Hillary Clinton cautioned House Democrats on Wednesday against immediately launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump following the release of Special Counsel Robert Muller’s report this month, urging Democrats to widen their platforms to a more “sensible agenda” for the upcoming elections.
The former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic nominee called the ultimatum presented by Democrats - “immediate impeachment or nothing” - a “false choice” in an op-ed published in The Washington Post.
“History suggests there’s a better way to think about the choices ahead.”
Clinton, whose husband, President Bill Clinton, was impeached in 1998, called the issue “personal” and said that while some might argue she was “not the right messenger,” her experience in politics has proven otherwise.
“My perspective is not just that of a former candidate and target of the Russian plot. I am also a former senator and secretary of state who served during much of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s ascent, sat across the table from him and knows firsthand that he seeks to weaken our country,” she wrote.
Clinton also looked back at her time as a “young staff attorney” in 1974 working on the House Judiciary Committee’s Watergate impeachment inquiry into President Richard Nixon.
Clinton said Congress should not be quick to vote on beginning impeachment proceedings without holding the proper public hearings to fill in the gaps of the Mueller report, something she blamed on Attorney General Bill Barr’s redactions.
Clinton slammed the 1998 impeachment of her husband as “a mistake then” and claimed that if voted on today, it “would be a mistake now,” arguing that the Republican-led House “rushed to judgment” then.
She also urged both Democrats and Republicans to put aside party affiliations to come to a fair decision. “We have to remember that this is bigger than politics.”
She continued: “Whether they like it or not, Republicans in Congress share the constitutional responsibility to protect the country ... It’s up to members of both parties to see where that road map leads — to the eventual filing of articles of impeachment, or not. Either way, the nation’s interests will be best served by putting party and political considerations aside and being deliberate, fair and fearless.”
Clinton also urged lawmakers to evaluate the national security threat facing U.S. elections and advised Democrats not to build a platform on impeachment alone but rather to focus on a “sensible agenda” ahead of the midterm elections.
“For today’s Democrats, it’s not only possible to move forward on multiple fronts at the same time, it’s essential ... It’s critical to remind the American people that Democrats are in the solutions business and can walk and chew gum at the same time.”
Clinton called the Mueller report a “warning about the future” and said that unless handled carefully and properly, the Russians would interfere again and Trump “may show even more disregard for the laws of the land and the obligations of his office.”