Editorial: Portman needs to buck GOP, hear out Bolton


Akron Beacon Journal



This is a big week for Rob Portman, Ohio’s Republican U.S. senator.

With the impeachment trial of President Trump continuing in the Senate, at least two major votes are looming that will forever define his service to our state and country.

First, should the Senate allow witnesses to add to the substantial record of evidence still being collected by the U.S. House of Representatives?

Regardless of Trump’s guilt or innocence, his entire defense consists of deflecting blame onto others, denials already proved to be false and brazenly refusing to cooperate with Congress, all facts that should trouble Portman.

The already urgent need for more witnesses grew substantially over the weekend when The New York Times released excerpts of a draft book by former national security adviser John Bolton, the conservative hawk who left the White House last year.

Bolton’s accusations would present the first-hand account Republicans claim has been missing from Democrats’ case.

If the party roles were switched right now, we’re confident McConnell, Portman and their Republican colleagues would be calling for witnesses. Selflessly serving our democracy must come well before serving one’s party just to preserve power.

Reasonable minds can disagree on whether Trump’s offenses merit removal from office just months before an election. More facts are needed from Bolton and others.

Portman is one of a few Republicans who have been critical of the president and was reported to be a key driving force behind last-minute changes to the trial’s rules. He also regrettably voted against witnesses last week.

We don’t always agree with Portman on his votes or agenda. But we’ve always seen him as a good man who’s earned respect by acting with honor and integrity.

He needs to continue to put his country before party.

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Akron Beacon Journal

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