A CNN host took the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board to task for giving inconsistent viewpoints when it came to the Senate impeachment trials of former President Bill Clinton versus current President Donald Trump.
Noting that lawmakers have a “well-deserved reputation for situational ethics,” CNN’s senior political analyst John Avlon said there should be higher standards like newspaper editorial boards.
“This may seem like a lofty standard for our low times, but it’s the essence of equal justice — the idea that true principles should apply, no matter who is in power,” Avlon said.
Notably, the Wall Street Journal’s statement of principles haven’t changed much from the late 1990s to now, Avlon said, but somehow they’ve come to a different conclusion when it comes to whether new witnesses or evidence should be heard in the impending impeachment trial for Trump.
When Clinton was impeached, the WSJ wrote that it was “more obvious than ever that…witnesses must be heard.” However, for Trump’s impeachment trial, “the exact opposite” of arguments are bing made, with the editorial board now stating it was against new witnesses and evidence being submitted, Avlon said.
Back in the 1990s, the Wall Street Journal was arguing for impeachment witnesses and new evidence. Today, not so much. "True principles should apply no matter who is in power." –@JohnAvlon #RealityCheck pic.twitter.com/4s7zAmzqd1
— New Day (@NewDay) January 17, 2020
Senators in the impeachment trial “deserve the witnesses they want, up to and including the president himself,” the WSJ wrote in the late 1990s, the CNN host also pointed out.
Avlon added in his commentary that it’s not necessarily a bad thing for opinions to change — but that when they do, they should be explained in greater depth why they did.
“I’m pointing out these ethical 180’s not to make the case that hypocrisy is inevitable in Washington or that editorial positions deserve a straightjacket across the ages. It’s simply a reminder that principles don’t mean anything if they’re abandoned when your party is in power,” Avlon also said.
The American people are overwhelmingly supportive of the idea that additional witnesses be heard in the Senate trial. A Morning Consult/Politico poll from earlier this month, for example, found that 57 percent of Americans supported allowing additional witness testimony, while only 24 percent were against the idea.