The 1999 version of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has something to say about the 2019 version of President Donald Trump, who declared Monday morning on Twitter that he cannot be impeached because “[t]here were no crimes by me.”
While Trump is currently conflating crimes (i.e. criminal offenses) with “high crimes and misdemeanors” (i.e. impeachable offenses), Lindsey Graham from two decades ago was able to make the distinction in an effort to oust Bill Clinton.
“[Y]ou don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic,” Graham said. “If this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role because […] Impeachment is not about punishment, impeachment is about cleansing the office.”
“Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office,” he added.
“Only high crimes and misdemeanors can lead to impeachment. There were no crimes by me (No Collusion, No Obstruction), so you can’t impeach. It was the Democrats that committed the crimes, not your Republican President! Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!” the president said. Trump is, of course, still riding high after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s report was released to the public.
Although Mueller did not accuse Trump of a crime, he didn’t reach a conclusion on the obstruction of justice question. Many (but not all) have interpreted the obstruction volume of Mueller’s report as an obvious impeachment referral.
“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” Mueller said in one passage. Former White House counsel Don McGahn was one of those people.
It remains to be seen if Democrats will seriously explore impeachment. The House Judiciary Committee led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) continues to digest the 448-report. Over the weekend, Nadler didn’t rule out impeachment, but didn’t exactly endorse it either.
“Some of this would be impeachable,” he said. “Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable,” adding that Democrats would have to wait and “see where the facts lead us.”
[Image via YouTube screengrab]
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