In a media call Thursday afternoon, Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) discussed the aftermath of the impeachment trial in depth.
Included in that discussion were Rounds’ views that, contrary to many worries from Democrats — per Rounds — President Trump’s behavior has not changed since his acquittal last week in impeachment trial in the Senate.
“I don’t think the President has ever felt constrained,” Rounds stated plainly.
Rounds reported that the Senate has confirmed five judges in the past week and begun work on major legislation, including budget, military funding, and infrastructure bills. He did report that while budget is a priority in the Senate, President Trump’s budget would not get a committee hearing at all in 2020.
When asked about the news item about a potential pardon of Roger Stone and whether such a pardon was appropriate, Rounds referred back to his time as South Dakota’s Governor.
“I used a committee for pardons…I also made sure to talk with the judge in the case and any potential victim, wherever possible, before I issued a pardon,” Rounds recalled. “However, it’s up to each President to see how they use the power to pardon.”
On the appropriateness of the pardon, Rounds referred to work that Attorney General William Barr is currently doing within the Department of Justice to review previous and current cases in the department. He stated that if irregularities were found in the case, a pardon may be appropriate.
Rounds spun the discussion on the Stone trial and the President’s behavior into a discussion on the impeachment trial, which he repeatedly referred to as a mistake by the members of the United States House of Representatives.
“The House needed to do their job,” Rounds remarked. “They failed to do their job.”
A question was asked regarding potential decommissioning of planes within the budget presented by the President and the impact that could potentially have on South Dakota bases. Rounds stated that regardless of the budget, multiple B-1 bombers would likely be decommissioned as part of the budget.
“At this point, we’ve used them hard,” Rounds stated, referring to the B-1 bomber aircraft. “They were the bomber of choice in Afghanistan and Iraq, and, frankly, many of them are simply worn out. Taking those in the least repairable shape and sending them to the boneyard for use as parts would assist in recovery time in repairing remaining B-1’s and allow for focus to be put on the active fleet rather than reconditioning.”
He also mentioned that the B-21 bomber is currently “on time, on budget, and on target” in its development, and that the first two squadrons of B-21’s and their needed work crews would be scheduled for Ellsworth AFB.
To close the call, Senator Rounds took the time to mention that his wife, Jean, will be ringing the bell at Mayo Clinic tomorrow after receiving her last cancer treatment. “I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone for their prayers,” Rounds stated.