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tv   Frank Bowman  CSPAN  January 15, 2020 5:58pm-6:55pm EST

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so there you have the message from the house on impeachment being delivered to the u.s. senate just a short while ago before the trial gets underway, the house managers will appear in the senate chamber tomorrow. we expect that to happen at noon eastern. they will be reading the articles of impeachment, we will see the swearing in of supreme court justice john roberts as the presiding officer of the trial and the swearing in of senators tomorrow at noon, at 2 pm eastern, all 100 senators will take the oath's. follow live coverage of the senate impeachment trial on c-span to tomorrow. ♪ ♪ >> the house will be in order. >> for 40 years, span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in
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1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. frank bowman joining us from frank bowman joining us from missouri this morning, flopper fester at the university of missouri law school and also author of the book high crimes and misdemeanors, the history of impeachment in the age of trump. mister bowman, let's begin what with what we know will happen today. the speaker has announced that she will let us know who the house managers are soon, around 10 am eastern time and then around 12:30 pm, eastern time the house is going to vote on these house managers. around a ten-minute debate and then they will vote. why is it that the house votes on impeachment managers and then you see that procession which is on your full screen happening after 5 pm eastern time, that procession of the
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house managers from the house to the senate. why does that happen? >> well, i will take the last point first -- i don't know that the procession is entirely necessary but it does emphasize the solemnity of the occasion. also i think there's a tradition here that goes back, literally, centuries because this whole idea of having house managers, that is to say representatives of the lower house presenting the case for impeachment in the upper house goes back to british parliament. and that's exactly what happened in those days -- the house managers would proceed from the lower chamber to the upper chamber with the articles of impeachment in hand and knock on the door and be admitted formally to have the impeachment articles received and read and so forth and so on. some of this is just tradition and ceremony which, as i said, emphasizes the solemnity of the occasion which i think given our current
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political environment is not a bad thing. as to whether or why the house votes on the identity of the managers, i suppose they might not have to but after all this is a representative body which is governed by the will of the majority and the people who go over it must be remembered, the house managers, representing that house as an institution although as it turns out on this case they will all be democrats. they need not be, they as i say are representing the house of representatives, not any one party and therefore the house of representatives could and should approve the people who will represent it over in toronto. >> in 1999 we saw those high profile procession occur with 13 house managers carrying over the articles of impeachment against president clinton at the time. why where their 13,
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is necessary to have that many and what is their role in the senate? >> well, there is no necessary number. there could be as he was one or two. again, their job is to be prosecutors. that's what they do, their job is to represent, present the case in favor of the articles of impeachment in the senate. so i would suspect the number it might be smaller in this case but there's no way to know. in some respects, of course, having too many can be unwieldy because what you are creating here is essentially a trial team and you don't want so many people on it that they're getting in each other's way. >> what role, and how did they break up the work in 1999 and do you think that, how does that help them present their case in the senate trial? >> you know, honestly i don't
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remember exactly who did what jobs back in 1999. i think some managers were certainly more prominent than others in terms of the jobs that they took, whether or not they were really more or less involved in questioning or making arguments, making public speeches and so forth and i think others were more in the background. this relates, i suppose, to the controversy that has sort of swirled around this process over the last four weeks. you overcome all, of course, that after the house vote to impeach mr. trump there was a period in which speaker pelosi said she would hold off transmitting the articles in the identification of managers pending at the very least some better sense of how the senate was going to conduct its trial. and that made sense
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to some degree because depending on whether or not you are going to have a trial that is heavy with witnesses and the necessity for examining and cross examining witnesses or whether you are going to have a trial which is more about extended legal arguments, might drive the kind of person that you would pick. some people are going to be better at just making speeches and others and relatively few people, frankly, certainly few people in congress are actually going to be very good at questioning witnesses. that's a professional skill that only lawyers have and frankly lots of lawyers are very good at it. >> what are your thoughts about the other side of this case, the defense team for president trump. we've read in the papers this morning that it would include the white house warrior, path bloom, jay sickle along with deputies of mr. cyclone, patrick fill when as well as michael--. there's talk the
