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William C. Banks Discusses Trump Impeachment Trial on KPCC

Impeachment Latest: Dems Prepare To Make Opening Arguments After Senate Sets Trial Rules

Listen to the segment

(KPCC AirTalk | Jan. 22, 2020) The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans abruptly abandoning plans to cram opening arguments into two days but solidly rejecting for now Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s “trifecta” of offenses.

Trump himself said Wednesday he wants top aides to testify, but qualified that by suggesting there were “national security” concerns to allowing their testimony. He appeared to break with Republicans efforts to block Democratic motions to immediately call witnesses and subpoena documents. Instead, Trump said he’d like to see aides, including former national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, testify as witnesses. Trump said he’d leave the “national security” concerns about allowing their testimony to the Senate.

Tuesday’s daylong session started with the setback for Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and the president’s legal team, but it ended near 2 a.m. Wednesday with Republicans easily approving the rest of the trial rules largely on their terms. With the rules settled, the trial is now on a fast-track. At issue is whether Trump should be removed from office for abuse of power stemming from his pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter as Trump was withhold aid to the country, and for obstructing Congress’ ensuing probe.

Today on AirTalk, we get the latest on impeachment as opening arguments are set to begin.

GUESTS:

  • Ron Elving, senior editor and correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR News.
  • John Malcolm, vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government and director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.
  • William C. Banks, professor emeritus of law at Syracuse University, he’s the co-author of “Constitutional Law: Structure and Rights in Our Federal System,” (Carolina Academic Press, 2018)

World War III Alarmism: It’s Time to Press for Sober, Rational, & Contextual Analysis of the Iran Situation

By Corri Zoli

Let’s begin with the obvious to self-aware observers of the region: “Iran’s so-called retaliation was not smart, to say the least. It was theater for its gullible constituents, and the US seems willing to let it slide.” So said Hassan Hassan about Iran’s ballistic missile attacks on Iraqi bases (Ain Assad and Erbil), which house US forces.

“To state this point as clearly as possible: we are not on the verge of World War III with Iran, despite social media trends.”

Hassan directs the Non-State Actors Program at the nonpartisan Center for Global Policy, focused on improving Mideast governance and US foreign policy. As if on cue, however, Iran’s state media is reporting “heavy US military casualties.”

Hassan is not the only one piercing the veil of alarmism (largely coming from US observers), confusion and ignorance, and disinformation (coming from Iran).

Ali Vaez, Director of the Iran Project at the CrisisGroup, explains Iran’s need for “face-saving measures” and symbolic revenge. Likewise, Illan Goldenberg at the Center for New American Security (CNAS), decodes Iran’s strategy: “This is our response, don’t hit us back. Regional players stay out or suffer the consequences. This may not be escalation just the response they felt they needed to make. Again, everyone CHILL.”

Pentagon officials, as Jake Tapper reported, explain that “Iran deliberately chose targets that would not result in the loss of US life,” emphasizing “[d]eliberate targets, minimum damage, maximum warning/effect.” Even Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif is eager to announce the attacks as “concluded,” even while he justifies this newest round of missile attacks once again on Iraq (after the Dec. 27, 2019, Kirkuk airbase and December 31 embassy attack) as “self-defense.”

“Facing complex conflict dynamics also means we must be open to unexpected or countervailing developments.”

To state this point as clearly as possible: we are not on the verge of World War III with Iran, despite social media trends.

Quite the opposite, the US government has set limits—first economically, now militarily with the Soleimani strike—on Iranian regional escalation dynamics at least since 2017, which caused a bipartisan Congress to reissue sanctions. Historically and in recent years, Iranian asymmetric warfare—with Soleimani at the helm—has hurt stability in the region. It has also become increasingly brazen—targeting Saudi refineries, downing US and Israeli drones, attacking vessels in the Gulf of Oman, and going after civilians in Syria.

Reasonable people can disagree over whether the best US-Iranian foreign policy approach today is limit setting to reestablish deterrence, as per the Trump Administration, or appeasement, engagement, and integration into the geopolitical community, for the previous Obama Administration.

