A University of Missouri law professor says President Nixon’s spying on political opponents was penny-ante compared to President Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s leader. In an op-ed, Frank Bowman says Trump didn’t cover up a second-rate burglary by a group of inept “plumbers” looking for dirt on Democrats. Bowman says Trump appears to have wielded the nation’s entire economic, military and moral authority to extort another head of state.

Frank Bowman III (Photo courtesy of the University of Missouri)

“What does Trump ask the United States should get out of it? Not something that would really be important to the country as a whole. Not something that’s important to the American national interest, but instead a private help to get dirt on Trump’s political opponent so he has a better chance of winning the upcoming election,” he says.

Bowman has written at great length about the history of impeachment. He says if what President Trump pulled with Ukraine’s president is not impeachable, then nothing is. Bowman tells Missourinet the U.S. Constitution includes abuse of power as an impeachable offense, not just criminal violations.

“We make a strong distinction between the president’s duties to represent the country as a whole and his private political interests,” he says. “One of the tells in all of this is that the president is talking about sending his personal lawyer over as a sort of secret emissary to the Ukraine to get this information – wholly inappropriate and it tells you that this was a private matter.”

Bowman says Trump’s conversation may be what the president denied through the Mueller investigation – conspiring with a foreign power for personal electoral gain.

“Turn this around for a second and consider whether, if you’re a Republican and you’re basically favorably disposed to Mr. Trump, and the names were reversed and this were President Obama making this kind of a call under these kind of circumstances whether you would think this was all hunky dory. If you’re honest with yourself, I don’t you can arrive at that conclusion.”

Trump alleges that Biden tried to interfere in a Ukrainian prosecutor’s investigation of a gas company there that Biden’s son has ties to. He calls the allegations a witch hunt. U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, vigorously defends Trump and says he has zero problems with the conversation the president had.

Meanwhile, a Harvard law professor says a recent tweet by Trump about the Civil War is grounds for impeachment. Trump quoted Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress warning of a “Civil War” like fracture in the nation if Democrats try to remove him from office. Professor John Coates said the post was an independent basis for lawmakers to remove Trump from the White House.

When Bowman was asked for his opinion on the matter, he said Coates is “hyperventilating” a bit.

“Trump’s retweet is deeply regrettable,” he says. “And dangerous, because he has some very literal-minded supporters. But as a freestanding ground of impeachment, no. Even Jeffress doesn’t call for Civil War, he predicts a Civil War-like fracture. That’s subject to varying interpretations, including something like ‘social and political divisions similar in type or degree to those that occurred before, during, or perhaps after the Civil War.’ Saying such a thing betrays a poor understanding of the 1860s, and it’s dangerous for its unstated implications. But it’s not an obvious call to arms. Impeachment requires more than one awful tweet.”

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