Congressional Republicans talk up Clinton impeachment charges

Several congressional Republicans, including committee chairmen, expressed a willingness this past week to bring impeachment charges against a President Hillary Clinton, if it is found she broke federal law in handling classified information during her tenure with the State Department.

In an interview with the Beloit Daily News on Monday, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said Clinton may have violated federal laws related to destroying and hiding national defense material she stored on a private email server as Secretary of State.

“(Clinton) purposely circumvented (the law), this was willful concealment and destruction,” Johnson said. “I’m not a lawyer, but this is clearly written. I would say yes, high crime or misdemeanor, I believe she is in violation of both laws.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Texas), was equally as harsh as Sen. Johnson in his judgement of Clinton on Thursday, when the chairman of the Constitution and Civil Justice subcommittee said, “The Clinton Foundation represents potentially one of the greatest examples of political corruption in American history. . . . I think all options are on the table.”

The inflammatory rhetoric used by Franks late last week may have been first been restarted in October by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), when he called a potential Clinton White House a “target-rich environment”, explaining that “we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up.”

A joint letter by Chaffetz and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) Thursday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch requested that the Justice Department keep all Clinton email investigation documents and related FBI-gathered evidence for future use.

Both congressmen also called for an investigation of Clinton’s 2015 testimony in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi for possible perjury infractions.

Perhaps more telling, Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) in a Tuesday interview with Fox News announced that a House investigation of Clinton’s State Department emails “will continue whether she wins or not.” Rep. McCaul went on to say that if an indictment was to eventually be handed down, “the House of Representatives would engage in an impeachment trial.”

Two days later in a separate interview, also with Fox News, McCaul accused Secretary Clinton of committing “treason”.

In order to formally impeach a would-be President Clinton, the House Judiciary Committee would likely first vote to bring articles to the floor, where a simple majority then is required to approve a Senate trial for removal from office. A supermajority of 67 senators would be required to convict Clinton.

Despite their colleagues’ threats, other top Republicans are urging caution against such extreme measures which would throw the federal government into utter dysfunction until at least the 2018 mid-term elections.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, said Tuesday that “unless there is some additional evidence that the FBI director and the Justice Department would take to a grand jury, then (Clinton) is not likely to be convicted of a crime.”

Likewise, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), former Oversight Committee chairman, said historical precedent does not favor a Clinton trial if she is elected president.

“The fact is we have impeached and removed from office nine federal judges in our history, no members of the executive branch, not a president, not a vice president, not a cabinet officer, so floating that word is usually a fairly reckless thing,” Issa noted.

 

[Washington Post] [CBS News] [Photo courtesy Politico]