Every public policy—particularly in the demanding domains of international security and foreign affairs—has strengths and weaknesses. What is not fair or good faith analysis, however, is to ratchet up global public fears about impending war as a way to win support for one’s “side.” That confuses policy with politics, without doing the hard, nonpartisan analytical work of contextual analyses, producing facts and evidence, and trying to include multiple—often contradictory—perspectives.

Such an approach reveals a lack of genuine concern about the people facing conflict dynamics first-hand in the Middle East, those who already face extensive human rights violations and are currently protesting such conditions, caused most often by their own leadership and unaccountable forms of governance.

Just last month Iran faced what The New York Times called its “worst unrest in 40 Years,” with anti-government protests across 21 cities—not to mention across the region—followed by the typical “brutal crackdown,” with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps help, resulting in more than 1,500 protesters killed.

For deeper analysis of how Iran and Soleimani’s approach to covert asymmetric warfare destabilized and stalled progress in governance across the Middle East, there are plenty sources for thoughtful, contextual analysis. Hassan’s Guardian essay explains the blow in the defeat of Soleimani to Iranian regional hegemony, domination, and military imperialism. Such an ambitious project was already facing grassroots challenge in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria from cross-community protests. Moreover, Kim Ghattas notes that Soleimani was not only a problem for the US, but “haunted the Arab world,” so that his death has been greeted with often quiet “elation.”

Facing complex conflict dynamics also means we must be open to unexpected or countervailing developments.

Some analysts see the post-Soleimani moment as a win for the region, whether for a stronger Iraq, or a weakened Quds Force. Even non-Trump supporters—such as political risk analyst, Ian Bremmer—note that while there is no “end” to the US-Iran conflict, no “mission accomplished” yet, “for everyone who thought killing Soleimani was going to lead to war, no; it established red-lines and deterrence,” and, more importantly, potentially opened “ a real window” for diplomacy. Ultimately, Bremmer sees the Iran choice as a big “win” and a “big opportunity going forward.”

While it is a bit early to tell, scholars at their best have a public duty to pursue the truth wherever it leads—which may result in inconvenient facts and discoveries—but that ultimately helps to advance society in some way. As a cross-culturally focused law and security scholar, I believe that truth-seeking must include multiple and diverse perspectives, particularly needed to get a complete picture of “wicked problems” or complex social phenomenon, like conflicts.

Yet, the public should also ask hard questions about information accountability today, particularly as information technologies disrupt traditional news reporting standards and methods: why ratchet up ordinary Americans’ fears? Who is responsible and what is their motive for spreading such fear? Is it just to get “clicks” or are we purposely misunderstanding a situation that involves the most serious issues as war, peace, life, and death?

I won’t answer those questions in this analysis, but we all need to insist that public—especially expert commentary and journalism—elevates the discussion and that analysts base their claims in facts, evidence, and informed inquiry, particularly when understanding is such a priority in cases of active conflict.

 

Iran & LOAC: William C. Banks Joins ABA National Security Podcast

Iran and the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) with Bill Banks & John Bellinger

(ABA National Security Law Podcast | Jan. 6, 2019)

This episode references:

 

Newsweek Quotes Professor William C. Banks on Iran Retaliation

IRAN’S SUPREME LEADER SUGGESTS FURTHER RETALIATION AGAINST U.S., SAYING STRIKES ON IRAQ BASES ‘NOT ENOUGH’

Newsweek | Jan. 8, 2020

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested Wednesday that Iran would take further steps to escalate tensions with the U.S., saying military strikes carried out against bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq were not enough.

“They were slapped last night, but such military actions are not enough,” Khamenei wrote in a tweet.

However, the Iranian leader’s post appeared to counter previous remarks by Iran’s Foreing Minister Javad Zarif, which suggested that his nation did not plan to further retaliate against the U.S. at the present time …

… William Banks, a professor of law, public administration and international affairs at Syracuse University, cautioned against further escalation in comments emailed to Newsweek.

