I hope the Senate leadership treads carefully as rules for the impeachment hearing are decided, especially rules about witness testimony. Republicans risk a backlash from angry voters if they prevent the public from hearing from relevant witnesses.

Think back to July 9, when the governor of Virginia convened a special legislative session to deal with gun safety legislation as a response to the horrific May 31 shooting in Virginia Beach. The Republican-majority General Assembly adjourned the session after only 90 minutes, cutting off discussion before it could begin. Their smug behavior was punished soundly in the November elections, when outraged Virginians voted to flip the entire Virginia legislature to a Democratic majority for the first time in 24 years.

The stakes are high, and voters want to hear from relevant witnesses. Republican senators should think and act carefully.

Barbara Silversmith, Burke

Regarding E.J. Dionne Jr.’s Jan. 23 op-ed, “#MidnightMitch’s gift to the Democrats”:

The Post’s tag line, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” is particularly poignant at this very moment. Staging the Senate’s impeachment trial in the dark of night, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wanted to do, is feeding this insight. 

What a shame this is. It saddens me to see the Republican Party self-destruct, but I really am glad. The party has lost all sense of decency. 

Democracy has indeed died — in the dark of the night.

Carmela Vetri, Washington

In his Jan. 21 op-ed, “The worst thing about Trump’s answer to the impeachment articles,” which skillfully panned President Trump’s argument that his impeachment “overturn[s]” his 2016 election as president, George T. Conway III overlooked two points: To reject the impeachment votes by the House by refusing to conduct an actual trial of the charges, the Senate is overturning the hundreds of 2018 elections that elected the House majority that impeached Mr. Trump. And Mr. Trump was elected not by a majority of citizens who voted (far from it) but by the counter-democratic processes of the electoral college.

Steve France, Cabin John

Reporting on the rulemaking on the first substantive day of the Trump impeachment trial, the Jan. 22 front-page article “GOP relents on tight trial rules” highlighted a relatively minor concession by Republicans rather than their success at implementing rules that make it a mockery to call this event a trial. Their original proposed rules did not allow for witnesses or evidence and put an emphasis on speed and obscurity rather than truth and public revelation. The revised rules, frankly, are not much better and did not deserve the attention the headline gave them. With the appearance of concessions splashed across the “liberal media’s” front page as a vindication of their fairness, Republican senators can now feel more emboldened to reach the partisan acquittal that they have been planning all along.

George Linzer, Arlington

Arguments that Republicans will regret their support for an imperial presidency because a Democratic president may abuse her or his power in the future are naive because they are based on the false assumption that Republicans desire consistency and are bothered by hypocrisy. For an illustrative example, consider Sen. Lindsey O. Graham’s (R-S.C.) positions on executive privilege and obstruction of justice in the impeachments of President Bill Clinton and President Trump.

David A. Kravitz, Fairfax

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) must think the 53 Senate Republican senators are not as smart as the average American citizen. He has convinced them that the correct way to conduct a trial is to swear in the jury, defeat every attempt to bring information to light, conduct the trial and then examine evidence and listen to eyewitnesses after the fact. 

Would any intelligent citizen accept a trial on these terms: swear in the jury, come to a decision and then hear evidence and eyewitnesses? Yet Mr. McConnell wants to convince everyone that this is acceptable.

We all need to hope that, when push comes to shove, the truly intelligent Republican senators step up, show some backbone and refuse to conduct the trial this way. 

James Seyboldt, Warminster, Pa.