Former senators from Indiana Evan Bayh (D) and Richard Lugar (R) joined 42 former colleagues in signing a letter urging the current Senate to rise above party affiliation and ideology.
The letter, published in The Washington Post Monday, asks the current Senate to guard democracy by "ensuring that partisanship or self-interest not replace national interest."
Bayh served in the Senate from 1999 to 2011 and as governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997. He ran for Senate again in 2016 but lost to Republican Todd Young.
Lugar is the longest serving member of Congress in Indiana history, serving from 1977 to 2013.
"We are on the eve of the conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and the House’s commencement of investigations of the president and his administration," the letter says. "We are at an inflection point in which the foundational principles of our democracy and our national security interests are at stake, and the rule of law and the ability of our institutions to function freely and independently must be upheld."
The letter is signed by 32 Democrats, 10 Republicans and two Independent former senators from 28 states. (Becca Costello, Infogram)
Speaking on NPR's Morning Edition, former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and secretary of defense under President Obama says he signed the letter because of the "bitter polarization and divide of this country."
"As we look at the next two years, with the Mueller investigation probably winding up sometime next year, the Democrats taking control of the House, Republicans still in the Senate, we see a divide and a bitterness and a polarization coming that we think is dangerous for this country unless we - we start to try to get above it," Hagel says.
The letter is signed by 32 Democrats, 10 Republicans and two Independents from 28 states:
Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), Richard Bryan (D-Nev.), Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), Max Cleland (D-Ga.), William Cohen (R-Maine), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Al D’Amato (R-N.Y.), John C. Danforth (R-Mo.), Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), David Durenberger (R-Minn.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Wyche Fowler (D-Ga.), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Gary Hart (D-Colo.), Bennett Johnston (D-La.), Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Paul Kirk (D-Mass.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), David Pryor (D-Ark.), Don Riegle (D-Mich.), Chuck Robb (D-Va.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Jim Sasser (D-Tenn.), Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), John W. Warner (R-Va.), Lowell Weicker (I-Conn.), Tim Wirth (D-Colo.)