“This is an escalation for sure but retaliation, revenge, or reprisals are unlawful at international law, not that Iran abides by international law,” Banks said. “The risks are that the U.S. will play along and some escalatory act will be disproportionate to the circumstances, leading to something far worse,” he said …

Read the full article.

 

The Soleimani Airstrike: An End to His Signature Middle East Strategy?

By Corri Zoli

Less well-known than Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden or ISIS’s Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi, the covert Iranian commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani had widespread strategic influence throughout the Middle East. He was responsible for standing up and activating a clandestine infrastructure of organized armed groups from Hezbollah to Hamas and for ongoing instability and insurgency in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and elsewhere. It is for this reason that several terrorism scholars and expert observers—myself included—have identified the Soleimani airstrike as far more significant than that of Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

“Critics of this action will fixate once again on the Trump Administration’s strategy, positing the US as responsible for Mideast conflict and crisis. Some of these critics ignore Soleimani’s two decades of militant infrastructure-building.”

While the repercussions of his death for Mideast dynamics are still unknown, even in these polarized times, the defeat of Soleimani should warrant a clear-eyed recognition that his two decades of orchestrating a covert signature strategy for Mideast insurgency and instability has come to an end.

First, the facts as currently known. On Jan. 3, 2020, Soleimani—head of the elite, external clandestine Quds Force, a division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—was targeted and killed by a US drone airstrike, authorized by President Donald J. Trump. The strike happened as Soleimani and four Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) members—including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) Commander Jamal Jafaar Mohammed Ali Āl Ebrahim (Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis)—exited their aircraft at Baghdad International airport.

The five has just arrived from Lebanon or Syria, signaling coordination between Iran’s IRGC and the Iraqi-state supported umbrella PMF, often called the new Iraqi Republican Guard. PMF includes more than 40 largely Shia militia and terrorist groups, including Iran-supported KH, the Khazali Network, and Badr Brigades.

While some commentators have pointed to a post-US strike escalation of tensions, the drone strike that killed Soleimani and company was in fact a response to KH’s provocative 31 Dec., 2019, attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad—a breach of international law—and its 27 Dec., 2019, attack on the Iraqi K-1 Air Base in Kirkuk, which hosts US Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) personnel. During that attack, KH rockets—more than 30—killed a US civilian contractor and injured four US and two Iraqi military personnel. It is for these immediate precursor reasons that the Department of Defense has characterized the Soleimani strike as “defensive.”

Forgotten in recent news, however, were a series of highly provocative attacks since 2017 by IRGC across the region. Last year alone, these include the May 2019 Gulf of Oman oil tanker attacks damaged six commercial ships, including two Saudi Aramco oil tankers; the May 2019 Saudi pipeline attack and the Sept. 14, 2019, unprecedented drone hit on Saudi Aramco’s two major oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais; and the June 20, 2019, attack on a US RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone for which Trump intended to respond but reversed his decision, instead requesting a United Nations Security Council closed-door meeting on Iranian regional escalation. This pattern is why former US military commanders in the region, such as Gen. David Petraeus, have framed the Soleimani strike as a need to reestablish “deterrence.”

From a broader strategic perspective, for those unfamiliar with the region, the killing of Soleimani uncovers plenty of questions about the region’s politics and conflicts: Why in the world would Iran sponsor an irregular militia to attack a sovereign embassy, which Iraq as the host nation is required to protect? Why would Iran support the targeting of a neighbor’s military airbase, particularly when the world’s most powerful military force is on base? Broadening the aperture, why would Iran—with Soleimani as its operational mastermind—ally with Russia to support Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, since 2012, in the Syrian Civil War with brutal atrocities against his own people? Moreover, why would Iran seek to destabilize Yemen—supporting the Houthi insurgency—at Saudi Arabia’s doorstep, thus drawing the Gulf Arab states into the fray?

Welcome to the dynamics of proxy warfare and Soleimani’s signature strategy in the Middle East. At its core, Soleimani aimed to blend the power of the state (Iran, and its political power) with the dynamic activism of violent extremist and militant groups, much like the model of Hezbollah in Lebanon, as Middle East expert Ali Soufan observed. That strategy alone—where nonstate groups can draw on the power of a state—warrants a more disruptive response which utilizes all instruments of national power, including economics and kinetics.

