No one is above the lawJUNG HYO-SIK
The author is a Washington correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.
U.S. President Donald Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (Usmca), another accomplishment in his “America First” policy, on Jan. 29. As a result, 75 percent of car parts need to be manufactured in North America to get tariff exemptions. It blocks major Korean, German, Japanese and Chinese carmakers from the roundabout export to the United States through simple assembly in Mexico. The deal is aimed at adding jobs in the United States.
Dozens of Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, attended the signing. None of the Democrats who supported the ratification of the Usmca were invited — in retaliation for the Democrats in the House initiating the impeachment track.
Instead, Democratic senators participated in the inquiry on the Democratic House impeachment managers and the attorneys for the president at the Senate on the ninth day of Trump’s impeachment trial.
Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont asked, “Given that the media has documented President Trump’s thousands of lies while in office, more than 16,200 as of Jan. 20, why should we be expected to believe that anything President Trump says has credibility?” Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said, “I’m not quite sure where to begin with that question except to say that if every defendant in a trial could be exonerated just by denying the crime, there would be no trial. It doesn’t work that way.”
Aside from Sanders, three Democratic senators who are running in the Democratic primary — Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) and Michael Bennet (Colorado) are tied in Washington for six days a week from Monday to Saturday while the Iowa Democratic caucus — the first preliminary vote — is set to take place today. Campaigning during the week is led by surrogates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Sanders and Julián Castro or family members for Warren.
However, no one is complaining about being stuck at the impeachment trial instead of focusing on the primary campaign. They don’t complain despite the disadvantage they have against their rivals who can freely navigate Iowa, like former Vice President Joe Biden and the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg. For the senators, the impeachment trial is a constitutional duty. They swore to faithfully participate in the trial on Jan. 16.
As the Republican Party has the majority in the Senate, there is no possibility of a guilty verdict. But the primary candidates are doing their duty for one reason — no one is above the law.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 31, Page 28