Sen. Mike Lee’s meeting with former President Donald Trump’s lawyers during the impeachment trial did much more harm than good. Even if the trial was a farce, he had a duty to at least take his role seriously.
When he meets with one side’s lawyers to discuss strategy while the trial is ongoing, he is setting precedent that it is acceptable to act as a partisan activist and dispense with any idea of being a juror in the process. While it might be beneficial this time around, his meeting will give cover to Democratic senators to do the same thing in future impeachment trials when a Democratic president is impeached.
An impeachment trial is intended to be more political than legal. No one should ever expect senators to be impartial going in, as they might a juror, because that is not required of them. But scheming with lawyers gives an unfair advantage to the defense or the prosecutors and seriously undermines the already damaged impeachment process.
Although he claims to be a defender of the Constitution, Mike Lee took a step during the trial to ensure that a constitutional process loses more teeth and becomes a less powerful deterrent to future political wrongdoers.