Still one of the best strategic profiles of Soleimani is Dexter Filkins’s 2013 New Yorker essay, “The Shadow Commander” in which Filkins explains how Soleimani was shaped by the 1980s Iran-Iraq War (with its use of chemical weapons) and then tasked as early as 1998 to advance the 1979 Iranian Revolution and reshape the Middle East into the Shia Crescent zone of influence. As part of this vision, Soleimani went on—all at the same time—to help direct and fund Assad’s war in Syria, Hezbollah’s control of Lebanon, and the ongoing insurgencies against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq (since 2001).

Soleimani’s endgame was to reshape the Mideast into a zone of Iranian influence, thus, advancing the Iranian revolutionary flame ever forward. While this goal is by no means unique to Soleimani—Iran’s Supreme Leaders share this core aspiration—what was unique to the general was his powerful execution of this goal by building a vast covert organizational infrastructure of dozens of Iran-backed militant and terrorist organizations. These proxies and special groups have been increasing at rapid rates due to fighting against US coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Syria and against Islamic State.

In light of Soleimani’s long-term signature strategy, it is not surprising to see successive US administrations designate these proxy and covert forces as terrorist organizations. On April 8, 2019, Soleimani’s IRGC and Quds Force were both designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, augmenting earlier Obama-era Treasury designations in 2007 and 2010. Likewise, in July 2009 under executive orders 13438 and 13224—covering those who threaten stabilization efforts in Iraq—the Obama Administration designated Kata’ib Hezbollah a terrorist organization, the only Iraqi Shiite militia so designated by the US. Soleimani himself was a “specially designated national” (SDN) since 1999, again in 2010 under EO 13382, with additional sanctions after his foiled plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in the United States.

Such tactics also were used at home. In early December the world witnessed an Iran “convulsed” by what The New York Times called its “worst unrest in 40 Years,” with anti-government protests across 21 cities. These protests were followed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “brutal crackdown”—with IRGC involvement—resulting in more than 1,500 protesters killed. Iranians were protesting rising fuel prices, the result of economic mismanagement and EU and US sanctions issued in response to IRGC provocations. These included the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which passed overwhelmingly by both houses in 2017 (including sanctions against Russia and North Korea).

There’s no doubt Soleimani will be replaced, but his successor will have very large strategic shoes to fill. Reports indicate that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has regrouped and will replace the head of its agile, covert militant network with Quds Force deputy Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani.

Governments in and beyond the region are collectively holding their breath, hoping that violence will not escalate. Some—such as Russia, Iran’s ally in Syria—criticized the US action and, in turn, praised Soleimani for having “faithfully served and defended the national interests of Iran.” Any realistic account must address the conflicting, multiperspectives in the region. In addition to celebrations among communities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere, journalist Kim Ghattas notes that Soleimani was not only a problem for the US, he “haunted the Arab world,” so his death has been greeted with often-quiet “elation.” While Iraq’s parliament will ask for the removal of US forces, some see the post-Soleimani moment as a win for a stronger Iraq. No doubt, US military servicemembers, directly targeted by the IRGC especially in Iraq, offer important insights.

Critics of this action will fixate once again on the Trump Administration’s strategy, positing the US as responsible for Mideast conflict and crisis. Some of these critics ignore Soleimani’s two decades of militant infrastructure-building or the audacity of Kata’ib Hezbollah to target its neighbor’s embassy and airbase. They also forget that KH Commander Muhandis—killed along with Soleimani—was the alleged mastermind of the US and French embassy bombings in Kuwait in 1983, as well as the assassination attempt on Kuwait’s emir in 1985. Such forces have been hard at work for a long time.

While we do not know what happens next, with Soleimani’s demise, Iran and its proxies have lost their strategic architect.