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president wants alan dershowitz on his defense team as well. your thoughts? >> i think the lawyers that you mentioned perhaps excluding mr. dershowitz are experienced trial lawyers. they are likely to be competent representatives of the president's case including mr. sekulow, is very interesting it certainly appears that some extent, at least in a regular court trial he might actually be a witness because he may have been involved on some of the communications concerning ukraine and other matters and i think an ordinary trial would be an odd choice to make and they are all competent lawyers with the exception of mr. dershowitz who frankly even in his heyday it was never a trial lawyer. he was at most a behind the scenes appellate lawyer or
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a trial strategist and these days he's become something of a caricature of himself but presumably mr. trump would like him on here. mostly because he would be a public face of the trial team. >> what's the most likely format that we will see in the senate trial? >> i don't think we know. all we know at this point is that after the formalities that we talked about, the identification of the managers, the procession, there will be some additional formalities. the senators themselves will have to be sworn in, the chief justice will take an oak to go to preside, the articles will be read so forth and so on. what happens after that is very much up in the air, i think. my best guess is that sometime either at the end of this week with the beginning of next senator mcconnell is likely to percent for the consideration of the senate a sort of governing resolution that will cover some of the details of
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how the trial will be conducted. that, after all, is what he in speaker pelosi have been jousting about for the past few weeks. certainly at this point it does not appear that there's going to be anything like what happened to clinton which is to say an agreement between the two parties, unanimous agreement on how things should be conducted. rather, i think mr. mcconnell is going to produce a resolution that will be approved by a bare vote, the party line vote of republicans. and if at least the advance notice of what's likely to be in that resolution proves to be the case, it's probably going to say that there is going to be a period which will probably turn out to be several days on each side in which the house managers and the president's council will present what in a trial would be opening statements. and then, and only then would there be a vote by the senators as to whether or not to hear life witnesses or tried to secure additional
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evidence. that's a weird way to proceed, and anybody who's even watch the trial will realize because it's essentially saying to the lawyers, okay, we want you to give your opening statement but we are not going to tell you whether or not we are going to be able to call witnesses and frankly we are not even going to tell you what evidence is ultimately going to be admissible. it's quite peculiar. i think that's what's going to happen. >> the senate majority leader has said he has the votes to pass senate rule package that looks just like what you're describing and he says they are going on precedent from the 1999 clinton trial where the house impeachment managers in the clinton defense team each had 24 hours to make their case. senators were then allowed 16 hours to question. i vote was held to dismiss. if the case wasn't dismissed, then they voted on having witnesses. why did they do that then? >> well, the thing to understand is that in the clinton case there was
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universal agreement that there would be at least depositions taken of three witnesses. incidentally those are witnesses who had already been heard from in the grand jury or another forms but there was universal agreement that that would occur. the other thing that's different about -- radically different about clinton in the present case is that clinton was essentially a case tried on what lawyers would call stipulated facts. that is to say, by the time the case moved from the house to the senate there wasn't a serious doubt about what the facts were. everybody knew what president clinton had done. they knew he'd had sex with an intern, they knew that he lied about it. the only real question was is this constitutional consequence? do the facts that are already well known amount to an impeachable offense? this is quite different because although i think the fact that emerged from the healths intelligence committee and house judiciary committee are quite clear with
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respect to mr. trump's impeachable misconduct, nonetheless, a critical defense that's been raised by mr. trump and his team and republicans who support him is the notion that somehow or other there is an absence of direct evidence that he in fact gave commands that ukraine be extorted. of course, the direct proof of that point would come from the people in the white house, nikki mulvaney, john bolton, others who mr. trump has refused to permit to testify, the very people that the democratic senators would like to call so, what's different between now and then is that then all the facts were quite well known before the thing got to the senate. in this case, the republicans themselves, mr. trump himself will argue that there are factual gaps. therefore, it seems at least a little peculiar that the republicans are likely to
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insist that there are factual gaps and at the same time, resist filling them with the simple expedience of calling the witnesses who could do it. >> let's get to calls. rebecca in michigan, republican color, you're up first. >> yes, i do have a statement, as far as the impeachment goes, the way pelosi is supposed to be the middleman and all i have seen is that he is going into this tightrope, a news around her neck, where her bullying right along with democrats was, no matter what president trump does they are going to find fault in it and these are
