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Why Rounds and Republicans Should Support Impeachment

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].

Reading the rough summary (remember, not really a transcriptsolidifies Professor Bowman’s position:

…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.

30 Comments

  1. Debbo 2019-09-26 21:19

    Orange Anus is throwing everyone around him under the bus as fast as his tiny hands can. He’s implicated Barrfly, Jue-Lee-ahh-nee and Prissy Pussy Pency already.

    Just for general purposes, Orange Anus has said that Speaker Pelosi should no longer be allowed to serve as speaker because . . . he’s insane and says crazy stuff.

  2. Barry Muxen 2019-09-26 21:49

    Never judge a book by its cover. Pence is implicated in the Ukraine mess as well. He made phone calls and was referenced by Cheeto Jesus (hat tip to Charlie Pierce) as being involved. He has cultivated an image as a reasonable GOPer, but his record of bigotry and intolerance as governor in IN says otherwise. He is a zealot and zealotry never ends well.

  3. Debbo 2019-09-26 22:45

    Barry, when I said “Prissy Pussy Pency” I was referring to the VP, AKA, #1 a$$ kisser, latent homosexual and submissive to Mother’s dominance.

    As this goes on and more is revealed, we’re looking at Madam President Pelosi.

    More will be revealed because Orange Anus can’t keep his mouth shut. He’ll keep piling one attempt at a crooked “deal” on top of the previous failed attempt and outing the refusniks until the GOP turns on him when his total lack of loyalty becomes apparent even to them.

    I eagerly await the moment when Moscow Mitch gets tire tracks across his rubbery, jowly mug. Bwahahahahaha!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  4. Debbo 2019-09-26 22:57

    Per Vanity Fair, Faux Noize is in “management bedlam.”

    “This morning, Sean Hannity told friends the whistle-blower’s allegations are ‘really bad,’ a person briefed on Hannity’s conversations told me.”

    “a feud erupted between afternoon anchor Shepard Smith and prime-time host Tucker Carlson.” It got on air, with Carlson attacking Smith for telling the truth and Smith reciprocating. “Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace communicated to Smith this morning to stop attacking Carlson, a person briefed on the conversation said. ‘They said if he does it again, he’s off the air.'”

    Paul Ryan, yes, that guy, is on the Faux Noize board and he’s urging Lachlan Murdoch to unload Orange Anus.

    is.gd/jDbRk6

  5. Debbo 2019-09-26 23:12

    The Strib published an AP article online this evening. It will probably be in tomorrow’s paper edition.

    “White House officials took extraordinary steps to ‘lock down’ information about President Donald Trump’s summertime phone call with the president of Ukraine, even moving the transcript to a secret computer system, a whistleblower alleges in a politically explosive complaint that accuses the administration of a wide-ranging cover-up.”

    “Adding another layer of intrigue, those officials told the whistleblower that ‘this was ‘not the first time’ under this administration that a presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information,’ the complaint said.

    “In this case, the complaint said, the officials told the whistleblower they were ‘directed’ by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization and distribution to Cabinet-level officials.

    “‘This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call,’ the official complaint said.”

    is.gd/PK4kTN

  6. Debbo 2019-09-27 00:07

    Per the AP via the Strib, this is how knowledge of the complaint against Orange Anus moved:

    The intelligence official initially filed a complaint about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine with the CIA, which then alerted the White House and Justice. On Aug. 12, the intelligence official raised another flag — this time with the intelligence community’s inspector general, a process that granted the individual more legal protections.

    “During that time, the inspector general’s complaint — which centered on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine — remained private. But information about the whistleblower was already making its way through the administration: on Aug. 14, White House counsel John Eisenberg and a CIA official alerted the head of DOJ’s national security division about the original complaint to the CIA.

    “John Demers, who leads the national security division, went to the White House the next day to review materials associated with the call. He then alerted people within the Justice Department, but it was unclear specifically who he told.

    “In the following weeks, Demers had discussions with other Justice Department officials about how to handle the CIA complaint, according to the person familiar with the matter. It was during that period that the Justice Department also received a notification from the intelligence community’s inspector general about a whistleblower complaint.