Corri Zoli’s Expertise in Demand as Media Make Sense of Iran Crisis

Corri Zoli, Director of Research for the Institute for Security Policy and Law, helped local media make sense of the Jan. 3, 2019, assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the subsequent Iran Crisis, and what this US military action means for the security of an already volatile Middle East region.

SU Professor: “Something Had to be Done” to Stop Gen. Soleimani’s Influence in Middle East Conflicts

WAER | Jan. 6, 2020

“Something had to be done. Former General David Petraeus was in the news the other day saying, listen, we had to reestablish deterrence somehow because the moves were getting more and more audacious. Closer and closer to US civilian populations, closer and closer to armed forces.”

Read more

SU Counterterrorism expert: Soleimani death may be more significant than Osama bin Laden

CNYCentral | Jan. 3, 2020

… Zoli says Soleimani had even greater military reach throughout the region. He was a man, Zoli says, who helped support unrest in Yemen, Syria and was a key figure behind insurgencies against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The IEDs were as a tactical strategy in the field was pioneered by Soleimani. So many American service members think of him as responsible for these,” Zoli said.

She says Soleimani was covert but calls him an operational mastermind who built an enormous infrastructure of terrorist groups throughout the Middle East …

Read more

What Led to Airstrike That Killed Iranian Military Commander?

Spectrum News | Jan. 3 2020

“I think everyone is holding their breath in the Middle East right now, there’s significant concern that there will be increased conflict, escalation, dynamics that will involve retaliation,” said Zoli. “There’s no doubt that the US is preparing for that.”

Read more

Professor William C. Banks Comments on FISA Reform for USA Today

A report on FBI surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser shows dysfunction, not political bias. That’s still a problem.

President Donald Trump has used the words spying, political bias, even treason to describe the FBI’s controversial surveillance of a former campaign aide.

“All the politics that surrounded the headlines of this story would rear their ugly head again … It could end up with more amendments to FISA that do more harm than good.”

A massive report released this week by the Justice Department’s watchdog didn’t back up any of those claims. But it did expose errors that hint at systemic problems with how the FBI conducts surveillance on American citizens suspected of working on behalf of foreign powers.

When investigators asked judges for permission to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, they provided documents that didn’t back up their assertions. A supervisor said he didn’t necessarily review the full documents to make sure they supported what the agents claimed, according to the report.

Investigators overstated the reliability of a former British intelligence officer whose information they used to justify the warrants. They described Christopher Steele as someone whose information had previously been “corroborated and used in criminal proceedings,” the report said. That wasn’t true.

These “basic and fundamental errors,” as the report described them, were made by investigators handpicked to work on a case that was sure to be scrutinized. They raise questions about the accuracy of more than 1,000 wiretap applications processed every year under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA …

… During Horowitz’s testimony Wednesday, several Republicans expressed horror at the FISA process, with some suggesting the law needs to be changed.

William Banks, a Syracuse University law professor who studies FISA, said congressional action could further insert politics into a process that should be free of it.

“All the politics that surrounded the headlines of this story would rear their ugly head again,” he said. “It could end up with more amendments to FISA that do more harm than good.”

Aside from the inspector general, who has promised more oversight of the surveillance process, Banks said the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, another independent agency that vets policies and regulations, can review the FISA process.

Still, some say Congress should take action.

“The system requires fundamental reforms, and Congress can start by providing defendants subjected to FISA surveillance the opportunity to review the government’s secret submissions,” Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, said in a statement.

Aftergood agreed.

“This is a case where the existing procedures were not adequate,” he said. “The FBI needs to do some of that. I would say Congress needs to do a lot of it.”

Congress must renew certain provisions of FISA in March. If lawmakers want to rewrite laws in response to the inspector general’s report, that would be the time to do it, Banks said …

Read the full article.

 

Sinclair Speaks to Professor William C. Banks About Horowitz Report, FISA Reform

Amid partisan warfare over Russia probe, lawmakers agree FISA reforms needed

(Sinclair Broadcasting Group | Dec. 12, 2019) The release of Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s long-awaited report on the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and its surveillance of a former aide to President Donald Trump’s campaign has fueled a heated partisan debate over the extent to which the 480-page document refuted the president’s claims of a politically-motivated conspiracy to spy on his campaign.