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issues i have been seeing since even before he was put into office i voted for obama for two terms but i did not like where our country was going so i said, okay, we need to change. i knew he was a decent man. i knew he did not have any political or any aspirations as far as that, his history of schooling or anything like that. he is just a businessman. he was voted in. i don't like his tweets but i intend on voting for him again because i do see changes. >> okay, rebecca, i leave it there. frank bowman, is this just politics? >> impeachments are always political in the large sense because when the framers put impeachment into the constitution, they intended in the end it be a political judgment about whether or not the president had behaved in a
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way that made him unsuited for office, that made his continuance in office dangerous to constitutional values, dangerous so the republic itself. beyond that the caller makes a point which is a common theme in many republican speeches. that is the democrats have been critical of president trump and indeed have talked about impeaching him from practically the time he took office and therefore the current proceedings can be discounted as part of a long running campaign against him. it's true the democrats have been very critical of president trump from the beginning and some of the more intemperate
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ones began suggesting impeaching him practically from the first day he took office which is of course rather silly, but it doesn't change the current circumstance up substance and doesn't change the fact the house of representatives has decided on some particular occasions and for some particular reasons the president has engaged in conduct that violates our constitutional values, that is an abuse an abuse of power, that is of one of the types that's traditionally been found impeachable and moreover in the second article of impeachment is that he has improperly refused to cooperate with the house's investigation of that behavior. so whatever criticisms democrats have made in the past and however, frankly, hasty and intemperate some of them may have been at the beginning, we are where we are. the question that confirms the senate is not whether democrats have opposed him from
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the outset the question is whether he did what he's charged with doing and whether it is sufficiently serious to merit his removal. >> by the way, the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, will be making the announcement of public managers before cameras at 10:00 a.m. eastern time. we'll have coverage of that on c-span 3 on our website or listen with the free c-span radio app. seal be announcing at 10:00 a.m. in a news conference who the house managers will be for the impeachment trial in the senate. frank bowman, this from lloyd in new jersey who is wondering, how does the senate trial enforce a subpoena, he asks if john bolton refuses to testify. john bolton said he's willing to testify but let's take the question and change it to nick mulvaney. >> it's an interesting question adged at the end of the day, if somebody just refuses to testify, there's only a couple
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things that either house can do. one, they could consider that person to be in contempt of the senate and could try to refer the case then for criminal prosecution. but that has to be given to the justice department and it's unclear this justice department would actually take the job and they can decline and have sometimes in the past and can file a similar lawsuit for civil contempt but would take heaven knows how many ages or they could actually hold the person who refused to show up in direct contempt and in fact send the sergeant in arms of the senate in this case to go arrest the person and confine them in the basement until such time as they decide to comply. i don't know how practical the last alternative is. there really is a fourth alternative and that is one i think that explains a great deal about the standoff between speaker pelosi and the senate republicans. the
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other possibility, if somebody simply refuses to testify based particularly on some direction from president trump that they not testify, then that's a pretty direct defiance of the power of the senate given to it by the constitution to try impeachments. and that in and of itself would be an impeachable offense and that after all is the basis of the second article of impeachment mr. trump is now facing. here's the tricky bit for republicans and one of the reasons i think they don't want to authorize subpoenas. if they do authorize subpoenas for white house insiders and those people show up, i think the odds are pretty darn good what white house insiders are going to say won't be good for mr. trump. but otherwise if they had exonerating information i think
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they would rely on it they would come. the other possibility is the senate issues a subpoena, the white house witnesses refuse to show up and that would blow a great big hole in the basic republican line with respect to the second article of impeachment and a great bill hogue in trump's defense, with his basic line with regard to the second article of impeachment is well, i didn't have to allow my people to come and testify in the house because what was going on in the house was a partisan witch-hunt and i'm entitled to ignore that. truth is he's not. the house, whether controlled by republicans or democrats is half of a co-equal government and as president has to comply with subpoenas from them. but more importantly if the senate issues a subpoena and white house people refuse to show up, then how does mr. trump explain his resistance from a subpoena coming from a body that's actually controlled by members of his own party. i think senate republicans are
