MINOT, N.D. — In a press release that landed in my inbox this morning, the Republican Attorneys General Association is touting a "friend of the Senate" letter opposing the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
The letter outlines what the signatories see as "the legal flaws of the perilous partisan move by the Democrats to use the impeachment of President Trump as a political weapon to destroy a cornerstone of the Constitution: the separation of powers."
That's a quote from their press release. You can read their letter, in its entirety, below.
Those signing the letter are 21 Republican attorneys general, including some North Dakota neighbors like Tim Fox of Montana and Jason Ravnsborg of South Dakota.
But North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem did not sign the letter.
It's not as though Stenehjem doesn't have close ties to the group. During the 2018 cycle, a trip Stenehjem took to a lavish conference, paid for by RAGA, became an issue in his reelection campaign.
The group also donated $10,000 to Stenehjem's campaign that election cycle.
So why didn't Stenehjem, elected in a state where Trump got 63 percent of the vote, sign the letter?
"It's purely a separation of powers issue with me," Stenehjem told me this morning. "I just didn't think it was appropriate."
Stenehjem says he has "no disagreement" with the content of the letter.
"Everything that is in that letter is legally accurate," he said. "The only concern that I had is why are state attorneys general inserting themselves into an issue that is entrusted solely to the United States Senate? We weren't asked to submit anything. All it will do is invite a response from the other side."
Stenehjem said he has spoken to North Dakota's U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer about the letter (those two are Republicans too), and told them he thinks it's "well done" and "worth considering."
"But I think the president's counsel will make all of these legal points," Stenehjem added. "As their constituent, I would send it to them, but I think they are bright and will come to the right conclusion without outside groups interfering."
Here's the full letter:
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.