US President Donald Trump has come out with a surprising defense of his fellow impeached president, Bill Clinton, claiming he has always thought the former leader “should not have been impeached.”
In between repeatedly defending himself as “the only one who’s ever been impeached and he didn’t commit a crime,” Trump spoke up in Clinton’s defense, arguing that the former president should not have been impeached in 1998 either.
“Bill Clinton should have not been impeached.”
“With me there’s no, lying, no crime”
Donald Trump talks about his impeachment. pic.twitter.com/rePv3IDGsI
— Global Politics🌏 (@Globalpoliticss) January 22, 2020
“What he did was nothing good – there was a lot of lying going on – but with me, there’s no lying, no nothing, they don’t even have a crime,” Trump said during the World Economic Forum on Wednesday. He insisted he was merely “sticking up for Clinton” when he called independent counsel Ken Starr, who led the investigation of the former Arkansas governor, a “lunatic.”
His opinion of Starr has changed since meeting the lawyer – “a terrific man” who joined his own legal team earlier this month – but Trump insisted his thoughts on Clinton have remained the same, apparently unswayed by his bitter 2016 presidential contest with the former president’s wife. Clinton was ultimately impeached for lying under oath and obstruction of justice stemming from answers over his extramarital affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. While two other articles of impeachment were brought, including abuse of power, they did not pass the House. The Senate ultimately acquitted Clinton of both articles of impeachment in 1999, allowing him to finish his second term in office.
A handful of the starring figures in Trump’s impeachment were present during Clinton’s, often with dramatically different takes on the subject based on their party loyalties. When South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R) tried the House’s case against Clinton in 1998, he claimed a president need not even commit a crime to be impeached, a view he had completely reversed by 2020. Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee head Jerry Nadler (D-New York) went from believing in 1998 that both parties must support impeachment or it lacks legitimacy – and calling Clinton’s impeachment a partisan “lynching” – to enthusiastically supporting the partisan proceedings now unfolding against Trump.
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Trump was impeached earlier this month by the Democrat-controlled House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress relating to his allegedly withholding military aid to Ukraine to compel prosecutors to reopen an investigation into a natural gas firm linked to his chief Democratic rival Joe Biden. The Senate impeachment trial officially began Wednesday after an onerous 12-hour debate over ground rules for the proceedings.
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