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desperate to avoid the dilemma of subpoenas created in that case. either subpoenas are honored and bad testimony from trump comes forward or subpoenas are denied or resisted and faced with a defiance of the own authority of their own body rather than that of the house. >> mike benton from kentucky, a republican. >> hi. thank you for taking my call. my question is doesn't the congress have to have a bipartisanship bill to pass not a bill but impeachment before they can send to the senate? >> professor? >> no. there's nothing special about impeachments in the house at least in terms of how an impeachment is approved. it's just like any other kind of legislation or other kind of legislative act. the house doesn't have doesn't have filibuster rules or doesn't have anything of that sort. basically actions in the house are approved by a majority vote. so if you get a majority
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in the house of representatives who approve articles of impeachment, they're approved and the particular partisan identity of the people who voted for or against it doesn't matter. after all, if you take the look of impeachment from a historical perspective, when the framers wrote the constitution and wrote the impeachment provisions into it, they were quite fearful of the whole idea of party politics and indeed they very much hoped things like parties would not arise and feared the rise of party politics. certainly they didn't write the constitution with any specific provisions in it about whether this party or that party had to support one thing or another. that's just
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not the way it works. over in the senate, practically speaking, to get a conviction in these days is almost certain to require some bipartisanship. because in the senate in order to be conviction, there must be 67 votes or 2/3 of the votes of the senators present. and unless one party happens to have a 67-vote supermajority at the time when impeachment occurs, then you'll need some votes from the party opposing the president. but the constitution doesn't make any specifications about the party identification of any voters on either side of the house or the senate. >> carol, rockaway, new jersey, independent. >> yes. i'd like to make a, th comment at this time. the intent to overthrow the presidency, that hasn't even happened yet around the time of trump's inauguration day as
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advertised by the headlines in "the washington post", advertises the fact that these politicians intended to sedate to treasonously overthrow the presidency of the united states when it occurred. the intent to overthrow a government in my mind, and the definition in a dictionary would be called sedition. why aren't these people being labeled as is he dishes. as sedicious. >> go ahead, professor. >> the idea of bringing impeachment against the president as being seditious is unfounded. impeachment is a mechanism written in the united states constitution by >> go ahead, professor. >> the idea of bringing impeachment against the president as being seditious is unfounded. impeachment is a mechanism written in the united states constitution by the framers of that constitution. it is moreover a vehicle that legislatures began using in the
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british parliament in the $1,300's, it's not sedition or treason but in fact is part of the checks and balances written in the constitution. it is there in order that a legislature can place a check on an executive or president who in its view is misbehaving. now, one can disagree with the proposition that what mr. trump is in the constitution. it is there in order that a legislature can place a check on an executive or president who in its view is misbehaving. now, one can disagree with the proposition that what mr. trump is charged with, either happened or that amounts to high crime and misdemeanor and therefore an impeachable offense. but to suggest this is sedition or treason or that kind has no constitutional basis at all. again, impeachment is part of the constitution. it's there as part of our system of checks and balances.
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>> professor bowman, what do you make of the news this morning democrats want to present new evidence in this senate trial according to "the new york times, " dozens of pages of notes, text messages and other records lay out work conducted by rudy giuliani, mr. ump's personal lawyer and include handwritten notes squalled on a sheet of hotel paper at the ritz carlton in vienna that mentioned getting mr. zelensky of ukraine to announce an investigation of former vice president joe biden and trump, quote, had knowledge and consent of this communication. >> first of all, the idea that there's something odd or illegitimate or peculiar about introducing what you called new evidence in the senate trial i think needs to be addressed. make happens in the senate trial what should happen in the
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senate trial is there should be an effort to determine the truth of the allegations against the president and articles of impeachment. there is no limitation in the constitution or rule or precedent on the evidence presented whether it being new, old, introduced in the house, not introduced in the house. the senate proceeding is a new proceeding, just as if in a criminal trial you were to say a prosecutor can't introduce any evidence in the actual trial that wasn't presented to the grand jury that indicted the defendant. well, that's not the rules, never been the rule. it would be the same as if to say in a civil case that the plaintiff's lawyers or defense lawyer, particularly plaintiffs lawyers couldn't introduce any evidence they didn't already know of at the time they filed
