Law professor Frank O. Bowman, III, abandoned the scholarly neutrality that distinguished his instructive Impeachable Offenses blog and declared that Donald Trump’s Ukrainian affair warrants impeachment. And Dr. Bowman said that Tuesday, before the White House released its notes on the July Ukraine shakedown:
What Trump has now admitted about his contacts with the Ukrainian President is – by every textualist, originalist, historical, living constitutionalist, or commonsense standard – impeachable.
…Trump has unapologetically admitted that he used the power of the presidency to secure help from a foreign power against a political rival. Constitutionally, he has shot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue. And he’s daring Congress and the rest of us to do something about it [Dr. Frank O. Bowman, III, “Impeach Donald Trump,” Impeachable Offenses, 2019.09.24].
…Nixon’s conduct was penny-ante compared to Trump’s. Trump didn’t cover up a second-rate burglary by a group of inept “plumbers” looking for dirt on Democrats. Rather, he appears to have wielded the entire economic, military and moral authority of a great nation to, effectively, extort another democratically elected head of state.
Leaving aside the question of impeachment, this episode must count as one of the most discreditable things any American President has ever done. Prior Presidents have been cruel or mean-spirited, bigoted or shortsighted, and sometimes exercised terrible judgment. And every President makes decisions with at least one eye on the political consequences. But I know of no comparable case where a President baldly, consciously misused the power of the whole nation for his own purely private political benefit, without even a credible claim that it was in the national interest.
If what Trump did here isn’t impeachable, nothing is [Dr. Frank O. Bowman, III, “If Trump’s Ukraine Contacts Aren’t Impeachable, Nothing Is,” Impeachable Offenses, 2019.09.26].
Meanwhile, Senator Mike Rounds fumbled the Constitution on South Dakota Public Radio this evening, telling the House that they should cede their Constitutional responsibility to investigate and impeach the President to the Senate.
Mike, Mike, Mike—aren’t you tired of Donald Trump making you say stupid things? Wouldn’t you rather say true things, and maybe bold things? Wouldn’t you rather clear your conscience and the decks so you could spend the coming months “improving the lives of South Dakotans… passing the USMCA, getting our fiscal house in order and reducing burdensome regulations“?
Here’s on sure fire way to achieve those goals: embrace impeachment. Tell the House to expedite it; tell your little buddy Dusty (ahem—Congressman Johnson) to vote for it. When the Articles of Impeachment come to the Senate floor, vote for them. Get you whole caucus to vote for them. Convict Donald Trump, swiftly and unanimously. Make Mike Pence—predictable, manageable, undramatic, and rational Mike Pence—President.
Mike Pence will say yes. He’s surely sick of three years of sycophancy that hasn’t won him any loyalty. Pence knows there’s a strong chance that Donald Trump will pre-empt his 2024 Presidential aspirations by kicking him off the ticket in favor of some reality-TV splash. Give Mike Pence an escape hatch that leads up, not out.
You should say yes. Remove Donald Trump from office, and you can get back to legislating. You and Congress can work to get the bad taste of impeachment out of your mouths by working on all the legislation that’s been stalled not by impeachment or Democratic partisanship but by a White House that lacks the talent, attention, and interest necessary to craft good policy. Democrats will be as eager to put impeachment behind them as you will be. And President Pence will want bills to sign so he can turn to the 2020 electorate and say, “See? Look at all the good bills I signed! let me keep working for you!”
Remove Trump, and you can also improve your election chances. You can put the farm vote immediately back in your pocket. You can lift from your evangelical friends’ backs the thorny cross of making excuses for the clearly un-Christian Trump. You can restore American national security and global stability. You can remove the number-one cause of uncertainty in the current market and make the stock market soar. Give South Dakotans a stable world, growing 401ks, and a President who doesn’t kick farmers in the crotch every week, and your chances of re-election go from 60–40 to 75–25.
You can upend Democratic and Republican primary tactics alike, mostly in your favor. Consider your own primary challenger, State Rep. Scyller Borglum. Take Trump out of the picture (and if you GOP Senators declare in unison that Trump is Constitutionally unfit for office, he will be), and Borglum can’t play the Trumpist line she’s been trying to use (it doesn’t fit her, anyway, so do her integrity a favor, too!). She’ll have to default to her moderate conservatism, which you and your big corporate pals can continue to label as liberal infiltratorism.
Most fun of all, you can hoist Trump by his own reality-TV petard. He craves ratings-grabbing plot twists. Hang Trump with the greatest plot twist ever, a President’s own party turning fully and firmly against a tyrant in their midst to issue the first ever conviction and removal of an unfit President. That’s not just good TV; that’s a guaranteed ticket to the history books, big enough and good enough to wash away at least some of the stain on your reputation for nominating and electing this menace in the first place.
Impeachment also happens to be the right thing to do.
So come on, Senator Rounds! Be honest! Be bold! Defend your country, your Constitution, and your conscience from corruption and collapse! Listen to Professor Bowman, support impeachment, and vote to convict the worst President ever.