Former US President Bill Clinton has advised President Donald Trump to ignore impeachment and focus on the job he was hired for.
“My message would be, look, you got hired to do a job,” Clinton said during a phone interview with CNN on Thursday. “You don’t get the days back you blow off. Every day is an opportunity to make something good happen.”
“And I would say, ‘I’ve got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry, and they should just have at it,'” continued Clinton – a Democrat – who was impeached by the GOP-controlled House in 1998. “Meanwhile, I’m going to work for the American people. That’s what I would do.”
The US House of Representatives held its first public hearings on Wednesday in its impeachment inquiry into allegations that Trump asked a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump has admitted to actions that amount to “bribery” in the Ukraine scandal, accusing the Republican president of an impeachable offense under the Constitution.
“The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That’s bribery,” Pelosi said at a news conference on.
“What the president has admitted to and says it’s perfect, I say it’s perfectly wrong. It’s bribery,” she added.
The US Constitution states that impeachable offenses include “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors”. What exactly that means is unclear. Historically, it can encompass corruption and other abuses, including trying to obstruct judicial proceedings.
Only two American presidents have been impeached by the House, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Clinton in 1998. Neither Johnson nor Clinton was convicted by the Senate.
In 1974, then US President Richard Nixon resigned in the face of certain impeachment and removal from office over the Watergate scandal.
Democrats in the House launched an impeachment inquiry against Trump in September after a whistleblower alleged the Republican president pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had served as a director for Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
Democrats are looking into whether Trump abused his power by withholding $391 million in US security aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Kiev to conduct an investigation that would benefit him politically.
The Democratic-led impeachment inquiry shifted to a public phase on Wednesday and revealed new evidence that Trump was willing to sacrifice America’s interests for his own.
The public hearings were launched after weeks of closed-door interviews, marking a new phase of the impeachment probe that could determine the fate of Trump’s tumultuous presidency.
Republicans sought to undercut the public hearing by focusing on Hunter Biden’s role on the Burisma board, pointing out that he was paid $50,000 a month and questioning his qualifications.
‘Dems are complicit in high crimes of war’
Commenting to Press TV Trump impeachment hearings, American writer and political commentator Stephen Lendman said, “There are plenty of reasons to impeach Trump for, notably high crimes of war, against humanity, economic terrorism, and breaching the public trust throughout his tenure.
“Russiagate and Ukrainegate are scams by Democrats, wanting Trump delegitimized and weakened to give them a political advantage in November 2020 presidential and congressional elections,” he added.
“That’s what this whole ugly business is all about. What Democrats are doing has no legitimacy. Democrats initiating it should be impeached and removed from office,” he said.
“Instead of going after Trump for the right reasons, they’re using scam ones – because they’re complicit in high crimes of war, etc, along with Republicans,” he noted.