Former President Bill Clinton suggested an impeachment process for President Donald Trump would have been set in motion by now if he were a Democrat.
In an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning,” Clinton discussed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as the media’s treatment of Trump.
“I think [news outlets] have tried by and large to cover this investigation based on the facts,” Clinton said. “I think if the roles were reversed ― now, this is me just talking, but it’s based on my experience ― I think if it were a Democratic president, and these facts were present, most people I know in Washington believe impeachment hearings would have begun already.”
Clinton, a Democrat, faced a GOP-controlled Congress at the time of his impeachment. Trump, in contrast, deals with a Congress in which his fellow Republicans hold the majorities in both of its chambers.
Clinton was impeached in late 1998 by simple majority votes in the House on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from his sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The Senate fell well short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict him and oust him from office in February 1999 following roughly a month-long trial.
Trump has seemingly adopted several of the techniques Clinton and his allies used to undercut the impeachment proceeding against him, as reported by The New York Times last week.
Trump has repeatedly referred to Mueller’s probe, which includes looking at the president’s potential obstruction of justice, as a partisan “witch hunt.” Clinton and his backers similarly discredited the impeachment push against him.
Several Democratic lawmakers have attempted to start the process of impeaching Trump, though the party’s leadership has pushed back against the efforts.
“Unless you have bipartisan consensus, impeachment is a divisive issue in the country,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last month. “Many people would think it’s being done for political reasons.”
Republicans are seeking to gain a political advantage from the talk of impeachment, warning that Democrats will start such proceedings against Trump if the party wins a House majority in November’s elections.