Frank O. Bowman wrote the book on impeaching the 45th president. Published in July, High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump seeks to ground the talk about removing the president from office in centuries of history and practice. A law professor who teaches at the University of Missouri and lectures at on impeachment at Georgetown, Bowman doesn’t pretend to be above the fray, politically. He describes himself as a “centrist” Democrat. But he insists, “I’ve tried hard to play it straight in applying rigorous legal and constitutional analysis.”
Shortly after eight on Monday morning, the President of the United States, making maximal use of his “executive time,” wielded his smartphone to issue a legal threat against the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. It is worth reading the missive from @realDonaldTrump in full: “Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people. It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?”
In the course of just two weeks, a previously unknown scandal sprawled to imperil Donald Trump’s presidency. News broke that the Trump administration was withholding a mysterious whistleblower complaint from Congress on September 13. The chaotic days afterward were filled with leaks, revelations, document releases, and a new Democratic consensus in favor of an impeachment push.
In Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton considers the problem of impeachment. The process, the Constitution framer writes, is meant for offenses “denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.” Political offenses are, by nature, politicized. They “agitate the passions of the whole community” and “divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused.” The danger, Hamilton says, is that the impeachment process will be decided “more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.” If that proves either the perception or the reality of impeachment, the process loses its legitimacy, and America loses critical protection against tyrants and criminals.
The whistleblower’s identity remains obscured, the details of his work for the CIA cloaked in secrecy. But the document he delivered reveals almost as much about the investigative mission he carried out in stealth as it does about the alleged abuses of power by the president.
Amid a political swirl over his interactions with the Ukrainian president, President Trump is denying the July phone call between the two leaders included anything improper. But behind the scenes, Trump is “lashing out” in frustration that details of that call were communicated to the person who filed the whistleblower complaint. Yamiche Alcindor joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the latest.
A deadly opening attack. Nearly untraceable, ruthless proxies spreading chaos on multiple continents. Costly miscalculations. And thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — killed in a conflict that would dwarf the war in Iraq.
The Trump administration has considered jailing migrant children at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, the New York Times reports, in a proposal that apparently “has not gained traction, perhaps because of the optics of housing young people adjacent to terrorism suspects.” Sure, because it’s the optics, not the overseas jailing of children escaping violence, that’s the issue here.