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the complaint that started the case in the first instance. that's just not the way the law works anywhere. there's always going to be some period between the initiation of a case and the time when the case actually has to be tried to the finder of fact. an evidence that's discovered in that interval is universally allowed so long as it's relevant and so long as it's probative and should be the question here. the question shouldn't be was it something that actually was presented formally in the house before they voted the articles of impeachment. the question is, is it relevant, is it the kind of thing a fair minded fact-finder would want to hear when making a decision about these articles of impeachment. as to the particular items you mentioned, i've seen the news reports and read some of the handwritten notes and so forth. i don't know enough about the particulars of mr. parnes and
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his connections with rudy giuliani to know how important that evidence is or might be. i just think the general principle what should go in the senate trial is evidence actually relevant and probative and would be in the mind of a fair-minded fact-finder. >> john from gold beach orient, independent. >> good morning. i have two issues, thoughts, questions, actually, as far as mitch mcconnell's early statement of when the impeachment was done, he willingly admitted he was willing to work with the administration hand in hand on this impeachment. and to me that seems like that would not allow him to be an independent juror in the coming trial and i would feel that would be grounds for censure. and my second point is the importance of the supreme court justice ruling over this trial and, you know, all trials are new and to go back on old past precedents on past impeachments, it doesn't seem precedents on past
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impeachments, it doesn't seem quite right and would seem as though the supreme court justice would have a way on how it's to be conducted. >> professor bowman? >> let's take the second point first, the role of the chief justice. chief justice presides only in one kind of impeachment trials, that is impeachment trials of the president. impeachment trials don't just apply to presidents, vice presidents can be impeached and all other civil officers can be impeached, meaning lesser officials in the executive branch. judges can be impeached. in fact, that's the class of officials that most obvious have been impeached. in all of those trials except for those of the president, the chief justice, indeed no other judicial officer is involved at all. chief justice only comes into the trial and the basic reason he does come in is because the normal presiding officer in one of these other impeachments impeached. in all of those trials except for those of the president, the chief justice, indeed no other
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judicial officer is involved at all. chief justice only comes into the trial and the basic reason he does come in is because the normal presiding officer in one of these other impeachments would be the president of the senate. who is the president of the senate under the constitution? it turns out, though the people often forget this, is the vice president. so the framers recognized among other considerations that they certainly didn't want the vice president to be presiding over the trial of the president in a situation where if the president is convicted the vice president would get the job. that's a pretty obvious conflict of interest so they needed someone else to convince them, someone that didn't have a partisan or personal stake in the outcome and for that among other reasons chose the chief justice. the implication of that is the chief justice doesn't have any more authority in the case like this than any other presiding officer would have in other kinds of
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impeachments. and the truth is that what controls who controls the rules, even the evidentiary decisions about a trial in the senate are the senators. under the senate rules, the presiding officer, here the chief justice, when presented with questions of evidence and subpoenaing the witnesses and whatnot can make provisional rulings on what he thinks should be done, the evidence should be admitted or not admitted or if any senator disagree with that ruling then a vote of the senate is called and a majority of the senate can overrule the chief justice's professional decision. so the truth is the chief justice, though he brings a sort of air of solemnity and air of judicial impartiality to this process, frankly doesn't have a lot of real authority, and what's more, i think,
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there's a good reason to think justice roberts is going to so far as he can, avoid making rulings that seem to favor one side or the other because obviously this is a politically quite explosive process and the legitimacy of the institution with which he's principally concerned, i say the supreme court, is going to be his major interest and i think he's going to try to, as far as he can play things absolutely down the middle, recognizing at the end of the day the majority of senate controls what happens. with respect to mitch mcconnell's declarations of sort of failty to the white house is a statement that he's going to cooperate carefullyly with the white house and frankly the statement of some number of other senators that
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to some degree or another have prejudged the case perhaps should concern us because, after all, all the senators have to take an oath to judge the case impartially. but there isn't much to be done about that because there's no way of disqualifying mr. mcconnell or indeed any other senator by virtue of being senators, they're there and they're entitled to participate in the decision. one reason to think about the there isn't much to be done about that because there's no way of disqualifying mr. mcconnell or indeed any other senator by virtue of being senators, they're there and they're entitled to participate in the decision. one reason to think about the fact we don't disqualify senators for indications of
