GW political groups avoid debate on trial

The University’s political groups have maintained decorum in the past few weeks, choosing not to debate publicly the impeachment trial of President Clinton.

College Republican Chairman Jared Hosid and College Democrats President Marc Shaller said their organizations have avoided direct debate about impeachment because they said debating the issue is counterproductive.

“It has been beaten to death,” Hosid said.

“It is not an issue worth debating,” Shaller said.

Shaller announced the CDs’ official viewpoint in a an e-mail he sent to CD members and the parent organization earlier this year. He wrote that “we support the president.” He declined to clarify or elaborate on the statement, saying that its full meaning was up to interpretation.

In an attempt to make their view known to the University community, the CDs invited House Judiciary Committee member Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to speak last fall. Shaller said Frank spoke about many issues, briefly addressing the impeachment. Frank told the audience that the evidence presented to the Judiciary Committee was not strong enough to warrant impeachment of the president, Shaller said.

Shaller said he also plans to invite Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), another Judiciary Committee member, to speak to GW students within the next two weeks about the Democrats’ view of the impeachment trial.

Hosid said he and other CRs were pleasantly surprised to see Congress pass the articles of impeachment. In his opinion, the members of the House performed their duty as representatives by putting principle ahead of politics and voting to impeach the president.

“I’ve never been so proud to be a Republican,” he said.

Both Hosid and Shaller agree the outcome of the trial is obvious. Hosid said he is sure Clinton will not be found guilty of the charges against him.

“(The Republican Party) never had the votes in the Senate,” Hosid said.

The CDs and the CRs both sent representatives to witness the proceedings in Congress. The CDs even rented vans to drive GW students to an anti-impeachment rally headed by Rev. Jesse Jackson outside the Capitol late last year.

The long-term effects of the impeachment proceedings is unknown, but Shaller predicts the Democrats may have gained support from the public.

“The GOP has damaged itself in the process,” he said.

Hosid said the impeachment evidence and trial has sent a distinct message to the American public.

“It is clear as day that Clinton does not belong in office,” he said.

While the CDs and the CRs do not agree on what the outcome of the trial should be, they do agree that Congress must end the impeachment matter.

“I’m pleased that it’s over,” Shaller said.

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