Saturday, May 13, 2017

Another NC Senator, another Impeachment?

The last time an American President faced impeachment for a real crime, it was a senator from North Carolina, Sam Ervin, who led the Senate investigation. That time Sam Ervin rose to the occasion. Now we face another impeachment and another senator from North Carolina who has to show us if he has the integrity needed to lead the Senate investigation.
This much is less ambiguous: Now the committee’s chairman as it investigates ties between President Trump’s associates and Russia, the unobtrusive Mr. Burr is shrugging into a spotlight he never expected and does not especially seem to relish.

The senator’s thorny position — a Republican lawmaker investigating the Republican president, whom he embraced last year on the campaign trail in his own re-election bid — has grown more trying by the day.

Mr. Burr, 61, has watched a fellow Republican, Representative Devin Nunes of California, fumble the House Intelligence Committee inquiry, raising the stakes for a Senate panel that many view as the only credible chance to hold the administration to account on Capitol Hill.

The senator has emerged, whether he likes it or not, as the lawmaker who might well be tasked with undermining not only a president he has supported vocally but the entire Republican Party in a period of unified rule, championing an inquiry that could consume what was supposed to be period of conservative policy feats. His supporters insist he is beholden to no one, noting his pledge last year never to seek office again after his re-election.

But at the same time, Mr. Burr’s independence was forcefully questioned after reports in February that he had spoken with the White House and engaged with news organizations to dispute potentially damaging articles about associates of Mr. Trump’s having contact with Russian intelligence operatives. Democrats have grumbled that Mr. Burr was slow-walking his investigation, calling for a special counsel to take up the case.

Then there was the small matter of Mr. Trump’s firing Mr. Comey on Tuesday, throwing the bureau’s own investigation into flux and further elevating the Senate review. On Friday, the Senate’s burden seemed to grow again after Mr. Trump suggested in a series of threat-laced early-morning Twitter posts that there may be secret tapes of Mr. Comey’s conversations with the president.

Mr. Burr, rarely emotive in his exchanges with reporters and generally reluctant to second-guess the administration, has not concealed his concerns in recent days.

“The timing of this and the reasoning for it doesn’t make sense to me,” he said the morning after the firing. He allowed that the circumstances had made the committee’s task “a little more difficult.”
The choice in Senator Burr's hands really is between his country and his party and either way he may well be digging his own political grave. Few people in history have the moral fiber to stand up for what is right in his position, will he be one?


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