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perhaps prior partiality is the recognition that to disqualify a senator from participating in a trial, participating in the deliberations in an impeachment trial is not merely to exclude one person from participating in those deliberations but basically to exclude 50% of the representation of an entire state from participation in that decision and frankly there isn't any mechanism for disqualifying senators in the first instance. so while mr. mcconnell's declarations of allegiance to the president and in his plain lack of impartiality should perhaps concern us, practically speaking is not a lot to be done about it. >> talking to frank bowman, author of "high crimes and misdemeanors, the history of impeachment from the age of trump." he's also a law professor at the university of missouri school of law. we'll go to elfred in missouri, democratic caller. >> good morning, how are you doing? >> good morning. >> i was wondering why if we wanted a fair and equitable trial why the house speaker pelosi didn't allow cross examination and evidence presented in her house and why it is impeachable for a
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president or any member of congress to withhold evidence when hillary clinton destroyed her emails and server after it was subpoenaed to be turned over and was against the law to begin with to have it in her bathroom or bedroom or wherever she had it in her personal household, why didn't the democrats allow a fair and equitable trial in the house? before this all started. >> ok. mr. bowman? >> the notion that the speaker or democrats who certainly has the majority in the house didn't allow fair proceedings, the caller suggested there wasn't any provision for cross-examination, so forth, just isn't true. the proceedings held in front of the house intelligence committee were proceedings in which the relevant witnesses came before the committee in public on camera, swore to tell
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the truth, were both examined on both direct and cross-examination by lawyers for both democrats and republicans and were examined by both the democratic and republican representatives. there was exactly the kinds of procedural protections that the caller was talking about in the house proceedings. the notion this didn't happen is a peculiar myth about all this and it started of course with the early phase of the investigation into the ukraine matter when the house intelligence committee, along with a number of other committees conducted private depositions of various potentially relevant witnesses and the argument that republicans made somehow or another that this was
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unprecedented, improper and somehow or other were excluded from the proceedings. they weren't. three committees conducted even those private depositions, the membership of those committees was combined with something over a hundred and 40 plus of the members of those three committees are republicans, all of whom were entitled to participate in those entitled to participate in the depositions in the basement and some of whom did. so in fact the republicans had ample opportunity to participate even in the private investigation and when the witnesses were presented publicly the republicans were there and their lawyers were there and staff were there and they were all asking questions. so the process was precisely the sort of process one presumably a caller would have hoped for. it's what happened. >> green bay, wisconsin, betty is watching on the line of
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independents, you're on the air with professor bowman. go ahead. >> good morning. thanks so much for being there. and i've been listening and i hope people are listening to what you're saying. years ago i worked for nixon. i was there through the watergate, i saw the whole thing, and trump is much worse than nixon because i just feel that how would you say, he's been doing too many things that are not doing the right thing and helping the people but people don't -- they just, instead of saying you're a republican or democrat, you should be an american and listen to what's really going on, and it's like the people who are trying to help help us, he's not helping us.
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>> betty, professor bowman has what the president did in regards to ukraine reach the level of high crimes and misdemeanors? >> in my view, yes, it certainly does. the first article of impeachment charges abuse of power. it also contains allegations that can be read as being bribery but principally it's about abuse of power. abuse of power is a category of presidential or executive branch behavior that has been impeachable, one of the high crimes and misdemeanors that both the british parliament in the 14th ,j that he did.ent in the 14th what power did he abuse? well, he abused the power that military ontrol
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funding, the power that he has as the nation's chief diplomat and a variety of other vorts that he gets under the constitution. that's fair enough. the people should understand this, when we talk about abuse of power, we're not talking about a president doing something of a kind he isn't allowed to do and isn't a part of his office. what we're talking about is the situation where a president takes powers the constitution gives him and misuses him. he had the authority to -- general authority to regulate military expenditures, foreign aid expenditures, generally speaking he has the power to help administer that. he has general power to deal with foreign officials. but when you take that power and use it not for the nation's benefit but your own personal benefit, that's the definition of abuse of power. host: did he break the law, though, professor?