    “The timeline raises questions about how the White House and the Justice Department handled the complaint. The administration initially blocked Congress from viewing the complaint, citing presidential privilege, and only released a redacted version of the report to lawmakers this week after the impeachment inquiry had begun.

    “The House intelligence committee released the complaint on Thursday. The nine-page letter details a July 25 phone call in which Trump presses Ukraine’s leader to help investigate baseless corruption accusations against Democratic rival Joe Biden. The complaint also alleges that the White House sought to ‘lock down’ details of the call by moving it onto a secure, classified computer system.

    “The complaint also details extensive interactions between Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, and Ukrainian officials.”

    is.gd/XCtd0f

  7. Debbo 2019-09-27 00:57

    The plot thickens. Whistle blower #2, this time about taxes. The complaint was written in August.

    “Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee: that President Trump attempted to interfere with some aspect of the agency’s mandatory presidential audit system.

    “That court filing includes a letter authored by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) which is addressed to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and describes the situation thusly:

    “On July 29, 2019, the Committee received an unsolicited communication from a Federal employee setting forth credible allegations of ‘evidence of possible misconduct’-specifically, potential ‘inappropriate efforts to influence’ the mandatory audit program.

    “Mnuchin declined to cooperate with Neal’s request and said he referred the matter to the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

    “Neal and others on the Ways and Means Committee have remained tight-lipped about the allegations and the person who made them in public–but offered to provide extensive details to Trump-appointed Judge Trevor McFadden, who is overseeing the House’s lawsuit over the 45th president’s ever elusive tax returns.

    “A donor to President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and transition volunteer, McFadden reacted to the whistleblower allegations with a distinctly judicial nonchalance–he’s so far declined to take the Democrats up on their offer, according to HuffPost.”

    Dan Abrams, Law & Crime
    lawandcrime.com

  8. o 2019-09-27 08:29

    For this to be meaningful, Pelosi HAS to stay focused. ONLY impeach on the newest Ukraine scandal. That does two things: 1) it sets aside all previous Muller “innocence” rhetoric from the White House, and 2) it focuses on the very clear-cut incident that is the most recent.

    The problem Democrats have is that the constant and overwhelming wrong-doing from President Trump makes it impossible to get traction on any one issue – even the News cannot stay focused on any one scandal; it also falls into that false narrative of witch hunt/harassment. So the ONLY path forward is to not allow this impeachment to fall into either of those two traps. Remember, the goal is not to prosecute EVERY wrong doing the President has committed – that has and will continue to fail; the goal is to show this President has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” – the grounds for impeachment. The Ukraine interference request (and associated cover up) does exactly that; so have laser focus on ONLY that.

  9. Donald Pay 2019-09-27 10:31

    Impeachment is a serious matter. It was placed into the US Constitution by serious people who had dealt with corrupting aspects of foreign influence. It was explained in the Federalist in just this manner. What Trump is doing is what the Framers of the Constitution most feared. To a man (because they were all men back then) these serious men would be impeaching Trump and convicting him in the Senate. They would do it in a matter of days. They wouldn’t put up with Trump’s sh*t.

    I wish we had a serious Congress, but it’s stocked with nonentities. Rounds is one. Rep. McCarthy is another. They are just ciphers. Sen. Graham, when he was the sidekick of Sen. McCain, was a serious person. Unfortunately, without McCain, he’s been exposed as a weakling.

    Generally, I like Rep. Schiff. I think he is a serious person on par with some of the Framers, but his antics in his opening statement yesterday was a big disappointment. Don’t try to parody Trump now at this critical juncture. All you have to do is do your duty.

    Maybe Rounds will grow a pair of balls, if Trump hasn’t bitten them off, but I never recognized Rounds as a very courageous patriot, certainly not on the order of Jefferson, Madison and Washington.

    And that may be the problem with our Constitution. It assumed that the level of courage, knowledge, and duty that the Framers had would be matched in future leaders. Boy, were they mistaken.

  10. o 2019-09-27 10:44

    Donald, the framers also believed we would have to pull our leaders, kicking and screaming, into elected service. They never envisioned that a gig in the House or Senate would be the economic best option for a leader or worse yet, a career.

