles against President Trump and prepares for his role in this rare and important process, he will do the right thing. Faced with a mountain of evidence that an American president has abused his power by bringing down a vulnerable country for his own personal gain – and then prevented a Congressional investigation into his behavior – senators should spare no effort in conducting a fair and complete trial. , complete with witnesses and documentary evidence.

Unfortunately, in 2020, the Senate is led by Mitch McConnell, who has repeatedly demonstrated that he is more concerned with covering Trump than protecting the integrity of the position Trump holds, the security of the nation he leads or the constitution he has sworn to defend.

With few exceptions, Mr. McConnell enjoyed the support of his caucus. So it has been remarkable to hear in recent days a hint of dissent among the ranks, as a handful of Republican senators, including Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, have indicated that they are opposed to a direct dismissal of the charges against the president.

“I think we should hear the case. We have a constitutional duty to do that, ”said Alexander.

This is a low point to be clarified: the House of Representatives has gathered extensive and condemning testimony against Trump, despite its best efforts to prevent it from being released. The debate now must be about how to get the best possible account of the scandal in Ukraine, and not whether you need more than one hand to count the number of Republicans who are willing to accept the case.

Some senators who expressed openness to the hearing of witnesses suggested an agreement "one by one", where any witness summoned by Democrats – say, former national security adviser John Bolton – would be balanced by one called by Republicans – say, Hunter Biden. Obviously, these two witnesses are not the same. Bolton claims to have direct and pertinent information about the president's actions and motivations to withhold almost $ 400 million in military aid to Ukraine; Biden is a side player being dragged by the president and his allies to confuse the case against Trump.

McConnell, meanwhile, has not yet shown that he takes any part of that process seriously. He has already announced that he will work closely with the Trump government, which defends the president, and will gladly violate the oath of impartiality it is required to make. On Tuesday, McConnell scoffed at House Democrats' calls for more witnesses, saying they cannot claim that the case against Trump is so strong that it can be impassive, and yet "so weak that the Senate needs it. go fishing."

As the majority leader certainly knows, this is like saying that a criminal suspect can break free because he intimidated the leading witness in silence. Trump was challenged, in part, precisely because he gagged top government officials like Bolton, who has since said he is willing to testify if he is summoned by the Senate.

There is still time for Republicans – even just four of them – to treat this judgment with the seriousness it deserves.

There is still time for President Trump to behave like, well, a president. Each of the last two presidents facing impeachment proceedings – Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon – has complied with congressional subpoenas, albeit grudgingly. The question must be asked again: If Trump is so confident that he has done nothing wrong, why does he refuse to let these authorities testify or hand over important documents? And if McConnell is so confident that his party leader will be justified, why fight so hard to keep the whole truth from appearing?

Online: https://nyti.ms/35Zt5l8


Europe's nuclear moment

Wall street journal

January 14th

For months, Iran has violated the 2015 nuclear deal and promises to comply again if President Trump drops his "maximum pressure" campaign. Germany, France and the United Kingdom criticized Tehran and Washington while trying to save the deal, but on Tuesday the Europeans took a big step towards finally taking sides with the US.

Tehran announced this month that it would no longer meet the limits of the 2015 uranium enrichment agreement. This led to a joint statement by the three European powers on Tuesday that they had formally triggered a dispute mechanism written in the nuclear agreement. If Iran's non-compliance issue is not resolved through negotiations, Europe could impose sanctions on Iran.

"We do not accept the argument that Iran has the right to reduce compliance with the JCPoA," or nuclear deal, the foreign ministers said. Although "our three countries are not participating in a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran", they noted that Iran's violations "have increasingly serious and irreversible proliferation implications".

Europe has been moving in that direction – albeit hesitantly – for the past year. In January 2019, the European Union imposed new sanctions against Iranian intelligence for terrorist conspiracies on European soil. After an attack on Saudi oil facilities last summer, Europeans in September called for “Iran to accept negotiations on a long-term framework for its nuclear program, as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missile program and other means. Of delivery. . "

The conventional view is that Iran is escalating slowly, and Europe is not backing down strongly if Trump is not re-elected and a Democratic President returns to the nuclear deal. The latest measure is the most significant in Europe, because it seems that the continent may not be able to wait for Trump. They have 15 days to resolve the dispute, although the deadline can be extended by consensus.

The formal mechanism is unlikely to solve anything, as Iran has ignored European requests to return to compliance in the past. The best option would be to participate in the American sanctions campaign. This may seem unthinkable a year ago, but the European unit is showing more signs of stress.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is feeling pressure to take a tougher stance on Iran, especially after Iranian police briefly detained the British ambassador last week. Now, Johnson is again calling for a new "Trump deal" with Iran. When the UK leaves the European Union this month, Johnson may have more flexibility to work with Trump in Iran.

Tehran's rulers are more politically vulnerable now than at any time since 2009 …

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