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did he break a law? guest: the constitution is a law. the constitution says that a president and others is impeachable for treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors. abuse of power is and has been understood for hundreds of years to be a high crime and misdemeanor. yes, he broke a law. he broke the constitution. the question implies somehow for someone to be impeachable the conduct has to violate some pre-existing criminal or civil statute and that's just not true. it's very clear and always has been clear, certainly the framers understood it to be true and all congresses that have responded to or dealt with impeachments in 240 years since have understood you don't need a violation of a pre-existing statute in order for something to be impeachable. as it turns out, the behavior
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mr. trump engaged in with respect to ukraine is probably a violation of at least the modern bribery statute and may be a violation of a number of statutes but in the end it's a red herring. the question is did the president engage in behavior which is an abuse of the powers we give him under the constitution? i think the case for that is extraordinarily powerful and very convincing. so yes, i think he committed an impeachable offense. also there's article two which in some way is even more important. the second article as the original, i assume you know, charges him with obstructing the congressional investigation into the abuse of power. that's critical. because if the impeachment mechanism is to work at all, congress has to have the ability to demand of the president the evidence that is necessary for congress to decide whether he did wrong or did not do wrong.
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if a president can say to a congress who is investigating impeachable conduct, i'm not iving you any information, phooey, go away, the whole idea of impeachment is a nullity and that's ridiculous. the framers put in the constitution as a critical bulwark against potential executive tyranny. it's one thing to make the judgment, by the way, and distinguishes in articles 1 and 2, one can conclude perhaps, although i disagree, mr. trump's behavior with respect to ukraine, you can say it's not an abuse of power, you could say it doesn't rise to the level of high crime or misdemeanor, ok, but i think even someone who makes that judgment should be very concerned about a president who essentially says to a co-equal branch, i'm just not going to help you do your job at all. i'm simply not going to submit
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to one of the constitutionally delegated powers that you have. i'm just going to tell to you go whistle. that's very, very dangerous. i think even mr. trump's most ardent defenders should step back for a second and say would i feel the same way about this if the president were somebody i didn't like? a democrat perhaps. and that president had simply said to congress, no, i'm not cooperating with you, i'm not giving you any information at all. i'm not even going to argue about the details, i'm just not giving you anything. that's very, very dangerous. and that, too, is impeachable. host: randy, brandonton, florida, republican. caller: good morning. i feel slightly interested that this gentleman was talking about evidence being brought. the court system could very well have subpoenaed these people and if they'd done due diligence instead of pushing
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this thing through the system but they were in a rush to push his through and in reality shouldn't allow witnesses and why should the senate allow witnesses when in fact it should be a grand jury that basically comes out of the house and the senate prosecutes that and now suddenly this house does not have enough evidence so now they want the senate to provide evidence they couldn't themselves. they shouldn't have ever voted hearsay third party type evidence they had. host: two questions it sounds like, professor bowman. hearsay i'll articulate a question, why didn't the house pursue the witnesses in court? guest: it's a good question and a reasonably fair one. i think the answer is that there is something to the notion that the house feels and ense of urgency here
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in the sense they believe they have, what it to say certainly the democrats together with one former republican who voted for impeachment, they certainly feel they have a strong case of impeachment based on the evidence they already received. and they had to make decision given that they feel they've already got a strong case, the senate for judgment or do they additional n some spaces by subpoenaing folks from the white house and then pursuing those subpoenas hrough the courts. the question is trying to pursue these witnesses through the courts would be futile if one wanted a impeachment trial in the senate any time within the next year or more. the practicalities of trying to get subpoenas enforced in the courts are that it would take
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months and probably longer, many months. first you go to the district court, argue your case there, win up there, president trump inevitably appeal also the court of appeals. if you win there, you appeal the supreme court. at each one of those stages you're going to end up with weeks or more likely months of delay and then even if you get a case all the way to the supreme court, you're probably not going to be done because courts don't just take the general question should the house be able to subpoena people? they take specific questions about specific witnesses. so to take an example one of the claims mr. trump's witnesses had made or mr. trump has made on behalf of his witnesses is any of them have an absolute privilege not to testify. there's no legal ground for that. and that's buying challenged in a case working its way through the courts but hasn't made its way all the way through the
