Listen to this article

As our country faces another impeachment investigation, it is important to separate the real issues and facts from political strategy.

The U.S. Constitution allows for the impeachment of a president (Article II, Sect. 4); by the House of Representatives (Article I, Sect. 2, Clause 5); with trial and possible conviction by the Senate (Article I, Sect. 3).

All the rest of the process is based on tradition, rules and politics. This has been true no matter who’s in power.

Are the closed-door hearings “legal”? Yes. Fair? People disagree about that. But closed-door hearings have been held by Congress during the Benghazi hearings, and during the impeachment hearings of Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. Closed-door hearings are held to protect national security, personal privacy or ongoing legal proceedings.

Hearings and timing of the impeachment resolution are not defined in the Constitution. In fact, the House could simply vote for impeachment.

Forty-seven GOP Representatives and 57 Democrats from the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight Committees are allowed in the current hearings. Both sides have equal time to participate in all depositions.

The Representatives who “crashed” the hearings violated deposition rules and security protocols — last updated by John Boehner’s GOP House majority in 2015. Some of the crashers actually serve on the committees qualified to participate. This was a diversionary tactic.

Our right to know is important, and the House leaders have promised to release the testimony when appropriate. We should focus on the facts of this case — the administration’s dealings with Ukraine.

BARBARA JONES

Urbana