News Release

Why Not Impeach Trump for War Crimes?

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law.  Boyle was legal adviser to Rep. Henry B. González and wrote the first draft of the González Impeachment Resolution in 1991. George H. W. Bush would later write in his memoirs that if the Gulf War “drags out, not only will I take the blame, but I will probably have impeachment proceedings filed against me.”

Boyle said today: “Hypocrisies and hypocrites abound. Trump should be impeached for his attacks and threats against Iran. These are far more brazen violations of the War Powers Clause of the U.S. Constitution than anything regarding Ukraine.

“Some Republicans claim that Trump did nothing wrong regarding the Ukraine. That’s clearly wrong. Some Democrats are claiming that they are standing up for the rule of law and to prevent further illegal acts by impeaching Trump for his actions there. But that doesn’t withstand a moment’s scrutiny. Trump should have been impeached for his illegal bombings in Syria. He wasn’t, so predictably, he has gone on to target Iran and is making further threats against it and Iraq.”

Boyle was on an accuracy.org news release on the War Powers Resolution, which was largely written by Rep. Paul Findley, who died last year at 98.

In 2017, Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, and foreign policy speechwriter, told Politico that President Obama feared impeachment if he targeted the Syrian government:

Rhodes: “The only country in the world that was prepared to join us [in attacking the Assad government] was France. And we had no domestic legal basis. We actually had Congress warning us against taking action without congressional authorization, which we interpreted as the president could face impeachment.”

Politico: “Really? Was the prospect of impeachment actually a factor in your conversations?”

Rhodes: “That was a factor. Go back and read the letters from Boehner, letters from the Republican members of Congress. They laid down markers that this would not be constitutional.”

House Speaker John Boehner wrote to Obama in 2013: “It is essential you address on what basis any use of force would be legally justified and how the justification comports with the exclusive authority of Congressional authorization under Article I of the Constitution.”