“For many of us who’ve been FISA people for a long time, it came as a surprise and a disappointment.”

But the political theater on Capitol Hill this week threatened to overshadow a central point of Horowitz’s report: that safeguards put in place to protect Americans from inappropriate government surveillance appear to have utterly failed multiple times and need to be fixed …

… Investigators obtained a FISA order to wiretap Page in October 2016 and the permission for surveillance was renewed three times in the following year. Horowitz’s review provided an unusually in-depth look at the applications and the evidence within them, and the results were troubling for national security experts, civil rights advocates, and many members of Congress.

“For many of us who’ve been FISA people for a long time, it came as a surprise and a disappointment,” said William Banks, founding director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and professor emeritus at Syracuse University.

When concerns have been raised about FISA in the past, proponents have often stressed how thoroughly FISA applications are vetted before they are submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. However, Horowitz identified at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” in the four Page FISA applications …

Read the full article.

 

SPL, CSIS Host Panel on the Future of US-Iran Relations

On Nov. 19, 2019, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL) convened a panel of distinguished experts on US foreign policy to discuss the question of US-Iran relations. 

Titled, “Learning from the Past to Inform the Future of US-Iran Relations: On the 40th Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution and Hostage Crisis, What Lies Ahead?” the panelists were:

  • Thomas R. Pickering, former Under Secretary of State and US Ambassador to Jordan, Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel, the UN, India, and Russia
  • Thomas L. Ahern Jr., former intelligence officer and CIA Station Chief in Tehran
  • Osamah Khalil, Associate Professor of History, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

The conversation—moderated by the SPL Director the Hon. James E. Baker—was timed to address the latest developments in US-Iranian relations and to mark a significant anniversary.

Referring to current events, the panel addressed President Donald J. Trump’s decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the “Iran Nuclear Deal”); the attacks in May and June 2019 on international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz; the Sept. 14, 2019, attack on two Saudi oil fields (widely attributed to the Iranian government); and the continuing humanitarian crisis in the Saudi-Iranian proxy war in Yemen.

November 2019 also marked the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran (Nov. 4, 1979). The embassy seizure began a 444-day hostage crisis, which ended in 1981 with a diplomatic resolution brokered by the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, known as the Algiers Accords.

The insightful commentary from these experts, as well as a fruitful back-and-forth with the audience of foreign policy professionals and Syracuse alumni, explored the lessons that we can learn from the past in order to inform the future of this critical bilateral relationship.

William C. Banks Comments to China Daily on Impeachment, 2020 Elections

Impeachment Seen as Impacting 2020 Election

(China Daily | Dec. 11, 2019) As the US House Democrats sought on Monday to bolster the case for impeaching President Donald Trump, analysts said the move would have political repercussions on the campaign trail even if the result is “impeached but not removed”.

Trump “constitutes a continuing threat to the integrity of our elections and to our democratic system of government,” Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said after the panel heard from House Intelligence Committee staff members on their investigation of Trump on Monday.

“Such conduct is clearly impeachable. This committee will proceed accordingly,” said Nadler, a New York Democrat …

… William C. Banks, a Syracuse University College of Law professor, said the scenario that Trump is subjected to a trial and ultimately acquitted may help him politically, but “only time will tell how voters react”.

“For those who believe in the rule of law and the importance of constitutional norms, his impeachment is nonetheless important because it upholds and reinforces the importance of those norms,” Banks said.

Banks, who co-authored National Security Law and the Power of the Purse, a 1994 book about tensions between the executive and legislative branches over security and spending, said there will undoubtedly be an impact on the 2020 campaign.

“Biden is of course central to the Ukraine scandal, and his testimony will be more damning of the president than harmful to Biden,” Banks said.
Banks also said it is impossible to know the immediate repercussions of the impeachment for Democrats in next November’s election.

“Trump continues to have a constant 40 percent approval rating, but given the electoral system, he could win again with less than a majority of votes. It’s too soon to tell,” Banks said …

Read the full article.