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courts yet but let's suppose it gets all the way up to the supreme court. that issue alone would certainly not be decided until the very end of the current term of court which is june of this year. but then even if the house wins and gets an order saying well, there is no such thing as absolute privilege, then were back with having a witness come to potentially to testify but that witness would certainly raise other privileges but probably also not sustainable but would raise them, for example executive privilege or attorney-client privilege and you'd have to litigate that through the courts which would take another two years. so when people argue the house democrats were too hasty or they were unfair by deciding not to force these cases into the courts, that's a little disingenuous because frankly for the house to have done that
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with respect to any and certainly all of these witnesses would have pushed this matter back well past the lection, well into 2021, and they recognize that this was just not a practical approach. host: hope is watching in kentucky. democratic caller, you're up next for the professor. caller: yes, if someone fails to comply with a subpoena, why have the closest bail bondsman take him into custody and take him to a hotel or motel nearby until he comply? guest: this is a question somebody raised a little earlier, as what is the remedy if someone refuses to comply with a congressional subpoena, and to summarize what i said before, basically congress has three possible remedies, one, refer the case for criminal contempt prosecution by the department of justice but this justice department doesn't seem
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disposed to do that for congress and in fact they've overtly refused. you can sue somebody for civil contempt in the courts but that takes weeks, months, maybe longer and possibly you get the house or senate at arms arrest the person and stick him in the basement. the latter is possible but i you can see why members of either party would be reluctant to do that because you're talking about a potentially prettyingly -- pretty ugly standoff where you'll have a official of the house of representatives go over to, for example, the white house and try to arrest nick mulvaney and frog march him off the white house grounds. you know, it's unclear how that sort of confrontation would work out and could get very ugly indeed and certainly there were people in the house of representatives that thought
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something like that should be done in the course of the impeachment investigation and in the end decided against that direct confrontation and you can see why. host: we're waiting for the speaker of the house to announce the house managers in the senate impeachment trial. she's expected to do so around 10:00 a.m. eastern time so a little less than five minutes. e'll get coverage of that over on c-span 3, on our website or download and listen to the free c-span radio app. here on c-span the house is about to gavel in here in a few minutes so we'll try to get in bob who is in cooksville, tennessee, republican caller. hi, bob. caller: good morning. thanks for taking my call. host: good morning. caller: mr. bowman, i'd like to make a statement and then like to ask you a question. you stated a few minutes ago the democrats had a fair hearing in the congress. why was it the republican congressman got all over television stating he would instruct witnesses not to answer their questions.
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he's still holding on to the inspector general's deposition pertaining to the whistle blower, and the question i want to ask you, when this falls flat on its face, you think the democrat party will try again to impeach the president or do u think the president is re-elected? thanks for taking my question. host: professor? guest: well, i can address the second part of the question. host: if you could do so, we have a couple minutes. guest: i suppose the question is could the democrats, in this case or frankly any party with the house of representatives itself impeach a president again having impeached him once and having him i guess presumably acquitted in the senate, the answer in theory is sure, you can impeach a president every day of the week and twice on sunday. there's nothing that prevents you from doing that in the
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constitution. is that at all politically likely? i think no. i think certainly in this term of mr. trump, the democrats have elected to try to impeach him -- or have impeached him in the house on the two articles that we have. i think we can be pretty assured that's all that's going to happen in this area in 2020. host: frank bowman, again, the author of the book "high crimes and misdemeanors, the history of impeachment for the age of trump. he's also a law professor at the university of missouri school of law. you can find out more if you go to professor, real quickly because the house is going to come in, what are you watching for next? guest: i'm very interested to see the content of whatever resolution speaker mcconnell introduces and will tell us a lot about what is going to happen next. then i think the really
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important question will be the vote on whether or not witnesses or evidence can be subpoenaed but we're not going to get the resolution of that question for some days or maybe weeks. host: we'll see if speaker of the house answers any questions about the house managers and what happens next when he again holds that news conference in a couple minutes. our coverage of that over on c-span 3 this morning as well as our website c-span.oregon and follow along if you download that free c-span radio app here on c-span, the house is about to gavel in here. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp.2020] and they'll begin their way with legislative business and then the debate on the house managers is expected to begin around 12:30 p.m. eastern time. and then a vote sometime between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. p.m. n time.
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eastern time. of course all of that happening
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