Chris White on December 8, 2019
CNN and ABC journalists grilled two House Democratic lawmakers Sunday for supporting a partisan push to oust President Donald Trump while opposing a similar partisan push during the Clinton years.
CNN’s Dana Bash questioned Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York for railing against what he called in 1998 a partisan impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. She played a clip from a December 1998 press conference in which Nadler said, “There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment.”
“Such an impeachment would lack legitimacy and would produce divisiveness in our politics for years to come,” he added in the over 20-year-old clip. Nadler was referring to what he believed at the time was a partisan pursuit to impeach Clinton, who the House impeached for perjury but lawmakers never removed him.
“What I think puts bitterness and divisiveness in our politics is our president, who calls political opponents human scum,” Nadler responded after Bash asked if his colleagues’ attempt to impeach Trump without bipartisan support could create a politically toxic atmosphere. She needled him again, asking the House Judiciary Committee chairman if such a vote was toxic.
He deflected and told Bash that Democrats would impeach the president on “adequate grounds to defend our democratic republic.” Nadler laid out Democrats’ argument for ousting Trump during a Dec. 4 impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
He said during the hearing that Trump withheld military aid and an official White House meeting to keep leverage against Ukraine until officials complied with his alleged demands to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son’s business dealings in that country.
ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos posed a similar line of questioning to Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who has participated in every modern attempt to impeach a sitting president.
“The certainty of presidential terms … will be replaced by the partisan use of impeachment,” Lofgren said in a December 1998 clip Stephanopoulos showed to the Democrat Sunday. She responded by suggesting that Clinton “lied about sex,” which Lofgren said is not an “abuse of presidential power.”
She added: “Here we have an instance — as we did with [former President Richard] Nixon — of abuse of the power that is vested in the presidency.”
House Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment before Christmas Day at the earliest.
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