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Rep. Swalwell: History Demands Senate Impeach Trial Be 'Fair And Impartial'

rep. eric swalwell listens to testimony with his hands clasped at a committee meeting
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., attends a  hearing in the Capitol (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By    |   Sunday, 05 January 2020 08:06 AM

The impeachment of President Donald Trump recalls another bribery scandal that involved an American president in the 18th century — and underscores why a Senate trial must be "fair and impartial," Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., says.

In an opinion piece posted by NBC News, Swalwell said what was known as the XYZ Affair was “America’s first international scandal.” 

“This is no time for partisan antics,” he wrote. “The core institutions of our democracy are at stake. Individual senators must consider our history and our national dignity, consult their consciences, deliberate impartially and make our founders proud.”

Swalwell recounts that in 1797, three envoys were sent to France by then-President John Adams to meet with French Foreign Minister Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord to shore up relations between the two nations.

But Tallyrand’s agents told the Americans “their boss required ‘a favor’ before any such meeting could be had,” Swalwell wrote, adding “Sound familiar?”

“Faced with this shakedown, Adams didn’t shrug and pay the bribe,” Swalwell wrote. “Instead, he asked Congress to arm American vessels, shore up our coastal defenses and manufacture more arms, all as prelude to potentially waging war against France.”

“Adams publicly released the letters he'd received from his envoys laying bare Talleyrand’s extortion, bribery and abuse of power. The only redaction he made was to change the French agents' names to “X, Y and Z,” respectively,” Swalwell wrote.

“The United States of America, only a few decades old, had declared to the world that it would not bow to corruption. We had cemented our place as a serious diplomatic power, and as a rising democracy that was willing to stand firmly for its ideals,” he wrote.

He decried that in a Senate trial over the articles of impeachment, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already vowed to work in step with the White House, although House Speaker Nancy Pelsoi, D-Calif., has yet to send the articles to the upper chamber.

“The fix is in, as far as those senators are concerned, but it need not be for the rest. It is the duty of Chief Justice John Roberts to preside over a fair and impartial trial and of senators to then render judgment, even if they choose not to convict at the end," Swalwell wrote.

“We too must look corruption in the eye and say, clearly, that we as Americans will not accept this behavior — never have, and never will,” he wrote.

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The impeachment of President Donald Trump recalls another bribery scandal that involved an American president in the 18th century - and underscores why a Senate trial must be "fair and impartial," Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., ...
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2020-06-05
Sunday, 05 January 2020 08:06 AM
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