  11. Donald Pay 2019-09-27 10:57

    o, Yes, although I would put it that they thought people should be willing to serve as an elected leader, but not be so concerned about being elected that they sacrificed their morality, intellect and wisdom. The problem is today’s leaders have neither morality, intellect or wisdom.

  12. Buckobear 2019-09-27 11:19

    Of course this would mean we’d have to endure a statue of “souless mike” on a street corner in Rapid. Maybe his and King Don’s could be placed together. They deserve each other. Maybe both in a clumsy, passionate embrace??

  13. den 2019-09-27 12:14

    Impeach? Mitch McConnell and John Thune’s Senate will never vote for impeachment no matter what their King does. As long as President Trump continues to dismantle every trace of the Obama administration while removing every regulation and tax burden on the 1%, he can do no wrong.

  14. JW 2019-09-27 13:53

    I don’t want any member of this presidential administration as POTUS; past, present or future, or any pundit that supports it and that includes Rounds, Thune, Johnson, Noem and so on add nauseum that has provided comfort and protection to criminality for the past 2 1/2 years. Every last one of them belongs in Leavenworth and I won’t be at ease until each one of them is held accountable for their sleazy and corrupt loyalty to party rather than a nation in chaos and turmoil.

  15. Debbo 2019-09-27 14:02

    “In a Thursday congressional hearing, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire contradicted Trump by defending the integrity of the whistleblower who accused Trump of abusing the powers of the White House to illegally solicit dirt on a political opponent from a foreign government.

    “Referring to the whistleblower, who is still anonymous, Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff asked Maguire if he has ‘any reason to accuse them of disloyalty to our country?’

    “’Sir, absolutely not,’ Maguire responded. ‘I believe the whistleblower followed the steps every step of the way.’

    “After a follow-up question, Maguire once again defended the whistleblower.

    “’I think the whistleblower did the right thing,’ Maguire stated unequivocally.”

    National Memo
    http://bit.ly/2nWkTSv

  16. Debbo 2019-09-27 14:52

    Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal: “[N]o one who has spoken in defense of the president, including his spokesmen, has said these words: ‘Donald Trump would never do that!’ Or, ‘That would be unlike him!'”

  17. Debbo 2019-09-27 15:04

    Yeah O, as the Slate article says, Democrats need to get their attorneys involved. Those people are experts at questioning.

    Senators Klobuchar and Harris would be very good as former prosecutors and as they’ve shown. But they’re senators and busy elsewhere, mostly in Iowa.

    I do think it was a good idea for the committee to establish the credibility of the complainant, as that was the first target of the traitors’ attack.

  18. Porter Lansing 2019-09-27 16:58

    Elect a businessman, the conservatives said forever. Well, this is what happens. It’s possible President Trump didn’t even know this was an impeachable no-no. He’s never been in public office and he sure doesn’t do his job to serve the people. A business is a dictatorship and he runs America like a business.

  19. kj trailer trash 2019-09-27 17:32

    I just don’t understand the absolute gutlessness of Rounds and Thune. They are absolutely bulletproof in South Dakota politics, unless some huge name, like perhaps Daugaard, runs against either one in their next re-election period, and this ultra-redneck state is a long way from going back to the days of electing Democrats to Washington. Rounds and Thune could spit on every Native American in North Rapid, and the hardcore rightwing would love it and the few decent-but-misguided Republicans would forgive them for their horrible actions as long as they aren’t Democrats. At the other end of the spectrum, they could (heaven forbid) speak the honest truth, for frickin’ ONCE, about Trump, and ultimately be “forgiven” by the Trump-lovers and still be re-elected, for the simple fact that they have the words “incumbent Republican” behind their names. A comment here or there against Trump wouldn’t “damage” either of them enough to cause them to be voted out. So the only remaining reason for them to not speak up, ever, against Trump is that they are just talentless, creepy, utterly gutless politicians.

  20. Fairburn 2019-09-27 20:10

    I agree completely with JW. This hasn’t been just one person’s corruption. This has been enabled by the entire republican party, each of them benefiting in some way by allowing and encouraging the illegal activity to go on, from before the fraudulent election in 2016.

    Just watch how fast they turn on trump as irrefutable evidence comes out about this and other crimes, and then they’ll claim all is well once he’s gone. They all need to be held accountable.

    It will be easy to start with Barr (a low bar)– it sure sounds like he should be prosecuted for his part in this Ukraine extortion.

  21. Debbo 2019-09-27 21:22

    From the NY Times:

    “Kurt D. Volker, the State Department’s special envoy for Ukraine who got caught in the middle of the pressure campaign by President Trump and his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to find damaging information about Democrats, abruptly resigned his post on Friday.

    “Mr. Volker, who told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday that he was stepping down, offered no public explanation but a person informed about his decision said he concluded that it was impossible to be effective in his assignment given the developments of recent days.”

  22. jerry 2019-09-27 21:27

    Finally, at long last, an honest Republican who wants Chubby to answer up.

    “New: The first House Republican has announced his support for the impeachment inquiry against Trump.

    Republican Rep. Mark Amodei: “Let’s put it through the process and see what happens.”

    You will never ever see that from Dirty, that’s for damn sure. Dude was a little too cozy with the Red Sparrow, Butina….rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  23. jerry 2019-09-27 21:29

    Ooops, Putin got to him and Amodei changed his mind, will be rewarded handsomely I’m sure. It’s all about the Benjamin’s to this crowd.

  24. jerry 2019-09-27 21:33

    Fun! Now we will get to see and here corruption at it’s finest.
    Depositions over next 2wks:
    •Oct 2, 2019: Ambassador Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch
    •Oct 3, 2019: Ambassador Kurt Volker
    •Oct 7, 2019: Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent
    •Oct 8, 2019: Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl
    •Oct 10, 2019: Ambassador Gordon Sondland

    Would like to see Rounds and his crew deposed on the EB5, would that be a hoot or what?

  25. Porter Lansing 2019-09-27 21:46

    Donnie Dark Heart just restricted national security access to his phone conversations with Putin. Can he do that? I think he’s a little spooked.

  26. Donald Pay 2019-09-27 22:13

    I’ve been thinking about the headline on this post, and some of the rather goofy argument contained in the post.. Specifically, “Why…Republicans Should Support Impeachment” is not relevant, and much of the post should be ignored. I hope you don’t mean it.

    I think partisanship is the wrong way to think about this. I think all the political calculations Cory gives are irrelevant. I don’t think the arguments for impeachment are any different if you are a Democrat or Republican.

    When scholars say impeachment is a political process, they don’t mean it in terms of political calculations or partisan advantage. They don’t mean it is subject to compromise and dealmaking. They mean it is not conducted as a criminal or civil court case in the judicial branch, that the deciders are not a jury of one’s peers or a judge, but the Houses of Congress, and that the purpose of the procedure is to set right and protect the nation from rather vague “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    The test should be this: if the President was of the other party would the facts presented rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors? If Obama behaved like Trump, and did the things Trump is accused of doing, would you call for his impeachment and remove him from office? This shouldn’t be about partisan differences or political argument. It’s about specific behavior and that behavior’s impact or potential impact on the nation. Impeachment is far too important to not ditch partisan or political calculation and consider it as an American.

  27. Debbo 2019-09-27 23:08

    From the LA Times, what being a Republican has come to:

    “Said one senior Senate GOP aide: ‘At this point, Trump could be caught walking out of a Federal Reserve bank with two giant sacks of money in his hands and no Republican would vote to impeach him for grand larceny.’

    “The aide added: ‘Our voters want two things from their congressmen: pissing on the media and blindly defending the president. That’s what being a Republican has come to.'”

  28. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-29 07:54

    I agree with Donald: the partisan calculations should be irrelevant to the decision to impeachment and conviction of a President of the United States, as they ought to be in any regular judicial proceeding to prosecute and convict a run-of-the-mill offender.

    However, Mike Rounds’s performance during his five years in Washington, D.C., indicate that nothing is relevant to him but partisan calculation. So while we can appeal to his submerged conscience, there is a strong possibility that the only was to get him to flip and support impeaching and removing Donald Trump from the White House is to show him that it improves his chances of reëlection.

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